It's almost like the season is starting over

Pat Dooley
Gator Sports
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The Back Nine comes at you after one more weird weekend that included a bunch of college football upsets and me actually watching baseball after I thought I'd shut it down after the Braves were eliminated.

10. So in a way, it feels like this is the opening week of the season. After all, any momentum (or lack of it and I'm looking at you defense) that came from the first three weeks is gone and it feels like Florida last played a football game in the Orange Bowl. Right, Dan Mullen? "Not really," he said Monday. "We're kind of beyond that. It's like we had a double-bye week." OK, OK. But certainly, there is an advantage for Missouri in that the Tigers were able to play last week (and, boy, did they celebrate that win over Kentucky) while the Gators were eating cheeseburgers. They might not have been, but they had to eat something. Mullen on Monday didn't offer many clues about how many players will be ready to go. Actually, he offered no clues. But he seemed confident that there will be a game.

11. Way back in the Saturday newspaper on the day before the Texas A&M game I told you that you would find a lot out about your team that day. And in a way, you did. But this game will be a real indictor of whether or not these guys can make a stretch run. It hasn't been easy for this team, especially those players on defense, and now they are supposed to miss two weeks of practice and figure everything out. Missouri on Saturday imposed its will on a team that is known for being able to impose its will on people. Instead, Kentucky was able to run only 36 plays. For the game.

12. There are still a lot of teams I can't figure out whether they are semi-elite or not. Even without Jaylen Waddle (it literally made me want to cry), Alabama is elite. So is Clemson. It appears Ohio State is, but it was only one game. Then we have teams like Notre Dame (unbeaten but inconsistent), Okie State (unbeaten, but I have no clue how good the Cowboys are and that's after watching their biggest game of the year), Cincinnati, BYU and on and on we go. You're all probably playing for fourth in the College Football Playoff, but I think there are a dozen teams playing for that spot (including Florida) and one of then (Oregon) hasn't even started yet.

13. I'm not saying it's wrong. Let me be up front with that. I am a fan of players getting in their celebrations quickly after a score and I get that the officials are letting them get away with a lot more because of everything they have been through. But you'd have to set off fireworks in the end zone to get a celebration penalty these days. You can taunt and do little dances and bring teammates in to help you with those dances. Poor Elijah Moore. I'm not sure the Ole Miss receiver would have received a penalty for the raising of the leg this year. Like I said, it's OK. I just wish someone had told me before the season what would be allowed and what wouldn't. 

14. So this could go under the heading "Things We Already Knew, Dummy" but as I watched games on Saturday in the SEC I decided to see how home teams are doing. Because obviously, the crowds are not the same. Duh. So I got out a legal pad and did some ciphering and figured that the home teams in this league are winning only 59 percent of their games. Compare that with two years ago, for example, when the home teams won 73 percent of their games. Now I have to take a break because my head hurts.

15. Jeremy Pruitt said he didn't think the gap between Alabama and Tennessee was that big. Memo to college coaches — quit talking about gaps between your program and another. You look at your players differently than anyone else does. If there is a gap, there is a gap and you can't really be an impartial judge. For example, I think the gap between myself and Brad Pitt is not that wide. 

16. So remember the big talk radio deal back in the summer about who would win more games, Tom Brady or Bill Belichick? Well, Brady is at 5-2 and Belichick at 2-4. And, other than the two games against the Jets, the schedule is not going to get any easier for the Patriots. I just thought I would point that out. Also, Kyler Murray is way better than I thought he'd be at this level, Cam Newton hasn't been the same since contracting COVID-19 and I can't believe we saw two running backs — one in college and one in the NFL — score touchdowns when they should have stopped short like Frank Costanza and both times it cost their teams a victory

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Brandon Marcello of 24/7 Sports — "Auburn with another huge break from SEC officials taking a smoke break." Yeah, that's what it felt like. At the very least you had to stop the game on what looked like a possible mistake by the punt returner just to say you looked at a bunch of angles.

18. While playing some awful golf Saturday (it seems to be a running theme), I finally got a chance to listen to the Tom Petty Birthday Bash on Sirius and there were some really cool versions of Petty songs. Too many to mention.

• But there was husband/wife combo that I really enjoyed (they did "Ways To Be Wicked") and while exploring I found this song that sums it all up. "I Miss Tom Petty" by SunKat.

•So let's get on with the rest of the playlist for today with a song that I hear in my head anytime I meet someone named Zak or Sara, "Zak and Sara" by Ben Folds off one of the great albums ever "Rockin' The Suburbs."

• "Banditos" by The Refreshments. I love Shazam. I heard a snippet of this song on Sunday Night Football and now I own it.

• "Shine A Light" by The Black Keys.

• And for an old one, from 1979, "Train In Vain" by The Clash.

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

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