The Back Nine comes at you after a wild and crazy weekend (Festrunk Brothers skits sold separately) that saw some scores I didn’t think I would see and some that were predictable. Just not by me.
- Last week, Gainesville and the Gator Nation were abuzz about a quarterback controversy. A week later, it is one louder as the great Nigel Tufnel said. There is no question that Florida has another unicorn in Anthony Richardson, a cross between Cam Newton and Jordan Reed (remember his year playing some quarterback?) It could lead to some ugly situations on Saturday, and I’m not talking only about on the field. I would hope that Gator fans in attendance would not boo a college player simply for running out on the field. But I have seen it before. Is it possible that Dan Mullen has a plan that includes both quarterbacks and he knows the roles they need to fill? Mullen said Saturday that Richardson still does some of the wrong things even though his playbook is limited. He needs both of the quarterbacks to have any chance against Alabama. The problem is that Richardson strained a calf against USF and we’ll see how that responds to treatment, but it’s not like Richardson will get more reps in practice with a bad leg.
- That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Even if both of these guys play at a high level and Emory Jones stops turning the ball over, it’s still a longshot to think Florida will win. Alabama is that good and losing players to the NFL doesn’t faze the Tide. Losing coordinators is shrugged off like leaves landing on Nick Saban’s shoulders. The man has created a machine over there and its running on discipline. But every game is its own game and it’s great just to have Alabama back in Gainesville after a ridiculous 10 year-drought.
- I’ll be interested to see how many Alabama fans will be in attendance because ticket prices have escalated to over $1,000 each on ticket websites. That’s tip money to these rabid Alabama fans. The decline in college football attendance is partly due to visiting teams not buying up tickets (and you will see that next week when Tennessee comes to town), but Alabama fans travel. If you had a dynastic program and were again ranked No. 1 in the country, why wouldn’t you?
- We are about to find out whether or not this secondary has truly improved or whether it’s just good against mediocre teams (although FAU won Saturday). On second thought, I just looked at the national stats and Florida is 91st in the nation in passing yards allowed. Never mind. We might just see the pass defense totally exposed. Of course, I could make the argument that Alabama’s defense might get exposed because it is facing the No. 2 rushing offense in the country. But I won’t. I know better.
- I stayed up to watch that unbelievable ending to the Jacksonville State-FSU game. That move reminded me of Ike Hillard in the Sugar Bowl. Google it if you haven’t had a chance to watch the last play of the game. There was a lot of weird stuff going on Saturday night, but that’s college football. Stanford beat USC? Vanderbilt ended an 11-game losing streak by beating Colorado State? Arkansas welcomed Texas to the SEC with a can of you know what? Sorry, Texas. Maybe we should have let you start out with something small like Vandy.
- I had it rolling on The Picks, but then Dr. Football did something stupid and bet on Tennessee. So, I ended up 3-3 against the spread and 10-7-1 for the year so at least I’m still making some money in this fantasy world I live in. Maybe worse is that I have lost two straight locks of the week on my podcast including the Coastal Carolina game Saturday where I lost by half-a-point. Once again, we’re seeing why I don’t actually bet. On to this week:
* It’s difficult to give Florida 15 points at the Swamp. But that’s the spread. I’ve said all along that I like Florida’s roster this season, but – like everybody – I love Alabama’s. I’m giving the points and taking the dynasty.
* Penn State is giving up seven points at home against Auburn. The Tigers are a tough team to figure because they have blown out two bad teams. I’m taking Penn State.
* South Carolina pulled off a nice win and 32 points seems like a lot to give in a game like this so I will take the Gamecocks plus 32 against Georgia.
* Miami rallied to beat Appy State and avoid 0-2. They play host to Michigan State and the Hurricanes are eight-point favorites. I’ll take the points.
* FSU is getting five points at Wake Forest, which is what happens when you are 0-2. I’ll still take the Semis.
* North Carolina is giving 10 points to Virginia. I watched a little of Virginia’s game Saturday. Virginia and the points.
- I nailed Jacob Copeland to be the predicted offensive player of the week. Hey, I was fixing a snack when Richardson made all those runs and threw all those passes, so I gave it to Copeland. This week, I am going with Emory Jones on offense (I can hear the eyebrows being raised) and Kaiir Elam on defense. Elam has allowed only two catches for 18 yards in the first two games on plays where he has been targeted.
- Ok, the NFL started, didn’t it? There were some mesmerizing games including the Kansas City win over Cleveland. But after a full Saturday of college football, it’s not that hard to walk away from those games and go play nine holes or do some grocery shopping (at the liquor store). That’s the difference, at least for me. I couldn’t take my eyes off the college games. The NFL still felt like the preseason. And somebody tell Urban Meyer that these games count, but he doesn’t have to look so intense all the time.
- This week’s playlist comes from my daughter Kelsey because we were watching football and I told her to give me three songs and just like that she came up with three really good ones:
* “Highway Tune” by Greta Van Fleet.
* ”You Don’t’ Have To Change” by Kool and the Gang.
* ”Pyramid Song” by Radiohead.