The Picks: Sister Hazel’s Copeland vs. Dr. Football

Lincoln Riley, Baker Mayfield
FILE - In this Nov. 11, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, right, talks with quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) in the first quarter of a college football game against TCU, in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma will face Georgia in the Rose Bowl on January 1 in the College Football Playoff semifinals. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

Well, it’s good to be back.

I now can tell you about almost every Netflix series (try “Godless”) and what network carries Seinfeld reruns in the morning (TBS) and how annoying the PG version of “GoodFellas” is. I have a new affinity for prune juice (don’t ask) and a new respect for what physical therapists have to put up with (a lot).

And I still have a long way to go.

But there’s a new knee in town and the light at the end of the tunnel has not been this bright in a long time. I appreciate all of the people who texted, emailed or called, but mostly the people who have been taking care of me, especially those not related.

Mostly, I’m ready to get back to work. Not as much as my wife is ready to get me off the couch.

So why not start back with some bowl picks?

This has been an odd football season in that there is no bowl game for the mighty Gators, which is in itself a Christmas blessing because we don’t have to watch that offense again.

But while the Gators may not get any swag this winter, I have already collected mine. After whipping Drew Copeland of Sister Hazel last bowl season, it was one tasty lunch treat.

Here we go again with lunch and a donation to Stop Children’s Cancer on the line. He’s got no chance against Dooley 3.0, because this year I have more artificial parts.

By the way, The Picks finished with a 102-42 record for the season, which you would think would have been good enough for a bowl game or at least something special in my stocking.


Southern Miss-Florida State

While I have made it clear that people who complain about too many bowl games apparently don’t understand the concept of a remote control and need to back off, I also grasp bowl games are entities unto themselves and have nothing to do with how a team will perform going forward. That’s a long way of saying that beating Southern Miss isn’t going to mean FSU is back. FSU, 35-21.

Copeland’s pick: FSU.



It would have been sweet to see the Longhorns face Texas A&M in this game and certainly would have given more people a reason to watch. But don’t blame Texas. The SEC chose not to put the Aggies in this game because they were in it last season. Texas, 34-31.

Copeland’s pick: Missouri.


Wake Forest-Texas A&M

So instead, the Aggies get to spend a week in Charlotte. Not a bad trade-off. If you haven’t seen Wake quarterback John Wolford play, this is your last chance. A&M, 38-27.

Copeland’s pick: A&M.



No program has taken more baby steps in the last few years than Kentucky. One day, all of them may add up to a big-boy step. Northwestern, 27-21.

Copeland’s pick: Kentucky.


USC-Ohio State

Don’t you have the feeling that this might end up being this season’s version of last season’s Rose Bowl? I just wonder how invested the Buckeyes are after getting left out of the playoffs. USC, 32-28.

Copeland’s pick: Ohio State.


Louisville-Mississippi State

This is one of many examples where you can’t help but wonder how a team will play after a coaching change. Louisville, 42-34.

Copeland’s pick: Louisville.



Let me get this straight. Miami’s reward for a breakthrough season under Mark Richt is a home game? Nice bowl trip. Miami, 27-21.

Copeland’s pick: Wisconsin.


Michigan-South Carolina

This game brings back the memory of Jadeveon Clowney decapitating Michigan running back Vincent Smith in what might have been the play of the decade five seasons ago. It feels like there have been about 67 Power Five coaching changes since then. Michigan, 24-21.

Copeland’s pick: South Carolina.



So UCF poked Auburn a little with the comments about the Tigers not being as fast as the Golden Knights. I’m not sure that was an inaccurate statement. UCF can scoot. But Auburn’s defense is legit. Auburn, 23-20.

Copeland’s pick: Auburn.


Notre Dame-LSU

Catholics vs. Cajuns. I’ve had a hard time getting a grip on the Irish all year. So bet the opposite of this pick. LSU has too much talent and should be able to overcome coaching issues. Read into that whatever you want. LSU, 30-23.

Copeland’s pick: LSU.



There is a part of me that thinks Georgia is a team of destiny. But there is also a part of me that thinks Baker Mayfield will light up any defense. Call it a hunch. Oklahoma, 42-34.

Copeland’s pick: Georgia.



I just think Clemson has the better team. I’m just hoping for a couple of good playoff games. The average margin of victory in the six games so far is 25.3 points. When Kirk Herbstreit says on the commercial it’s going to “be epic” I think he must be talking about the build-up rather than the actual games. Clemson, 28-13.

Copeland’s pick: Alabama.


With no SEC team in the finals, it should still be a classic. Or perhaps Drew is right and it’s an All-SEC final and Greg Sankey rents the Presidential Suite at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta for a big party. Either way, there’s no question that the South has owned this football season. Oklahoma, 34-31.

Copeland’s pick: Alabama.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at


      • You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, Albert, however negative it customarily is. Not sure what your background is, or even how old you are–much less where you’re from. But I’ll tell you this much, and that’s if you go back into the storied history of Florida sports writers–read them–you’ll see a lot of similarities between Pat Dooley and them. Some of the best always come to mind when I read Pat’s work….the late, great Tom McEwen of the Tampa Tribune, for instance. I can certainly appreciate a critical eye, just as much as I can appreciate critical thinking, but “critical” isn’t just one sided all the time.

