The Back Nine: Alabama-Florida comparison irrelevant this week
The Back Nine comes at you one last time and I will try not to get tears on the computer keyboard. Hey, I still have a week to go. I need this computer.
10. You are going to hear this all week and especially on Saturday during the game and after it. People are going to look at the way Alabama snuffed the life out of Kentucky and compare it to the way Florida plays against the Wildcats because of the impending SEC title game (technically, teams are still not set) and that's assuming we will see that game played. Remember two things — every game is its own game and Kentucky was down a bunch of players either from COVID-19 contact tracing or injuries. We'll see who is back this week, but we also remember that the Wildcats won the last time they were in Gainesville and were on their way to a win last season before Kyle Trask saved the day. "We know we're always going to get their best shot," Dan Mullen said Monday.
11. There was something that stood out to me after re-watching the Florida-Vanderbilt game and that was how many great catches teams have made against Florida. You can say that the defenders should have batted the ball away (Marco Wilson, I'm looking at you), but this team, these players have to understand one thing. Whether you're back or not is still to be determined, but teams are going to play against you as if you were one of the elite teams in college football. The script Gators on your helmets (well, for most games) has always elicited an aggressive response from the rest of this league, but now it has intensified because of the publicity this team is getting. It's something I think a lot of coaches at Florida have to deal with, that extra kick of adrenaline opposing players have going against the Gators. But it's something you can deal with. Alabama football doesn't seem to have a problem with it.
12. Speaking of Alabama, the Tide defense, which was getting lambasted earlier in the year, is back where it belongs leading the conference in scoring defense. The schedule has played a part in it, but in Alabama's first four games it gave up 28.8 points a game and in its last three 6.7 points a game. Great. The Tide will probably peak in Atlanta. Anyway, it will be interesting to see the way Alabama finishes, because Auburn has a little offense and Arkansas has some offense and if they play LSU that's a team with a smattering of offense. Who am I trying to fool here?
13. I would not want to be on the College Football Playoff committee (although if they are looking for someone I will soon have a lot of spare time) because no matter what criteria you are using, you are basing it on games played almost exclusively within your own conference. Conference teams know conference teams and because we lost almost all of the significant non-conference games, it's difficult to measure teams against each other. For example, Clemson will probably be ranked fourth when the first CFP standings are revealed tonight, but the Tigers have only played two significant games and split them. I'm not sure Clemson would be No. 4 with the same schedule if it was named Wake Forest (Don't yell at me, Dabo). In a way, it's going to be a crapshoot with the numbers of games played so far, but don't worry about where Florida is ranked (likely it's highest ranking ever in the CFP). Win out, beat Alabama, you're in. The path is quite simple.
14. If it's Monday, Dabo Swinney must be saying something that makes people think he may be a great football coach, but you won't want to be his PR man. Dabo accused FSU of chickening out of the game and certainly I get his frustration. I was not in the middle of the meetings that took place so I'm not going to act like I know who was right or who was wrong. But seriously, could FSU's current status as a football program have sunk much lower with a blowout loss to Clemson? I don't think so. Clearly, Clemson has tried to point out that its testing was not the problem and the whole thing makes you want to point out that YOU WEREN'T GOING TO WATCH THE GAME ANYWAY!!! I think a lot of Swinney's frustration is because the Tigers haven't played in two weeks and his quarterback has seen the Heisman Trophy float away through no fault of his own. Either way, it's great theatre.
15. Georgia fans are trying to decide whether they are happy or angry. They finally have a quarterback who can throw the deep pass, but why did it take so long to put him in? I have heard from Bulldog fans who say Georgia would have beaten Florida if they had JT Daniels for the game. You did have him. Your coach chose not to play him. I am still trying to figure out why Georgia could only rush for eight yards against Mississippi State. But the Bulldogs aren't my problem.
16. Question that came my way as I walked into my favorite convenience store to get a Diet Coke this morning — are they going to shut down basketball? No, I don't think so, but it is going to be the same kind of weekly wonderland that football is right now. I can only imagine Mike White's angst right now after getting so close to the start of the season only to see it not start. I don't think we are that far away from no basketball in December and start back up with conference-only games in the middle of January. The virus is still winning.
17. The Tweet of the Week goes to Dan Wolken of USA Today in response to the news that Tennessee has lost five straight games by double digits for the first time in school history — "Maybe letting a former coach with no AD experience, a Twitter mob and a talk radio host run your coaching search wasn’t the greatest idea." You are correct, sir.
18. Because this is my final playlist, I thought I'd give the readers who have complained about the deep journeys into indie and alternative music we have shared over the years some, well, some regular old songs. So here are the five I would take with me if I was on that island in "Cast Away":
• Handle With Care" by The Traveling Wilburys.
• "God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys.
• "A Day In The Life" by The Beatles.
• "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana.
• "Buddy Holly" by Weezer.
Five minutes after I did this, I had five songs I liked better.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.