The Picks: Open debate on two open dates

Football fans watch the action on wall-mounted video screens in the sports betting lounge at the Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., where an hour-long line of gamblers waiting to place bets stretched onto the casino floor as kickoff approached last Monday. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

If you ever needed perspective as a college football fan, another dangerous and powerful hurricane making landfall on a football weekend definitely makes most people realize that it’s just a game.

We pray for the first responders and the people who are going to lose everything and maybe even a little for the clods who can’t understand that you can’t wait until the hurricane hits before deciding whether it’s blowing hard enough to postpone football games (I’m talking to you Danny Kanell).

It brings up a point that doesn’t seem relevant considering the devastation that comes with a hurricane, but this is a football column so I’m going to bring it up anyway.

Why can’t there be two open dates during a football season?

Football already has the shortest season of the major college sports. But every time it comes up for discussion to make every season 14 weeks, it gets tabled because of resistance concerning it overlapping with summer school sessions.

Forget that basketball is played over two semesters. Personally, I think too many administrators don’t want the headache of figuring it out.

When it has come up, it has always been about player safety, giving the players an extra week to rest their bodies and recover from injuries, which you would think would be a no-brainer.

The by-product is that games that have to be postponed or canceled by what is becoming an annual occurrence could be more easily rescheduled.

We will see a 14-week season next year because the season starts Aug. 31. Any time Aug. 30 or 31 is a Saturday, we get 14 weeks. So Florida, like everybody else, will have two bye weeks in 2019.

And you know how I feel about bye weeks. Yay.

Anyway, I hope this distracted you from another mediocre week of The Picks. Dr. Football went 7-3 and is 13-7 for the season. That’s not good.

COLORADO STATE AT FLORIDA: Well, let’s see if Dan Mullen was able to get through to his players this week. Colorado State has been a second-half team all year, scoring 27 against Hawaii and 25 straight in a win over Arkansas. I hate to say this is a must-win game, but, well, it is. Florida, 38-23.

LSU AT AUBURN: Crazy things tend to happen in this game. This early in the season, this one will be more about the team that loses than the one who wins. Auburn, 14-13.

ALABAMA AT OLE MISS: We’re about to find out how good Alabama’s defense is, because Ole Miss can score some points. On the other hand, Alabama’s offense will be wondering where the Rebels’ defense went. Alabama, 45-28.

VANDERBILT AT NOTRE DAME: I’ve heard this several times, “Does Vandy have a realistic chance in South Bend?” Most people think the Irish were caught in a trap game against Ball State last week and that’s why they were unimpressive. Someone looking ahead to Vandy? Inconceivable. Notre Dame, 24-19.

FSU AT SYRACUSE: Tempting. So tempting. The Seminoles have looked awful in the first two weeks. Syracuse has scored 117 points in two wins. I can’t, I just can’t. FSU, 34-21.

BOISE STATE AT OKLAHOMA STATE: This one almost snuck by me (sorry, Missouri-Purdue, you’ve been kicked to the curb). If you go by the SIds poll (also known as the coaches’ poll) these are two top-20 teams. Unfortunately, it’s opposite LSU-Auburn so I’m not sure how many people will see it. Boise State, 34-32.

OHIO STATE AT TCU: There are a lot of TCU fans around the country this week. It’s not going to matter. Ohio State, 37-21.

OKLAHOMA AT IOWA STATE: The Cyclones have Oklahoma’s full attention this year after last year’s 38-31 stunner. That’s not good for Iowa State. Oklahoma, 38-28.

USC AT TEXAS: We thought this might be a big game at the start of the season. It’s still two of the college blue bloods. Other than that, meh.Texas, 24-21.

WASHINGTON AT UTAH: Gotta have a late Pac-12 game (10 p.m., ESPN) to keep Dr. Football awake after the Florida game. Washington, 28-20.

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


  1. I have watched Colorado State play twice. Their offense is dynamic, and their QB is much better than the Kentucky QB and can both run and pass well. And the Rams have highly-skilled receivers and, unlike Florida, their OL blocks well for both the run and pass. Fortunately for Florida, the Rams’ defense is polar opposite from their offense. It is really bad. Yes, slightly worse than the Florida defense. I hate to say this, but Colorado State 48, Florida 35. That score likely holds unless the Florida players have learned how to do a few things in one week that they could not learn how to do all summer; and that is how to tackle, cover deep wide receivers, stay in proper gaps, think assignment priority first, be disciplined on the field, go get passes in clutch situation, and block well and through the whistle for run and pass plays. Sorry, I do not see that happening despite the coach and player talk. I will believe it and shout glory, glory when it does happen. But, my fingers are always crossed. But the years of disappointment unfortunately have my fingers permanently tied in the crossed position (pass me a chisel). At least Plant High can’t lose this weekend, as they have a off date after losing a tough one to Armwood (ugh) last week. Go Gators.

