The Back Nine: Don't worry, be happy

Pat Dooley
Gator Sports

The Back Nine comes at you after another weekend of inactivity unless you count yelling at coaches on a TV screen my exercise. Oh, and there was some yelling at my computer screen, too. It's a long story.

10. Dr. Football likes to tell people not to panic after a game or two of a season. It's a trick I learned from Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Aaron Rodgers that is important to R-E-L-A-X. But with the uncertain college football season about to swing into full gear (it's not college football season until you hear the SEC music), it is going to be difficult for any of the contenders to take it easy and certainly not for your fans. We have no idea how many games will be played, which means a loss early could put you in a big hole and two losses might eliminate you from playoff contention. That's why Larry Scott said the Pac-12 is in no hurry to get back. If they play five games, they might still get a team in. So it's OK to be fretting if your college team doesn't get off to the best start. Or if you are a fan of the Atlanta Falcons.

11. OK, after that Dooley Downer, let's all walk with a Rory McIlroy spring in our step, because it's game week. Hopefully. I want to see the ball in the air at noon before I will say the season is officially on. But it is game week and we never knew for sure we would get to this point. And by now, I think we've all adjusted to not going to Oxford, Miss., and watching a game with few fans and just watching the Gators play. All we know for sure about this team is what we hear from the coaches and players. It will be exciting to actually see what everybody looks like. If feels like forever since Dooley graded the Gators.

12. I was a little surprised to see Florida favored by 12 just because Ole Miss will be playing with nothing to lose and Lane Kiffin knows what he's doing when it comes to offense and we all know what D.J. Durkin did here as a defensive coordinator (we'll leave out the Maryland issues). I think Florida's young defense may struggle in the first game out, but the Ole Miss defense still has a lot of issues that Florida should be able to exploit. Ole Miss was 12th in the SEC in total defense last year and last  in the conference in passing defense. I'm not giving my pick away just yet, but you can tell where I am leaning.

13. Dan Mullen hit it right on the head, because you can always kick off your news conference with a Seinfeld reference. "It's like Bizarro World," he said Monday on Zoom. "Like Bizarro Jerry, that Seinfeld episode." Oh, Danny, you don't need to explain it to this Seinfeld nut. That was also the episode that gave us "man hands." The guy who was Bizarro Jerry was named Kevin and, well, I could go on all day, but I'd have to stop to laugh. It is strange for a lot of reasons, including that Mullen is going back to face a team he used to deal with as a rival so much so that he borrowed the old Urban Meyer trick of not calling that school up north by its proper name. Bottom line: It's Bizarro Year. How you handle it the more bizarre it gets will define your season.

14. Don't blame me. I'm not the one who had Louisville ranked. I didn't get what the big deal was about Louisville. So the fact Miami drubbed a team that chose not to play defense on two plays in the third quarter was hardly a surprise (What is it about the state of Kentucky and just not covering anybody?) Yes, Miami looks like a different team now that it has a quarterback and a kicker. But let us not forget that the Hurricanes were 10-0 just three years ago in Mark Richt's penultimate year before losing the last three. It's not like the program has had no success in the last decade the way Kirk Herbstreit was talking about the "long-suffering Miami fans." I certainly don't expect them to have a problem with FSU and all of its problems this week, but the 'Canes go to Clemson in two weeks. 

15. OK, I am the one person who voted Alabama No. 1 in the Associated Press football poll. I got confused because I thought I had Alabama No. 1 last week. It's difficult to keep your head on straight with leagues coming and going and remember this — there were nine teams we ranked this week that have not played a game. Some coach or sports information director in the USA Today poll that we use in the paper also was the only one who voted for Alabama. Great minds, huh? That poll chose to go ahead and rank the Big Ten teams (AP will start next week), but there were people who either didn't get the memo or decided not to. As a result, Ohio State is 10th in that poll. Yeah, right. The real polls start this week when America's Conference starts playing.

16. The Back Nine is not sure why there is so much animosity toward Bryson DeChambeau, who won the U.S. Open this weekend. I hear he's kind of a jerk, but not like a Patrick Reed jerk. The golf writers seem upset that he has changed the game (in their opinion, for the worse) by beefing up to look like Ray Lewis and just smashing the ball as hard as he can and then finding it and hitting a wedge onto the green. His Caveman Golf mentality isn't illegal (although making the last nine of the Open unwatchable should be) and the dude has put in an amazing amount of work. I think a lot of so-called experts didn't think the Smash-and-Gouge philosophy would hold up at a place like Winged Foot, but it did. The best news is that the next two majors will both be at Augusta in November and April and there is no way to make the Masters unwatchable.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Matt Schick of ESPN — "Nebraska at Ohio State week 1. The biggest surprise is that the Big Ten didn’t put Nebraska at Ohio State in week 2 as well." Yeah, when Nebraska made so much noise about not playing and threatened to sue the conference, the reward was the toughest schedule, including what may be the best team in college football in the opener. Anything else you want to add, Mr. Frost?

18. I actually said to my wife Saturday night that there were too many sports on TV to keep track of. Who would have thought I'd be saying that a few months ago? I did take some time to come up with a playlist, much to the chagrin of some of you:

•"Stay With Me" by Mary Born.  

•"Bags" by Clairo.

•"Around The World" by Kings of Leon.

•"Ballad Of Big Nothing" by Elliott Smith.

• And for an old one that is not that old, but it makes me think about how I will feel on this day when I start thinking about SEC football on the following day, "Friday I'm In Love" by The Cure.

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