The Back Nine comes at you and IT’S GAME WEEK! OK, not for the Gators but for college football. We have real games and don’t forget it’s Week 1, not Week Zero. That nonsense has gone on long enough.
- So, this is a discussion that has been going on all week on the many platforms I deal with and I thought I would bring it here. It involves attendance for the opening game where there are two schools of thought. One is that fans are so eager to fill stadiums back that they will make that happen. The other is that there is still a pandemic going on with a third of Florida residents over 12 still unvaccinated and there will be people who don’t see the point of taking the risk. Of course, there is that third group that would rather stay at home and watch Georgia-Clemson at the same time as Florida-FAU. Some of us have a two-TV set-up. I’ve put the over/under for butts in the seats at 70,000. That’s still a lot better than last year when home game attendance never reached its 17,000-seat maximum. We’ll see about Alabama two weeks later.
- Obviously, I can’t see the scrimmages, but this is two in a row where the reports have been that Demarkcus Bowman was breaking off long runs. You never know what he was going up against (one video on Twitter showed several starters on the sideline), but it’s just good to see him healthy.
- And that’s the thing. One day I feel one way and the next the other and it’s not just about Florida, it’s about every team in college football. I believe, like most pundits do, that we are heading for the usual suspects being in the playoff picture. One reason is because Clemson and Georgia have ridiculously easy schedules other than playing against each other. That almost feels like a mulligan game where the loser still has a good shot of being in. More concerning to me is that there is a reason so many people want to see an expanded playoff and it is feeling more and more as if the SEC’s power play of bringing in Texas and Oklahoma eventually might stop that from happening. It’s a move out of spite, nothing more.
- My plan is to give you The Picks that I used to do for the newspaper in this spot every week. You know, Lucky 13? We’ll do three of them to start because there isn’t much to choose from in Week 1. That won’t be the case any other week.
* I’ll take Nebraska giving seven to Illinois, but I wonder how much of a distraction the NCAA investigation has been to the Cornhuskers.
* I’ll take UCLA giving 17 points at home against Hawai’i. The Bruins are supposed to be much improved under Chip Kelly. They had better be or UCLA may be looking for a new coach. The guy who Florida wanted is now 10-21 as UCLA’s head coach. Bullet dodged.
* And I will take UTEP getting nine points against New Mexico State in a battle of have nots. Look, you know how much I love college football, but it’s going to be difficult for me to tune this in. The two coaches are a combined 28-91 at their respective schools. And if you can name either one without looking it up, I’ll have a new respect for you.
- In another example of how fractured college football is, Oregon and Oregon State are going to require proof of vaccinations to attend football games. As things get closer, it’s going to be a tough call for many schools, unless they have no other choice because of budgetary concerns placed upon them by the governors of the states. If we ever need a commissioner of college football with all the different NIL rules and an ineffective NCAA and all, it is now.
- It’s a little bit funny (thank you, Sir Elton John) that now that we have only three exhibition games in the NFL, we can’t help but wonder why there were four in the first place. I’d be OK if they cut it to two. There was a quadruple-header on the NFL Network and I barely watched. I know it’s a me problem, but I have a difficult time getting into any games in any sports where the final score doesn’t matter. Maybe they should call these NFL games “friendlies.”
- The PGA Tour needs to think about more Monday finishes. It gives us something to watch during the day. Are you starting to get the feeling that I watch too much TV? So does my wife. We had a discussion about who was less motivated, her watching Bravo or me watching games from 2020 on ESPNU. I think it was a tie.
- For today’s “Florida Four” we will talk about the four games that have me a little too excited for the second week of the season. I know, I am such a football geek, but I cannot wait for these four and it will be interesting how one day we may be able to look back and see how they affected Florida’s season.
* Boise State at UCF, Sept. 2, 7 p.m. on ESPN. The perfect appetizer to the weekend is a winner-gets-ranked game.
* Alabama-Miami, Sept. 4, 3:30 p.m. ABC. Is Miami back? Can you be back if you are an 18-point dog in your opener?
* Clemson-Georgia, 7:30, ABC. This is literally Clemson’s only difficult game of the season. Georgia has at least two more.
* LSU at UCLA, 8:30, Fox. “The Cajuns in Hollywood” is a script treatment I have been working on. Just kidding.
- My favorite songs to listen to on a Gator Game Day are coming next week. Until then, here’s a playlist that I promise you will enjoy:
* “Spring Rain” by The Go-Betweens.
*”Laughing” by the Guess Who to continue our discussions from The Tailgate last week.
*David Bowie’s live version of “I’m Waiting for the Man”.