The Back Nine: Even without Gators, is there too much football?
The Back Nine comes at you after a fun season ended because my team can't run the bases. But I will try not to be bitter. I mean, if I was going to be bitter, I have a long list of grievances with you people.
10. I'm getting there. And I may get there this week. Maybe I can get some advice from you fans who deal with this every week. You know, it used to be a fantasy of mine that Florida would just take a year off football and I could be home every Saturday and watch football from noon to midnight. I think I am beginning to understand that it might be great occasionally, but not all the time. It's like you are eating steak every day and it makes you have a hankering for a potato once in awhile. Maybe I have a problem in that I can't just watch the big games. I have to watch every game that my TVs will hold. That's the thing. If things turn sour again and we don't have football in November or December, I am going to be wondering why I thought it was too much. Still, I feel a need to wean myself just a little. Maybe eliminate those mid-week games.
11. When the new hires were made in the SEC prior to this season, who was raising their hand to say, "Wow, Sam Pittman is the best hire." How many of you could have recognized Sam Pittman in a Wal-Mart? In a division with Mike Leach and Lane Kiffin, he seemed like a bit of a buffoon with his over the top pig calls. But he has taken a dumpster fire and made it seem like a nice two-bedroom condo. The Razorbacks should be 3-1 right no if not for a missed call in the Auburn game and nobody was thinking that Arkansas had the talent to be this good. This does not mean Mississippi and Mississippi State made bad hires even though those two coaches are now a combined 2-6. It just means Arkansas made a gutsy choice that is paying off. Although don't start shining up that Coach of the Year trophy yet. This schedule could still lead to 2-8.
12. So remember when Tom Cruise in "Jerry McGuire" left his manifesto in everybody's mailbox and then wonder if he had gone too far? I felt similarly on Monday morning because of an item in Sunday Blog in which I declared Florida's season over. My thinking at the time was that the Gators were the last team that could handle this three week disruption with limited practices and no live action until Oct. 31. Look at what Florida has left and what Georgia has left and then look at the Georgia-Alabama game and it feels like Florida is playing for the Citrus Bowl. I'm not walking this back, but I do want to apologize if I offended anybody's sensibilities. Anything can happen in college football. The season is not over, but I don't like Florida's chances. It doesn't mean I am encouraging people to stay away from the games. You went during 0-10-1. Just stay safe.
13. I have been keeping a running total of two things in the SEC — passing yards and the record of teams in games between the divisions. The latter now stands at 7-6 for the West after the two sides split games. The other stat certainly saw things change in this conference. Now some of that may be because the No. 2 and No. 4 passing teams in the conference had their game postponed, but the numbers took a significant downturn even with Mac Jones lighting up the Georgia secondary for 417 yards. Through three weeks, SEC teams were averaging 277.2 passing yards per game. Last week, with four teams having unscheduled weeks off, that average was down to 212.3. More importantly, SEC quarterbacks were throwing 0.81 interceptions a game the first three weeks and last week averaged two a game. Maybe these defenses are starting to figure things out.
14. Give credit to Florida State for the way it played until the fourth quarter Saturday night and to North Carolina for an incredible comeback. Dan Mullen must have had an exasperated look on his face in quarantine seeing the crowd at that stadium (officially listed at 18,016; yeah, riighhttt). If North Carolina doesn't drop three straight passes with the game on the line ... anyway, it was nice to see none of the Big Three state teams lose (sorry, UCF, you've abdicated). It would be even nicer to see one of them play a game.
15. Let's see, Tampa has the Stanley Cup and Los Angeles has the basketball trophy so is the World Series now the battle for Titletown this year? Geez, can you let the other fans have something? I mean, even the NFL teams have a chance to win it all. Meanwhile, we take you to New York City ...
16. I say goodnight to my Braves for another baseball season and this one was bittersweet. That team captured my heart like few have, getting within a game of the World Series with a cobbled together pitching staff. Of course, the sting comes from having a 3-1 lead on the hated Dodgers and then forgetting the fundamental rules on base running. Anyway, I enjoyed the heck out of the deep run and it reminded me of the NCAA basketball tournament where the bottom line is that all but one season ends with a crushing defeat. I will be rooting for the Rays, but not enough to watch. I appreciate what baseball did for my mental health, but it is like Wilson the volleyball. I will let it float away.
17. The Tweet of the Week goes to Kiffin, who was in a pretty good mood considering what he saw on Saturday — "Tried to pick up @corral_matt by telling him he wasn’t close to my father in laws record. RIP Papa John. Kids miss ya." Kiffin, of course, was married to John Reaves daughter Layla and John Reaves, of course, threw nine picks in Florida's only loss during the 1969 season at Auburn. Corral threw six Saturday.
18. Really enjoyed the Stop Children's Cancer golf tournament out at Haile Plantation on Friday and don't worry, our event will be back in May. I even had some tunes cranked on Friday, although I don't think the people in my group liked this playlist:
• "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect" by The Decemberists.
• "Leave Virginia Alone" by Tom Petty.
• "Sunblind" by Fleet Foxes.
•And for an old one from the pre-disco days "I've Gotta Get A Message To You" by the Bee Gees.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.