New Feature! Pat Dooley’s Front Nine

The Front Nine is a new feature here on (veterans will remember that when the Back Nine started years ago, it was called the Front Nine, and now you are getting confused). So here we go with a look ahead to the weekend, but also a look back at a somewhat completed football season.

1.If there is one thing that I would like to see from Florida’s football team in the fall and going forward, it would be that the Gators understood the accountability of Alabama. Nick Saban runs a tight ship that is to be admired not only for the way his players play but the way they act on the field and off. This is not to say Alabama players never get in trouble, but they hand the ball to the officials and tuck their shirts in and just act like this isn’t their first rodeo. I’m a big believer that accountability leads to discipline. Does anyone think a Saban player would throw a shoe? Look, I get that he has had year to establish a culture at Alabama and he is the most respected man in the state. But to get to the point where it is expected, you have to start somewhere. And that somewhere is right at the top.

2. Dan Mullen is, however, the King of the Transfer Portal, beefing up a defensive line that was a problem last year. It’s just the way college football is these days. If you can’t recruit ‘em, wait for them to get homesick.

3. Maybe that was the deal with Urban Meyer. He wanted to move back to this state. To me, there won’t be a more fascinating team than the Jaguars for the next few years because we know what an incredible coach he is and that he has opted out three times for “health reasons” only to resurface later. People keep asking me how I think he’ll do in the NFL and the truth is that nobody knows. In theory, having Trevor Lawrence, a boatload of draft picks and all kind of cap space is the perfect situation to walk into. But Meyer is also inheriting a team that is riding a 15-game losing streak and losing eats away at his soul like no coach I have ever seen. OK, here are two questions I have for you:

* If you were not a Jags fan – perhaps even rooted against them – does this change anything, especially if he Gator-fies the building?
* How much does this help him get into the Ring of Honor?
* Oh, a third question, how do Ohio State fans feel about Meyer quitting, saying he was basically through with coaching and then jumping into it again?
I think because of the success of Ryan Day, the Buckeyes don’t have a problem. Meyer didn’t leave a broken program there the way he did here. And Ohio State didn’t hire Will Muschamp

4. Before we get any deeper into football, one of the under-rated rivalries in college sports takes place tonight when Florida gymnastics plays host to Georgia. Florida is No. 1, while Georgia is No. 7. I wouldn’t be surprised that – with only 2,200 seats available because of COVID protocols – this will be a tough ticket to get. Probably tougher than men’s basketball games.

5. I published my final AP ballot here on the website but what I didn’t include was the biggest mistakes of the preseason:
No. 9 Penn State (finished 4-5).
No. 10 LSU (finished 5-5).
No. 12 Michigan (finished 2-4).
No. 20 Minnesota (finished 3-4).

Hmm. There seems to be a common them there in that we all gave the Big 10 more credit than we should have. And yet, there was Ohio State playing for a national championship. It feels like the divide is wider in the Big 10 between the Buckeyes and the rest of the league than It has been in a while.

6. As Florida prepares to take on Mississippi State tomorrow in Stark-Vegas and we wait to see which Florida team will show up, there is something to be said for the fact that Tre Mann may not average a triple double, but he is going to the triple crown. He currently leads Florida in points, rebounds and assists, which is not too shabby. The trouble is that he is going up against the best 1-2 guard combo on the SEC in Iverson Molinar (18.9 ppg) and D.J. Stewart (17.8 ppg). The Hump won’t be the typical homecourt advantage that is usually is, but it’s difficult to see Florida winning against two guards like that. On the other hand, the Bulldogs lost Wednesday to a very average Texas A&M team. As Steve Spurrier used to say to Robbie Andreu, “Just watch the game, Robbie.”

7. My picks for the playoff games this weekend, just to get them on the record:
* Packers over Rams, 38-31.
* Ravens over Bills, 20-19.
* Chiefs over Browns, 30-24.
* Bucs over Saints, 34-31.

8. OK, let’s make trivia a part of this column each week and see how you do. Today’s question – Which three members of the Florida Ring of Honor rank second in Florida history in the three categories they were known for? They are Emmitt Smith (career rushing yards) , Danny Wuerffel (career passing yards) and Wilber Marshall (tackles for a loss in a season). Name the three leaders in these categories.

9. And before I get to the answers, we will be giving you a movie or documentary recommendation here since a lot of you are still forced to watch way more TV than you want to. Today, we give you “How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?”, the doc on the Bee Gees on HBO. I was a huge fan of the band’s earl work (not so much the disco stuff) and really loved Robin Gibb’s voice. Anyway, the answers are Errict Rhett, Florida’s all-time leading rusher, Chris Leak, Florida’s all-time leading passer, and Jachai Polite, Florida’s single season leader in tackles for a loss. And I can go all day with this stuff.

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