  1. Welcome back from IR. Sure miss listening to you on the radio and your podcasts. You bring a certain gravitas to gator sports talk that was lost when Larry left. Actually I think a radio show hosted by you and Robbie would be a big hit. Consider it please. Have a very Merry Christmas.

  2. Welcome Back from the repair shop. Cold fronts will take on a whole new meaning now. Not to be confused the Gator Offense this year. Always root for the SEC teams in bowls. Will again this year as well. Will still be a Oklahoma run on the table for National Championship.

  3. Pat, if UGa scores 34, they will not lose. These points will come at the end of long, clock chewing drives by running the ball and play action. In this scenario, OK will not have enough touches to secure 42 points.

  4. Welcome back Pat we missed you. If you did not get your fill of reading
    during your time off, may I suggest to you, or other lovers of sports and sports history, the late great Sports Illustrated writer Frank DeFord’s autobiography, “Over Time, My Life as a Sportswriter”.
    Born in 1939 and having died earlier this year, Princeton educated DeFord was amongst the first of a new breed of writers focusing on sports instead of other more serious literary pursuits. He was a joy to read in Sports Illustrated the over last 30 years, and was a role model for many current day sports writers. I look forward to Pat’s stories, and feel he shares the engaging style as DeFord. did. Keep up the good writing!

  5. Welcome back Pat. I am very happy with the hire of Mullen, early signing roster and the daily updates. Please try to help out with Gator football updates. I search the Internet for new Gator news daily. What a difference two months make in Gator football. Went from dreadful to hopeful in the biggest way. I can’t wait to watch the Gators play next August and see someone other than our defense and our kicker scoring all of our points. Go Gators!

  6. all SEC final is my hope – that will lead to an expanded playoff – work it anyway you want but this 4 team system is still a BCS lite mess. How much would a CFB fans and lower tier early bowl love a play in game?

    • I’ll say it again, Marshall….to be completely authentic, right, and fair, the CFB playoffs need to be conference champions only. The 5 conference champions from the Power-5, and the highest ranked conference champion from the group of 5 or wildcard highest ranked independent.

  7. SEC! SEC! I say Dawg Shite! Gator fans don’t root for a team whose redneck rabble think it’s clever to use a Roll of toilet paper and a box of Tide on a stick to represent them? Not a one of those toothless idiots can even tell you what the hell a crimson tide is. Or mangy Dawgs? Two “schools” whose diplomas don’t mean squat. What was it the HBC said about comic books in the library? All they’ve got is football. They don’t care about academics. Most of ’em can’t spell professor! And, my god, Georgia? Can any self respecting Gator fan root for Georgia to win anything? You think Auburn fans’ll root for a team whose name they won’t even utter just because their hated foe is in the SEC? No way. They don’t give a damn what conference Alabama is in and I don’t either.
    The SEC doesn’t need to have the two finalists in the NC game to prove it’s the best football conference. Hell, Auburn is the best team in the SEC and they don’t even get to play! Two out of four finalists is enough anyway. What conference has a Mississippi State? A program with no resources which shows up to make teams they beat wish they hadn’t, and makes teams who show up and beat them wish they hadn’t. They’ve always been like that. When the Gators played them every year they usually won. But they came home from Starkville all black and maroon every time. I’d gladly root for those hard-hitting farm boys and their loyal hell-or-high-water fans. What conference has a Vandy? Oh, poor Vandy, you say. No other conference has second division teams who play as tough as ‘Dores. The whole conference is like that, and everybody knows it. Let those nancies at ESPN rank conferences all they want. I live in a Big Ten town with a proud winning tradition and the people here are great knowledgeable fans, but the ones who really follow CFB, after a few beers, will admit grudgingly that the SEC is the best. And they won’t change their minds if Oklahoma plays Clemson!
    Take a look over the Georgia line, folks. Mark Richt is gone. The easy-pickin’s days of fun in the sun cocktail parties are over. Read the list of 5* kids they’re getting this year. Michel and Chubb are gone and they may have been replaced with even better backs. Now they might have three great QBs to chose from. For heaven’s sake, those people don’t need any Gator help. SEC! SEC! Please!
    You want $aban Inc. to get another trophy? You want to see that midget’s reflection in all that silver as he hoists another one? You want to root for Ugh-A to get a second one? Do you want to endure all the bragging you’ll hear from those Dawgs? Not me. I still have nightmares about the Gators letting Lindsay get loose and handing Dooley and them their only championship. A Gator missed an assignment and it gave Georgia their only NC! My god, get a grip! Siding with those teams could never be worth some pitiful, imagined bragging rights. I swear on the soul of the great Ray .Graves, that nobody who can call himself a Gator will put an ounce of root on them curs. I guaran-damn-tee all y’all, SOS won’t be pulling for Georgia no matter what. He’d stare down a gun barrel and say “Go ahead” first.
    For all you sad-sack-hungry-for-something-to-identify-with needy “fans,” I quote William Shatner who told a fawning nerdy Star Trek fan to–“Get a life!”
    Hell, why not root for the knuckle dragging ‘Noles because they’re from the same state? Yeah, that’s the ticket. Florida! Florida! Florida! Puke me.