  2. LOVE IT!! On SiriusXM, Spurrier says “Gators need to play better instead of saying it’s going to take time. No, no we got players that didn’t play well and the coaches need to get on to them. The guys need to play better. That’s the answer.” That, my friends, is a Head Football Coach. Not this, “we’ll continue to improve” nonsense we keep hearing. You’re good enough now. Go play like it. Go coach like it, if you can, gentlemen.

    • Grumpy. I can assure you that what you have been hearing from the Florida coaches at pressers is NOT the same language the players have been hearing at practice this week. And Spurrier should not be undermining the coaches in the media if he is associated at all with the program. And he is. I was very disappointed with his comments. But that is Spurrier, I guess. And these ARE NOT the same players Spurrier has on his rosters, no his culture. Mullen needs time to build that kind of roster, as well as to build the culture and mental approach he wants from his players. It is very clear now that some of these players still have the “McElwain mentality” that Adarius Lemons stupidly let loose in the locker room after the Kentucky game. Well, we can be thankful that at least one of those mentalities is now off the Florida roster. Thank goodness for that. Go Gators.

      • I LOVED Spurrier’s comments. He’s a Head Ball Coach and doesn’t pull punches. Tampa – you were also the one defending Gator players talking smack before the game against KY, just before they whipped our butts in our own house. Stop talking about 3-5 years down the road and PLAY FOOTBALL NOW.

  3. P.S. I have a suggestion for Mullen and the Florida OL, LBs, and DL. Tell Mullen to have them visualize Jesse James Decker in a bikini coming at them when they see a QB, a RB, and opposing DL and LBs. That would likely get their hearts pumping and their legs moving and a much higher rate.

  4. FSU loses to the Orange, and well, CSU vs UF is a toss-up…hope Vandy does beat ND (who is ALWAYS over hyped by the Fake factions of Sports Media)…OHBC is right on the mark…our current guys are big enough and fast enough to play, BUT are they MAN enough? We’re about to find out. The heat will be a factor! Grump, thanks for posting the XM Radio OHBC remarks.

  5. Every year, Dooley finds an occasion for ostentatious handwringing and scolds us that “it’s only a game” (his pal Bianchi has also spent years wagging his finger to show how more mature and compassionate he is compared to the rest of us. I guess it’s taught early in sports opinionating school).

    The panic over the weather in 2016 was the same stuff, cancelling games too quickly, rather than waiting till the last reasonable moment. Anyone disagreeing with the knee-jerk hyper-driven safety is shouted down as stupid and uncaring, and showered with all the you-don’t-know-but-I-survived anecdotes that prove nothing except (again) the extended goodness of the “survivor.”

    Calling those with a skeptical view of premature closers “clods” is the same level of contempt Dooley showed for readers blasting McElwain last September- until the author decided that it was indeed time to blast him.
    Better for football columns to be about the sport, rather than a platform from which the author to castigate readers whose views are no less informed than his own.

  6. Idaho. Chas Southern is in the books and I’m not sure I trust us against Idaho at this point!

    I think the idea was adding another bye week, not taking away a game to create a bye.

    Maybe everyone could play an FSC team in October one week… could cancel it if a “better” game got canceled for a hurricane earlier in the year. Could rest most starters if they had to play it. This assumes a 14-game season, and all other games had to be against FBS teams

  7. Man…the Kentucky game was like a punch in the stomach and getting the breath knocked out of you…never saw that coming and to lose at home to Kentucky… should never have happened…the defense reminded me of last year…it never looked like it was set up to stop the run…the entire game, it looked more like a pass defense and not a very good one at that…I still say they have a lot of talent and depth on this team. The defense was responsible for losing this game…they were simply not prepared!!

