The Back Nine: Gators’ 2020 schedule will look different than when first released

Florida coach Dan Mullen does the Gator Chomp while standing with the trophy after the Orange Bowl win over Virginia on Monday in Miami Gardens. Florida won 36-28. Perine was named the MVP. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI GARDENS — The Back Nine comes at you after a busy week and we hope you enjoyed the coverage from the Orange Bowl. Make sure you check out for my column on the game. It could win a Pulitzer (not really). 

  1. You never want to get too far ahead of yourself and there is still football to be played this season. But you can’t help but wonder what Florida’s schedule is going to look like next year. I mean, we already know the teams the Gators will play, but 2020 looks a little different than it did when the schedule first dropped. That schedule looked way more manageable than the 2019 schedule, which actually ended up being easier than we thought going in because of the mediocrity of Miami, Missouri and FSU. Confused yet? The reason the 2020 schedule looks different is that Lane Kiffin is at Ole Miss (you can ridicule him as being an immature baby but that will be a difficult game in Oxford because he is a brilliant play caller) and because FSU’s Mike Norvell already won two recruiting battles by keeping Tamorrion Terry and Marvin Wilson on campus for another year. Both were expected to jump to the NFL. Then there is the weirdness of playing South Carolina on the first Saturday of October. I’m not sure how that affects the game, but it will be different. The biggest factor for next year, however, will be what happens at LSU. There are a lot of rumors that Joe Brady is gone for the NFL (Ravens?) and we know Joe Burrow will go ahead and be the No. 1 pick (unless the Bengals screw it up) and there are a lot of high impact juniors on that team who will have decisions to make. Can LSU maintain?
  2. I have been asking myself why we didn’t see this Bayou Wave coming in the preseason (there is no way Clemson is beating LSU.) It’s not like we were blowing LSU off. The coaches poll and the AP both had the Tigers at sixth. This from a team that had a ton of talent back after a 10-win season. Most of us didn’t trust Ed Orgeron enough to elevate the Tigers into the top 5 (especially ahead of Alabama), but none of us knew what a difference Brady would make. It feels like a perfect storm this year for LSU with the best receivers, best offensive line and best quarterback in the country and the guy who knows how to make it work. I’m not taking anything away from Steve Ensminger or Ed Orgeron, but Brady deserves a bulk of the credit. After the title game, we are going to have to ask ourselves whether or not this is the best offense we have ever seen in college football. When you consider the defenses they have destroyed, it might be.
  3. The tragic deaths of two journalists last week was painful for everyone who knew either Carley McCord, the daughter-in-law of Ensminger, and our own Ed Aschoff. I didn’t know McCord, but I know a lot of people who did and you can tell how good a person is when people around her are truly devastated. I have not written about Edward because it has been too painful. The thing I would tell anyone who didn’t know him was that everyone who knew him thought they had a special, loving and unique relationship with him. That’s how he made everyone feel. There have been a lot of tears in the Dooley house and a few in the hospitality room at the Orange Bowl where we all decided to be a little nicer in this new year. Being more like Ed Aschoff would make us all better people. I miss my friend and the thought of never seeing him again and never texting back and forth during a game again is making these old eyes water up again.
  4. I bet you didn’t know that the first Orange Bowl queen was the mother-in-law of Jon Mills, the dean emeritus for the UF law school. Her name was Marguerite Sweat and she was in the parade wearing a cellophane football. Thanks to the reader who passed that information to me. Actually, the first two Orange Bowls were called the Palm Festival and were not sanctioned as NCAA bowl events. But I digress.
  5. The last time we came to this stadium it was one of the most unremarkable NFL stadiums I have ever been to. That was in 2013 for Florida-Miami and if you haven’t been to the refurbished Hard Rock Stadium lately, you’d be amazed at the difference. Not only is there the overhang that makes it feel like an almost-indoors stadium, but everything about it feels first class. As someone who covered a lot of games at the old Orange Bowl and a few at Joe Robbie-Pro Player-Landshark-Dolphin Stadium-Sun Life Stadium, this new version is excellent. And the new press box is sweet (I know all of you get tired of hearing how the media is treated so I won’t mention our police escort to the game). Every time I’m in a stadium like this, I wonder what Florida’s will look like down the road when they reduce capacity and add amenities.
  6. It almost feels like we all just need to take a chill pill when it comes to officiating at every level (I’m looking at you, little league dad). Yes, the missed interference call early in the LSU-Oklahoma game was egregious. Ohio State fans (and Big 10 officials) are still complaining about a number of calls in their loss to Clemson. And in the NFL, where you’d think the best officials should be working, every game is filled with blown calls. But no results are going to change and it would help everybody’s blood pressure if they just accepted bad calls as a part of the game. Now that I’m writing this, I feel like I’ve made this point before. Clearly, my advice isn’t working.
  7. So eight days after South Carolina beat defending national champion Virginia, the Gamecocks lost to Stetson. At home. I’m guessing the only reason that game was even scheduled was that Frank Martin and new Stetson coach Donnie Jones are good friends. But it goes to show how crazy the pre-conference season has been in college basketball. Which may mean it will be as crazy now that we are headed for conference play. And then we’ll see if it translates to a wild and wacky NCAA Tournament. We always talk about every college football game being its own game, but it’s even more that way in college basketball.
  8. Twitter was ablaze and vicious all weekend with the big games in college football and the NFL. Some of you were very clever. I could do a book on the Miami Tweets. But this was the Tweet of the Week from Tuscaloosa columnist Cecil Hurt — “Oklahoma responding to its annual CFP invitation like the buddy you invite to your NYE party every year even though you know he’ll never make it to midnight before he starts throwing up on the carpet.” Sad, but true.
  9. It was a long week in Fort Lauderdale, but it was good to get back to my old stomping grounds. My first job out of college was at the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel and there were still some recognizable landmarks. Anyway, he’s this week’s playlist:

