The Back Nine returns with a look at the sorry states of Southern Cal football and SEC basketball as well as your weekly music advice. Oh yeah, there’s also some Gator stuff in here.
1. We start out with the nugget that Urban Meyer is now the winningest coach in SEC history (by percentage, minimum of five years, shipping and handling extra). Put that in your pipe, Lane Kiffin. His winning percentage in SEC games is an even .800 (32-8) and on Saturday night he revealed the secret to this season. “After the Tennessee game, I quit going on the Internet,” he said. “I haven’t pushed the ‘on’ button on my computer.” Which is why we brought the Back Nine back to print this week. Just kidding. In case you were wondering, Nick Saban is at .746. Neither of those percentages include the SEC Championship Games. Add those in and Meyer is 34-8 against SEC teams. And there are only four active SEC coaches who can claim wins over Meyer — Houston Nutt, Les Miles, Steve Spurrier and Mark Richt.
2. Which is why Florida fans should be reveling in their glory instead of grousing about the offense. Think about it, peeps. You are witnessing the last games of some of the greatest Gators ever. You have won 20 straight games. Your four rivals (Georgia, FSU, Tennessee and Miami) have 16 losses this season. Does it get any better? Take a breath and relax this week.
3. I mean, you could be a Southern Cal fan. What the heck is going on there? Two straight losses and the Pete Carroll defense has allowed 102 points in those two games. To make matters worse, Jim Harbaugh went for two up 48-21. Carroll went after Harbaugh after the game. “What’s your deal? What’s your deal?” Carroll said as they met at midfield. To which Harbaugh responded, “What’s your deal?” Wow, Jimmy, did you go to Retort School to come up with that one?
4. And the Stanford band has returned to form. The halftime performance was a tribute to USC alum Joe Francis, creator of “Girls Gone Wild” and alleged tax evader. Beautiful. Sometimes we forget college football is supposed to be about making fun of other people. It isn’t? Nevermind.
5. So how’s your Heisman Trophy ballot? Me, too. Looks like my NCAA hoops bracket with all those names crossed out. The Case Keenum bandwagon came to a screeching halt. Heisman by-law 10.4(a) states that a “player cannot be considered a legitimate candidate for the Heisman Trophy if his team loses to Texas El-Paso and Central Florida in the same season no matter how he plays in said games.” It’s a rule. Well, more of a guideline. Amazingly, the guy from our area with the best shot at making the trip to New York in December isn’t Tim Tebow but C.J. Spiller. And Tebow’s best chance of winning the award may rest in the hands of Charlie Strong. If his defense stuffs Mark Ingram in the title game and Florida wins to go to 13-0, Tebow still has a chance. The Season of the Weird wouldn’t have it any other way than to be sitting here in the middle of November with no clue as to who will win the Heisman.
6. Now Toby Gerhart has found his way to the Heisman conversation. He’d have a better chance if I had any faith in the voters. Too many people have votes, some who don’t even cover college football. Gerhart has rushed for 401 yards in his last two games, Stanford upsets of top 10 teams. But I’ll bet there are plenty of voters who wouldn’t know him if he walked into their newsrooms. Or they would think he was there to fix the Xerox machine.
7. This is going to sound crazy, but as long as we’re talking about awards, how about Meyer for coach of the year? I know the award tends to go to a coach who brings his team from nowhere to great heights, and Harbaugh would be a strong candidate. I’d bet on Nick Saban getting the award in the SEC because of all the talent he lost. But when you think of everything Meyer has had to deal with this season and how he has kept his team focused on the prize, he certainly deserves some consideration. Just a thought.
8. Bonehead move by Bill Belichick on Sunday night going for it on fourth down on his own 28 because he was afraid to give the ball to Peyton Manning. It backfired, of course, but if the Patriots converted he’d be a genius. Fine line, eh? I wonder if anyone used the headline “Fourth and Dumb.” Probably not. Jack Del Rio has Maurice Jones-Drew fall down on the 1-yard line to run time off the clock before kicking the winning field goal and he’s the smart guy. If the field goal had been blocked, not so smart. See, it comes down to whether you win or not. How you get there is irrelevant. Except for Florida.
9. So the SEC is supposed to be better in hoops this year, huh? Nice start. Mississippi State loses to Rider and Alabama loses to Cornell. Uh, that’s the wrong way to boost your conference RPI. Face it, teams are not going to be able to rely on strength of schedule again this year because it’s what you do in the pre-conference schedule that matters. Once you get into conference play, it’s not going to change.
P.S. Oops, almost forgot to give you the weekly music tip. The Back Nine highly recommends “The List” by Roseanne Cash (a great CD, and I usually don’t listen to country), “Love Me Dead” by Ludo (very witty) and go download some old school Monkees. Just don’t play it too loud with the car windows down. Not good for your image.