The Back Nine likes the cool weather even though Gator fans found a way to sweat on Saturday at The Swamp.
1. Florida fans are concerned about their offense, but what about a defense that gave up 188 yards on three Arkansas drives after Florida took a 13-10 lead? Don’t look now but the Gators just missed another tackle. The Back Nine talked to Charlie Strong on Sunday, and he said it was simply a “lack of focus” by his defenders. It also may be time to shelve the Joker package because teams have figured out just to run the ball against it. And give Bobby Petrino some credit. He knows what he’s doing on offense and had so many of the right calls on when Florida blitzed. To be honest, Florida was lucky to win the game, and Arkansas fans are still complaining about that phantom personal foul penalty that was called on Malcolm Sheppard on Florida’s game-tying touchdown drive. It was bogus.
2. Still, the mighty Gators are No. 1 in the first BCS standings, something that has never happened before. So they have that going for them. Which is good. The only team that is in the top 15 and has no chance of playing for the national title has to be Virginia Tech. Two losses aren’t going to cut it this year, even though the Hokies could still play in the ACC title game. Can you imagine if the right (or wrong) things happened and we got a Boise State-Oregon rematch in the national title game? It could happen, but a lot of teams would have to lose games because Boise’s computer ranking is only going to go down.
3. Even Georgia Tech is in the mix after beating VaTech on Saturday. The fans tore down the goal posts afterward. Really.
4. Uh, didn’t you use to be Colt McCoy? What has happened to the Texas quarterback who I picked to win the Heisman this year? Maybe it’s the supporting cast, but he has thrown 11 touchdowns and seven picks. That’s hardly Heisman stuff. The Back Nine thinks Okie wins that game if Sam Bradford doesn’t go down again. McCoy seems to have regressed. It’s another reason we all are stating the obvious — there is no great team this year. But there will be a champion.
5. And there will be a Heisman winner. They don’t void the stiff-armed one just because the favorites are struggling. Suddenly, Alabama running back Mark Ingram is getting a lot of love after his 248-yard performance against South Carolina. It will be interesting to see how he does this week, but if he shreds Monte Kiffin’s defense he’ll be in the mix.
6. You can’t help but feel for Bradford. And you can’t help but wonder how many juniors are going to look at his situation and bolt for the NFL.
7. Can you imagine how depressed Randy Edsall is? The UConn coach had to identify the body of slain defensive back Jasper Howard at 4 a.m. Sunday. Howard was stabbed outside a school-sponsored dance after helping his team beat Louisville with 11 tackles and a forced fumble. “One of my sons has been taken away,” Edsall said. “There’s nothing in my job description that says you have to identify bodies.” Just heart-breaking. Howard was from Miami and hoped to make it to the NFL to help his mom, who worked three jobs to support him and his two sisters.
8. More proof that one of the Back Nine Commandments is legit — Kansas State gave up 66 points in an embarrassing loss to Texas Tech last week and then turned around and scored 62 against Texas A&M the next week. Repeat after me, “Every game is its own game.” And how’s that whole Mike Sherman thing working out for ya, Aggies? Probably about as well as the whole Ron Zook thing is working out for Illinois. I’ve been telling people that Zook is Charley Pell, great recruiter and motivator who rallies boosters and gets things done but coaches tight in games. I want to publicly apologize to the Pell family. Charley must be rolling over in his grave like a rotisserie chicken. And growling at me, “When did I ever have a 19-35 record at anything?” Point taken.
9. With every NFL week that goes by, I’m liking my Super Bowl pick of New Orleans more and more. The Saints are fun to watch. You don’t need to go back and look at my other pick. Really, it’s not important. Just enjoy the way the Saints are playing. Seriously, turn off your computer. OK, OK, it was Tennessee. If you had the Titans and 58 points Sunday, you lost.