* “Camouflage” by the Front Bottoms.

* “Surefire” by Wilderado.

* “Deep In Love” by Bonny Light Horseman.

* “Reasons I Drink” by Alanis Morissette. 

* And in honor of the re-release of a 40-year-old live album last month, “Surrender” by Cheap Trick.

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



  1. I find the comment, “….most of us didn’t trust Ed Orgeron enough….” to be particularly interesting. The main reason any members of a so called elitist organization (such as the media) would not “trust” a guy like him is because they think they (a) are better than him, (b) know more than him, and (c) could certainly do anything better than him. After all, he’s just a gravel voiced, hard to understand, blue collar boob who got lucky, isn’t he?

    Well, here’s to the power of a coon ass on a mission, y’all.

  2. ”Oklahoma responding to its annual CFP invitation…” at the 4 seed is presently NOT working for the OU Sooners. Only ‘Bama and Ohio State have won their 1st game as a 4 seed. The Sooners have been the 4th seed 3X, and have never gone any further. On a local note, after 6 Final Fours for college football (’14-’15 thru ’19-’20) it’s time for Florida Football to get in there and make some noise! And I’ll take a 4 seed, too.
    Go Gators!

  3. If Hard Luck Stadium is such a top notch facility, then why was the field in such crappy shape? I watched players on both teams slipping and falling all over the field, even after they switched to longer cleats, which probably led to some of the missed tackles and big plays.

    • THAT was an asinine statement from a grizzled veteran sports writer who should know better. Heck, he can even take his own advice, “Every college football game is its own game!”

      Anyone who watched Clemson beat Ohio State (and I did,) knows this Clemson squad is complete. They can match LSU score for score on the offensive side and have a defense capable of “breaking serve” a couple of times, even vs. Joe Burrow and his posse.

      I’m NOT predicting a Clemson win and hope the coon-ass properly represents the SEC and brings home the NC trophy to the SEC… where it belongs. I’m just saying this NC game shapes up as another potential classic, same as that OT NC game two years ago between Alabama and UGA that debuted Tua Tagovailoa.

          • Agree, StL. Couldn’t keep myself from rooting for the Vols tonight and shouting instructions at the TV. Despite the fact that my wife ridiculously kept insisting they couldn’t hear me, they did exactly what I told them. All except the onside kick. Pruitt came up with that one on his own.