    This is going to be one of those teams like we had in the 60’s & 70’s where we would lose games we were favored and win games where we were underdogs…We have a QB who looks the part but a this point is not far enough developed…The first half er looked ok …and had a great drive in the 2nd half … but in the 2nd half he looked just like last year with the exception of one good drive…The OL looked good on pass blocking for the most part…but once Franks started to leave the pocket and tried to sprint to either the right or left he didn’t complete a pass…he never stepped up in the pocket and ran the ball … his throwing motion is back to where it was last year…he has a wind up and throws from the waist rather from the ear…when a QB winds up to throw the ball from below the waist he is very likely to get the ball knocked out of his.. hand….like the UK game… although, he has talent but he is the type of QB that will get you beat…he just not consistent at this point in his game… he still lacks consistency finding open receivers and needs to improve on his accuracy and staying in the pocket without back peddling or sprinting out…if the RW’s are covered…tuck it in an run up field and not to side line to side line. I’m hoping Trask will get a chance to play in this game with the first team unit, at some point.

    I’m still not convinced the OL is that bad running the ball… I’m putting the blame on Scarlett and the way he’s running with the ball…The best RB we have is M. Davis … he has a chance to break a long run every time he touches the ball…I don’t think Scarlett has that same capability…Pierce is certainly another option.

    With all that said… I believe in Mullen and his approach, so, I’m sticking with the gators this week and after practice this week, look for the gators to bounce bad in a big way… make no mistake UF has more talent, they are bigger, faster and have more depth and will be ready to play, Prediction : 48 CSU 14

    • Thanks Cody — I was beginning to worry about you. I’m most interested in your observations of Franks…..kind of in that stage of development where he can get it, can apply it, but at the first hint of trouble he reverts to his default setting. And, the default setting wasn’t that hot to begin with. Seen it over and over with young troopers in training — I’m sure some others on here have too — but we had nothing but time to train and usually they’d snap out of it and do pretty well. Franks has other demands on his time of course, so what do you think the odds are that he’ll master the skills required and not default under pressure at some point? Also, what do you think the odds are that Trask and Jones may see (more) significant playing time? What would the trigger really need to be? Thanks. bud…..

      • Gator-6…without a doubt, the coaches want Franks to be their guy…I personally don’t think he can develop into the QB they want this year…maybe the middle or end of the season, next year… I thought he played fairly well in the first half…but had accuracy problems and began throwing with a windup from the hips and got worse as the game progressed…when he does that …it just takes to long to get rid of the ball… for some reason he started running to the side lines and not staying in the pocket…it just seems the more pressure on him to perform well, the more he reverts back to last years antics…holding on to the ball too long and not seeing wide open receivers…I do think the coaches will go with Franks this game as long as possible…if he continues to play like he did in the 2nd half of the Kentucky game…I think Trask may get his chance with the 1st teamers …I don’t think Jones will get that chance right away…especially if Trask does well, since he is by far the most accurate of the three…I had to watch the game on TV this past weekend, because I just got out of the hospital last week, as I had a stent put in…I had to check my blood pressure in the 2nd half and it was 198 over 98…like the gators…not so good…so, I hope this is not a long season for the gators…not sure my heart will take it.

        • Thanks… more question if you’ve got the time. If Franks cannot overcome his “default” problems as we head into the tougher part of the schedule where there is certain to be even more pressure on the QB, has Trask shown you anything in practice to indicate that, aside from his natural skills, he has “gone to school” on Frank’s problems so far? Know you’re recovering and maybe not there as much — just on the chance however.

          Know what you mean on the blood pressure….things like that can over-ride all the Lisinopril in the world, even calcium channel blockers and HCTZ. Little chance you blow out a stent tho…..just get it back to normal as soon as possible. Whatever that is — I swear, you pretty much have to be a cadaver anymore to be in the new “normal” range. You should have seen mine go up in the 4th Quarter!

          • NO, I haven’t been to a practice lately…But, I can tell you they are trying to get Franks ready for the tougher part of the schedule, he does have talent… but, he has so many problems with his throwing technique…which, he has been struggling to correct…the coaches are constantly trying to correct him…if you notice in several of his photographs of him throwing the ball …you’ll notice his hand is on top of the ball and the ball is parallel to the ground or the ball is below his hip…these are all no, no’s… and adds time to his release and his accuracy…These are bad traits that Trask doesn’t have…They are continuing to work Trask with the first team but Franks is still getting the majority of the snaps in practice…I’ve been told that if he continues making these same mistakes… there will be a change when the schedule gets harder…for now, it’s going to be Franks.