The Back Nine comes at you after a week’s vacation that included some recuperation, a lot of baseball and, unfortunately, the postponement of the Bob Dooley Invitational until late July. I promise the wait will be worth it.
10. No matter what happens the rest of the way, Florida has joined UCLA as being the only two programs to pull off the double-double. The Bruins in 2010 reached the finals of both the College World Series and the Women’s College World Series in the same season. Florida duplicated that feat this year. UCLA won in softball and lost to South Carolina in baseball that year. I think it’s important to understand how difficult it is to make the finals of either NCAA Championship even if you have a really good team. Sometimes, you need a break or a hot pitcher (nobody hotter than Alex Faedo in this postseason) or an umpire that doesn’t understand the physics of a strike zone (don’t get me started) just to get to the regionals, then through the regionals, then through the super regionals, then through the early games at the Series. To have both make it is amazing. We tend to expect nothing but the best at UF, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t recognize what a special spring/summer this has been.
11. So Tim Tebow and his .222 average got a promotion to high A ball from low A ball and there is an outcry from some who feel like he doesn’t deserve it and the Mets are only making the move because they own the Port St. Lucie team and can sell tickets and make money. Well, duh. Look, there aren’t many people who believe Tebow at his age has any chance to be in the majors, but what’s wrong with him trying and giving himself a platform to do good? And if the Mets make a couple of bucks, who is it hurting? Nobody is twisting anybody’s arm to watch him play. Why else would you go watch Port St. Lucie’s baseball team?
12. Now that Will Grier has been granted a waiver of his one-year suspension, there is some angst among Gator fans that he didn’t have to serve a full year, even though he has been out of college football for a year and a half. Calm down. The guy made a mistake — a somewhat harmless one that didn’t hurt anyone else — and he’s supposed to miss two seasons? At some point, the NCAA has to act in a way that will help a student-athlete get on with his or her life. Here’s a question for you — which would make you more frustrated, Gators fans, Grier winning the Heisman Trophy or Will Muschamp winning the SEC East? Discuss.
13. So this happens every year where I get bullish on a team in April or May and then other people jump on the bandwagon and it makes me think I must be wrong so I jump back off and sprain an ankle. This year, it’s Kentucky. I thought I was onto something, but it seems that a lot of people think Kentucky is going to be good. The truth is that nobody knows anything about any team and we will spend the next two months confusing each other until our brains turn to tapioca pudding and then we’ll finally say, “Let’s just let the season play out.” The silly season is in full throttle and it’s only going to get worse.
14. The good news is we are inside two weeks until SEC Media Days, but please, I beg of you, do not refer to our annual trip to Hoover, Ala., as the beginning of college football season. It’s not. It’s the beginning of the dog days of summer. From the time we wrap it up at SEC Media Days, it is 51 days until the first football Saturday of the season. It would be like saying that the first day of November is the start of Christmas season. In fact, college football never feels further away than it does the day after SEC Media Days. I know, that makes no sense, but it’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
15. It will be interesting to see who Florida takes to Hoover. This much we’re pretty sure of — one of the three players will not be a quarterback. My first three guesses — CeCe Jefferson, Duke Dawson and Martez Ivey. The league will announce July 5 who everybody will bring and I’m putting the over/under on quarterbacks who will be in the big ballroom at nine, which may seem high but the only schools I can’t see it being an option for are Tennessee, Texas A&M and Florida. That may be a sign that the league is going to be much improved at a position that was seen as a weak link a year ago or it could just be that most schools know who their starter is.
16. The celebration of Jordan Spieth after he won the Travelers on Sunday was an example of why he is my favorite golfer. That’s what the Tour needs more of instead of the Xanax-induced touching of the visors after spectacular shots. By the way, it isn’t a walk-off, ESPN, if the other guy has a putt from the fringe to tie it up. Geez. And while we are talking golf, congrats go out to Christian DiMarco, the son of former Gator great Chris DiMarco, who won the 100th Florida Amateur on Sunday. Christian is a lefty who putts right handed. I wonder if son needs to give father shots now?
17. The Tweet of the Week comes from ESPN’s NFL expert and former GM Louis Riddick — “The Kansas City Chiefs have not contacted me and there is no interview set up for this week. Source? Me.” I guess sometimes Twitter isn’t evil.
18. Monday was my 18th wedding anniversary and you have to ask yourself which is the bigger upset — that Karen would have married me in the first place or that she’d stick with me this long? I don’t know that I’d be here if not for her. I know I wouldn’t be as polished (quit laughing) and certainly would not be as happy. This playlist is for you, beautiful:
• “Your Song” by Elton John.
• “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green.
• “All I Know” by Art Garfunkel.
• “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack.
• “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys … what I’d be without you.
— Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.