  4. Condolences regarding Ed Aschoff. The ESPN announcers spent a couple of minutes toward the end of the UF / VA game talking about him, and the broadcast crew put up a nice picture of him and his fiance. I think it was Steve Levy who concluded their salute to Ed by noting something along the lines of, “Hug your family.” Good advice.
    On a lighter note, it will be a lot of fun to watch Kiffin at Ole Miss. I’m not a Kiffin fan but he can coach and recruit, and watching the mid-field post-game handshake between him and Saban will be priceless.
    And lastly, on an even lighter note, I’m afraid, Pat, that Cheap Trick’s Live at Budokan is actually a tad older than 40 (sad to say). Came out in 1978, the first album I ever bought…

    • It will be fun to watch Kiffin at Ole Miss, PVB, and it won’t take long for his nonsense to re-emerge.

      “I’m putting my money on the fat man, that other guy’s a born loser. All skill and no character”.
      — George C. Scott
      From the movie, The Hustler, c.1961

      • Boy 6, you sound like that crotchety “Get off my lawn!” old man, who believes some some people (like Kiffin) never grow up.

        If Kiffin has any sense at all and remembers the embarrassment of being fired on the tarmac at USC and eating humble pie on Satan’s staff for a couple of year, he will be more careful to keep his mouth from writing checks his initially mediocre Ole Miss squad won’t be able to cash. If he doesn’t, then he’ll make an already entertaining SEC even more compelling TV in 2020.

        Either way, bring Kiffin on!!!

        • Hey StL — I’ll cop to being a crotchety old man, hell, my wife is always telling me in public to keep my hands off my crotch! But if you mean curmudgeon, yep, you nailed it. Some of my most entertaining times at this stage of life have been spent sitting on the front porch, cussing and throwing rocks at passing cars.

          That aside, I used to be a shrink. Now that and $5 will buy you a cup full of a snotty latte at Starbucks, but I do know something about Axis II personality disorders. That boy won’t be able to help himself. But like you and PVB surmise — man, it sure is going to be fun! 🤪

          • What? Infantry, MP, and now a shrink too? I guess at your age you’ve had plenty of time to do everything.

          • Let’s just say I never could keep a job?

            But if you’re saying something akin to age before beauty, let me remind you, my fine feathered friend, that Beauty was a horse! 😜

  5. Congrats to the Gators who played the season out, and thank you for your hard work!!

    Here’s wishing (I know, never will happen) that the QUITTERS who bail on their team’s bowl game have to repay their scholarships.

    And a big TTTHHHHPPPFFFBBBTT to bleeding hearts blowing sunshine to high schoolers who only see UF as a stepping sone to the NFL. I don’t care a flip about the pros, or fans who use the NFL as a rationale for poor character.

  6. Been sick since leaving the CO Grandkids and returning to warm FL. This year’s cold is unlike any I’ve had before!

    Just throwing this out there, because I also kind of like Coach O, BUT with Borrow and a bunch of other key plays and maybe coaches gone, isn’t it possible LSU takes a dive similar to the Bama Gene Stallings NC team? I really think so.

    Doesn’t Saban’s tirades appear like he has a serious anger problem. I would never want to be seen ONE time on TV like that. If he’s like that in practice, then he’s in danger of being piled driven by today’s players. I know the Bama people don’t like it and DON’T consider him a threat to the Bear.

    • Couple of thought provoking questions there, bud.

      I think LSU wins an NC this year, and since we’re not involved this time I’m all for it and keeping the trophy in the SEC where it belongs. But more so because just as I love the underdog like Kyle Trask finally getting a chance to shine, so too I think that crazy coon ass Orgeron has been an underdog all this time until now — and has his day in the sun coming even if Joe Alleva is somehow belatedly taking credit for it all of a sudden. But as far as next year? Probably not a dynasty and I do think there will be a certain drop off for LSU…..but based on the way that guy is recruiting, the year after next may be something else again. Which troubles me, since that’s the same year I think we really go all the way too.

      As far as Saban, Alabama isn’t done yet by a long shot. The Bear has arch angel status in that state, so while he’s no threat to that I don’t think at the same time he really gives a flying fig either. All the sports media talking heads who are saying Bama is done are really full of crap, in my opinion anyway. But as far as his anger management goes, I think that while as he’s (a) free to vent it and (b) knows what he’s really angry at, there are not likely to be physical consequences for him regardless of how untoward we think it to be. Some guys are just put together like that — they lose their anger and they lose their edge. Since I’m a Gator, I’m OK with him losing both. But I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon.