The Back Nine comes at you halfway through another college football season. Man, where did it go? Again? I’m going to savor the rest of it.
10. So, we have been telling you most weeks what you will be able to learn about your football team. I don’t think that we learned anything this weekend except that Florida is somewhere below Georgia and above Colorado State. Don’t bore me with comparative scores about the margins of victory over the Commodores by the Gators and Bulldogs. Every game is its own game. That’s commandment No. 2. Just worry about this weekend and LSU, another team that is heading in the wrong direction. This is a crazy football season. Just try to enjoy it. Every freaking game is on TV! It’s beautiful.
11. I’m curious whether or not the Anthony Richardson bandwagon is as full as it was a few weeks ago. Saturday night he ran five times for 11 yards and was 4-for-6 for 25 yards with a pick. Vandy may be bad, but the Commodores ain’t USF. Just chalk it up as another chance to get some experience. I know that there is a segment of fans who believe what Mike Bianchi wrote, that not playing Richardson might back him jump into the transfer portal. We have known all season that both of these guys will not be back. If Emory leaves, Richardson will stay, and I would bet Jones leaves for the NFL despite a propensity for interceptions.
12. I spent much of last week talking Gator fans off the ledge except not all of them were willing to come down. It was especially interesting that the calls to our Tailgate show were more angry the deeper we went into the week. By Thursday, I thought they were ready to burn down the building. Again, we knew this team had flaws heading into the season. And this week, no matter what you think, this is a rivalry game. I have said before that LSU right now at this point in time is Florida’s second biggest rival behind Georgia. It has something to do with a hurricane. That and the fact that Tennessee and FSU have been rancid of late.
13. The Alabama loss may be an indication that Saban’s team truly did take a step back this season. Finally, after losing all of those players and coaches. The uncomfortable truth in Tuscaloosa is that Saban got outcoached. See, Gator fans, it happens. So, does this mean Georgia can cruise to the first seed in the College Football Playoffs? The Bulldogs picked a good year to dominate because there doesn’t seem to be a challenger.
14. You may argue that Iowa could be it, but it almost feels like a football team that keeps running on a loose change. By this I mean, they always seem to have just enough gas by foraging for change between the seats, but it feels like the body blow is coming and it will be ugly to watch. Or maybe that’s just me.
15. Just when I thought I had climbed out of a hole, college football has one of those weekends where casual fans had a blast but real bettors are freaking out (imagine if San Francisco wins the World Series at 100-1 in the preseason). If I was actually placing bets on this week’s games I am pretend betting, there would be two guys with sideways noses knocking on my door. Last week was 2-4 because I wouldn’t take Florida giving all those points, among other mistakes.
So that is 19-21-2 for the season and I will get right this week. I promise. But don’t gamble on any of my choices.
* Florida opened as a 3.5-point favorite and it shot up to 10.5 by Monday morning. Hmm. Tiger Stadium can be a tough place to play, but I know that these fans are going to see a coach who is 8-8 in his last 16 games and it’s at 11 a.m. Baton Rouge time which is when some of them are just getting home. Dan Wolken of USA Today wrote this about the odd coach named Ed Orgeron — “The only fluke here is that Orgeron will go down as a national championship-winning coach despite showing so many times throughout his career that his temperament, his penchant to meddle in areas where he has no expertise and his hot-and-cold relationship with a bevy of assistant coaches are ill-suited to success at this level.” What he said. This is exactly the kind of game where LSU usually bounces back and the Tigers do have Florida’s number of late winning 8-of-11. (I just threw up in my mouth a little). This should be a desperate Florida team but can’t points like that in a rivalry game.
* Once again, no respect for Kentucky. The Wildcats are 6-0 and are 24.5-point underdogs to the Overdogs. That’s my new nickname for Georgia because it feels like all of the teams in college football are just getting run over by the Overdogs. That’s a lot of points, but I’m willing to give them in Athens.
* Another game in the SEC, another big spread. Alabama is favored by 21 at Mississippi State and Nick Saban didn’t sound like this team is getting “the process” So, I will take those points and run and hide somewhere in Brooker.
* Auburn is a 3-point favorite at Arkansas, which has been through the emotional gamut this season. In the last two weeks, these teams have been run over by the Overdogs. Maybe they can compare scars at halftime. Take the Razorbacks as a home dog.
* Texas A&M is getting nine points at Missouri, which has been a bit of a disappointment this season at 3-3 and without a quality win. The Aggies will have an Alabama hangover so take the points.
* What has gotten into Tennessee? Ever since being shut down for all but two plays by the gators, the Vols have been on a scoring frenzy scoring 107 points in a pair of SEC wins. Now they are getting three points at home against Ole Miss. This could be another Lane Kiffin shoutout, so take Ole Miss.
16. There is nothing like playoff baseball. That Red Sox-Rays game Sunday night was amazing. You could smell the intensity. Awesome. Now leave me alone, the Braves are on.
17. Hey where did basketball come from? Next thing I know they are flashing scores of “friendlies” up on the crawl. OK, we’ll make room in one of the tubes, but know this is football season and kind of baseball season, too. I was going to wait for another week or so to try to learn which players are now on which teams, but I guess that will happen organically.
18. Feeling a little nostalgic for today’s playlist. Remember when we used to listen to CDs?
*”Mystery Achievement” by The Pretenders.
*”Only A Memory” by The Smithereens.
*”Tweeter and the Monkey Man” by the Traveling Wilburys.