Pat Dooley’s ‘Back 9’ October 25th

The Back Nine comes at you after a Saturday off and, boy, did I take advantage of it. If by taking advantage of it, you can accept doing almost nothing but watching football and one really lovely baseball game.

  1. After watching Mississippi throttle LSU on Saturday, I’m sure there were Gator fans everywhere who said, ‘That’s how you handle a team in disarray.” Perhaps the most telling stat is that LSU ran for 77 yards in the game and Tryion Davis-Price had 53. That was a few less than he had against Florida. Well, Ole Miss – a bastion of defense – was able to take away that counter trap. And the Rebs played from ahead most of the game forcing LSU to pass. No, no, get away from that ledge. I’m with you – the way Ole Miss handled LSU’s offense makes it that much more inexplicable what happened to the Gators in Baton Rouge. It’s, well, inexcusable even more so now than it was WHEN IT HAPPENED!
  2. Enough of that. It’s Georgia week. There will be fewer stands this year because they decided against the temporary seating and there are a lot of Gator fans who probably don’t want to sit through a bludgeoning. I remember in 1968 when Florida lost 51-0 and my dad, bless his heart, made me stay until the end because he wanted to see if the Gators scored. (They didn’t). That team might still have a better chance scoring on Georgia than this Florida team. Or maybe this is Anthony Richardson’s coming out party. One can dream, no?
  3. Because as good as Georgia’s defense has been so far this season, it’s not like the Bulldogs have been going up against the 1995 Nebraska offense every week. The average for the total offense ranking for the seven teams Georgia has faced in 2021 is 80th in the nation. Hey, I am grasping at straws here trying to give you reasons for optimism. Not working? Florida – at No. 9 – is the highest ranked offense Georgia has faced all season. Hey, I’m trying to help, trying to find a pathway to a Florida victory. There are just a lot of potholes and briar bushes on that path.
  4. Now I know it’s just coincidence that Florida is 2-6 in Power Five games since Robbie Andreu and I retired from the Sun. It’s not our fault. But I know where I can lay some of the blame. In those six losses, the Gators have allowed 40.7 points. I’m going on record to say that is unacceptable. Look, I know the Gator Nation is down on Dan Mullen and a lot of people will point to his loyalty as a reason for Florida’s demise. This season is salvageable, and changes will have to be made at some point. After Georgia, Florida’s schedule is soft so it should be reasonable to expect 8-4 and a winnable lower tier bowl game. But for Gator fans to get back on board, a lot of things have to be different going into next season. And you know what they are.
  5. Speaking of that South Carolina offense, this was pointed out on Twitter – the Gamecocks had two first downs and 15 yards of offense heading into the fourth quarter against Texas A&M Saturday night. The Aggies defense is good, but not that good. But an even more ridiculous stat was this – Wake Forest had only 17:17 in time of possession against Army and allowed 31 first downs … and still scored 70 points. I watched a good chunk of that game and still can’t figure out how that happened.
  6. One more thing about this weekend’s games. You have to give credit to Manny Diaz, whose team plays like its hair is on fire despite being under .500. You may see “Da U’s” act as boorish behavior at times, but at least they seem to care. Getting rid of him would be a huge mistake and Miami would just keep falling into the abyss. That’s what we are about to find out about this Florida football team. How much want-to is left?
  7. Yep, I’ll be lighting cigars with dollar bills after a 5-1 Saturday on The Picks against the spread to finally get over .500 at 27-25-2. I’m not sure I have even covered the vigorish, but on to this week:

* Georgia is a 14.5-point favorite over the mighty Gators and this is still a UF team that has not lost a game by more than seven points. I think this is the first one. Take Georgia, give the points and take a nap at 3:30 Saturday.

* Miami is getting 11.5 at Pitt and while I do have a lot of respect for what Pitt is doing, I’ve made it clear that Miami is really playing hard. And that’s a lot of points for a team that plays every game down to the wire. Take the ‘Canes and the points.

* FSU is getting 10 at Clemson which is a little bit of a surprise because of the way Clemson has struggled on defense. I’ll take the bad guys and the points.

* Kentucky is a one-point favorite at Miss. State in a clash of cultures offensively. It feels like Mike Leach is due for a stinker. Take Kentucky.

* Big game in East Lansing and it feels like one side is about to be devastated by a loss. Michigan is a 40point road favorite. Don’t let your kids watch. This will be a nasty, physical game and they won’t want to play football anymore. Michigan gives the points.

* North Carolina, which may have the best player in the country who won’t win the Heisman in Sam Howell, is getting 3.5 at Notre Dame. Take the Irish.

  1. I must admit to getting a little emotional when the Braves won Saturday (also, when I watched the replay Sunday) and thought about how many times in the 1990s you just expected to get to the World Series. All I know for sure is that if my wife walked in with a dog today, I would name him Tyler (after Tyler Matzek) or maybe Eddie after Rosario but there was a famous TV dog with that name. Anyway, the Braves are certainly a team made from spare parts so enough with the whining about all of the players injured or tired (poor babies) for the Dodgers. To be honest, it seems to mostly be the national people trying to rain on the Braves’ parade.
  2. My playlists don’t seem to get any more traction than they did when I wrote them for the newspaper. But it’s not like I am going to stop giving you songs that you probably should listen to:

* “Hey Julie” by Fountains of Wayne.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtKhFaW2Z1E

* ”Sooner Or Later” by Michael Tolcher.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcryNZMj5SQ

* And for an old one, “Everything I Own” by Bread. I know, this is a soft playlist. It’s the mood I am in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Q1kB0R4Ijs

 

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