The Back Nine: Much-needed Gator hoops wins

Gators avoid 0-3 start in SEC
Gators avoid 0-3 start in SEC

The Back Nine wants to hear from you. Several readers think this column should be numbered 10 through 18 since it is the “back nine.” I’ll let you vote via e-mail. Send your decisions to On to this week’s selections.

1. This was a big weekend for both the men’s and women’s hoops teams at Florida. The men had to beat LSU and the women went to Starkville to get a very large victory. Neither team is in great shape for postseason play, but both helped their causes this weekend. The RPIs for both teams are abysmal (men 79th, women 86th) but there are plenty of opportunities left to record significant wins. I think Amanda Butler has done a wonderful job with a team that was not supposed to be much because of the loss of many seniors. If only the women could have pulled out that game against Tennessee. Speaking of RPI, it is another indication of how bad a year the Pac-10 is having in men’s basketball. The league ranks eighth behind the Atlantic 10 and Mountain West and has only one team ranked in the top 50.

2. So what will Christmas be like at the Kiffin house? David Reaves, who is Lane Kiffin’s brother-in-law, found out his boss was bolting for Southern Cal when he heard it on the radio. Bro-in-law chose not to take Reaves to SoCal and he was — not surprisingly — let go by new Vols coach Derek Dooley. Ouch. Meanwhile, both incompetent athletic directors, Mike Garrett and Mike Hamilton, insist the coaches they ended up with were the only ones offered. Sure, they were. That’s because both were rejected by so many others before the actual offer could take place. Love this quote from Garrett, “I don’t look for someone who has been successful.” He’s got the right man. I do believe Dooley will have some success and it’s not just because of his brilliant last name. He’s a bright man who has learned from some of the best. But he’s been thrown into the fire wearing a kerosene suit. It’s going to take Tennessee a while to get over the Kiffin blunder.

3. I’m liking my preseason pick of the Saints in the Super Bowl (you don’t need to know who I picked from the AFC except that it rhymes with Fitans). I was especially happy to see the Saints and Colts shut up all of the geniuses who were ranting about resting their players.

Babbling Brooking
Babbling Brooking

4. But that’s better than the Keith Brooking rant about the Vikes running up the score. Boo-hoo. If the game is over, why are you playing? That’s just sour grapes, especially him following Brett Favre to the sidelines to yell at him and Brad Childress. Maybe it’s just because I spent 12 years covering Steve Spurrier at Florida, but I just don’t have issues with scoring late touchdowns. Brooking, who is a marvelous player, can stew over it with his new coach Nick Saban. Start the rumor.

5. OK, so I was slow to this Twitter thing but now I’m hooked. Almost 1,000 followers. I saw the Power of Twitter on Sunday when Donte Stallworth, the former Tennessee receiver, promised to donate a dollar to the Haiti Relief Fund for every follower he had by midnight. The final tally? $34,200. Pretty cool.

6. While surveying the Internet this weekend I saw a story about how Tiger Woods’ absence from the Tour might put his Ryder Cup hopes in jeopardy. And then I saw this quote from U.S. captain Corey Pavin: “I’m going to treat Tiger like any other player.” And then I started laughing so hard that orange juice came flying out of my nose. I don’t care how immoral Tiger has been or how long he stays away, you don’t exclude him from any team requiring the striking of a golf ball. Do I even need to point that out?

Idol sensation General Larry Platt
Idol sensation General Larry Platt

7. Did you see Favre singing “Pants on the Ground” in the Vikings locker room after the win? It’s amazing how something that silly can spread across America through cyberspace. If you don’t know, it’s a song that a 62-year-old man sang for his American Idol audition. And if you Google it and watch, you won’t be able to get it out of your head. “Pants on the ground/Pants on the ground/Looking like a fool with your pants on the ground.” See?

8. So I’m watching the Vikes-Pokes game and they are talking about Percy Harvin and how the Florida coaches told Minnesota coaches that Harvin was their best running back. And Troy Aikman says, “You wonder how good Florida would have been if they had put their best running back at running back.” Gee, Troy, I don’t know. They might of, oh, won two out of three national titles while Harvin was there. Keep up that kind of insight and you’ll be given a Harris Interactive Poll vote.

9. OK, iPodders, by now you probably have downloaded “Fireflies” by Owl City but I want to go on record that it’s an oldie to me. I also recommend, “If You Only Knew” by Shinedown and “I Should’ve Been After You” by Rooney. And for the old schoolers, try “Let It Rain” by Eric Clapton. Great for the air guitar.

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


  1. I don’t know the stats, so I probably shouldn’t even comment on the Tiger Woods thing, but doesn’t he struggle typically in Ryder Cup play? Didn’t we do better without him last time? If he hasn’t played enough to qualify being picked, then why give him special consideration? I’m not arguing he’s the best golfer, but he’s never been a great team player in those types of competitions.