Pat Dooley’s Back Nine June 14

The Back Nine comes at you after a weekend that was either scary storms or golf-inducing sunshine. We are a weird state. And it just started raining again.

10. With the big news about the College Football Playoffs expansion last week, several virtual scribes went to work on what the playoffs would have looked like during the four-team playoffs that we have had over the last seven years (remember when the commissioners were defiant about how the BCS was the perfect system?) And when they did, perhaps you started to have a new appreciation for Dan Mullen. Or not. With some fans, giving credit only comes with national championships won. But Mullen would have theoretically had Florida in the playoffs each of his three years as Florida’s coach if we were in the 12-team setting. Which means it would have been nice to see Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney for one more game at least. But, I say theoretically because we don’t know if the pressure of selecting playoff teams would have presented as different 12 than what we got from the committee. Still, it kind of makes that extension that Mullen received a little more understandable considering one of the knocks on him has been that he has yet to make the playoffs.

11. I was thinking about this the other day, the coaches from Florida who have made the SEC Championship Game. And the reason I was thinking about it is that there have been suggestions made that the conference championship games will go away because of this expanded schedule. Instead, they will be even bigger because of what is at stake – byes for some of the winners and berths into the playoffs for most of the winners. Anyway, here’s the list that you probably could have recited off the top of your head. But you might not have been able to give me the total points scored by each coach’s team:

Steve Spurrier – 7 games, 187 points
Urban Meyer – 3 games, 81 points.
Jim McElwain – 2 games, 31 points.
Dan Mullen – 1 game. 46 points.

So, Mullen scored the most points ever by a Florida team in that game despite losing.

12. The same thing happened to me that happened during the softball this weekend. I didn’t think I would watch the Women’s College World Series (which drew record crowds and record TV ratings) after Florida was eliminated, but I watched almost every inning. And I thought I would be disinterested in the Super Regionals after Florida laid its smelly egg in the regionals. But I have. That North Carolina State win over Arkansas Sunday night was high drama indeed. And we have more to watch today with two games. It’s a bit of a surprise that the mighty SEC only has two teams headed to Omaha (a third has a chance when Miss. State plays Notre Dame today) and both are from the state of Tennessee.

13. Certainly, watching those games at SEC sites set us to thinking again about why Florida doesn’t draw for baseball. I know that this was a different year because of COVID, but when I watch these other SEC schools and all of the different ways they support their team with noise and toys and I think back to the one regional game I went to this year where the Florida fans who were there were sitting on their hands, I have a difficult time understanding why. It’s not like Florida does not have a winning baseball tradition. As great as the new ballpark is, it’s not like Florida bothered to build a 10,000-seat stadium because there was no reason to. (With berm seating and additional seats brought in it could get up to 10K but that is unlikely to happen.). Jeff Cardozo and I talked about it a lot last week on The Tailgate and I’m not sure we really came up with any answers.

14. That said, Florida played only two games with full capacity this year and one was at noon on a workday. Still, the passion for baseball is different in Starkville and Fayetteville and Baton Rouge and Knoxville and Oxford and it’s not even close.

15. A special shout-out to Joseph Fahnbulleh, the Florida Gator who won a national title in the 200 meters at the NCAA meet where Florida finished fourth in the country. I didn’t see it live but I did watch him run the 100 (he finished seventh) and he didn’t look like a sprinter. He’s a big dude.

16. I have been watching a little of the NBA Playoffs although many games are on too late for this old man. I have especially been into the Bucks News series. I don’t know if I am rooting for Milwaukee because of my disdain for Kevin Durant or my love of the new series “Sweet Tooth” and it’s all I can think about when I see those antlers. One thing I have noticed (and I don’t watch any regular season games) is what you can and can’t get away with in the NBA. You CAN mug someone and get away with it but if they fall down on their own you will be called for a foul. It’s good to know that the SEC is not the only league with shaky officiating. But you know one of my rules – no matter the sport, you have to play around bad calls.

17. The “Florida Four” involved spreads for this fall’s football games and if you are wondering where you have heard this before it was on Another Dooley Noted Podcast, but I felt I should share these with everyone. These are the four bets you can get in Vegas right now:

Florida +14.5 vs. Alabama
Florida -16 vs. Tennessee
Florida +1.5 at LSU
Florida +6.5 vs. Georgia

Yep, Florida is an underdog here in talking season in its three biggest games of the season.

18. For our playlist today, I played some of these songs for my wife on our way home for date night and she really liked then and she has impeccable taste (in everything except men) so hopefully you will like then, too:

* “Better Than Love” by Griffin House.

* “Brother” by Toad the Wet Sprocket.

* And for an old one, I don’t know why they don’t play this at Florida games. In fact, I have suggested it to people over there. Maybe we make it exclusive to baseball games to get the crowds into it. “Gator Country” by Molly Hatchet. Listen to the words. Why is it not an orange and blue staple? Why? Am I missing something?

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