The Back Nine comes at you after a weekend with a lot of college basketball and NFL. Hug your parents and comedian friends today.
10. Another week, another big commitment and more quality coaches coming to town. Getting Trevor Etienne was another step in the process for Billy Napier and it doesn’t mean Etienne is going to be his brother or the next Emmitt Smith. But he is a four-star player and you beat LSU and Clemson for him, so that has to count for something, right? The hiring of Mike Person made me so happy and the long-rumored addition of line coach Rob Sale is a huge get. Everything Napier is doing seems to be working and Gator fans are getting giddy. But he hasn’t won a game at Florida yet and there is a long way to go to build this roster to where it is elite. It’s certainly not there now. But it’s headed in the right direction.
11. And Napier got parking for the players! Wow, who knew that the reason Florida has lost 10 of its last 16 games was because the players had to pay parking fines when they parked illegally? Poor babies. Two things: why didn’t anybody do this earlier (opening up the north end zone parking areas for the players? And how is this going to help Florida beat Utah in the opening game of the season?
12. Well, it’s not. But what Napier is trying to do is make Florida a more attractive landing spot for big-time recruits and the attention to detail is something he certainly learned from Nick Saban, the King of Detail. Look, this was a soft team last year and he’s going to get that out of them. It’s almost like he’s going to have to recruit these players for a third time. Because it’s going to get hard.
13. I thought it was interesting that Mike White that sometimes his team plays too hard and that turnovers can be the result. This is not a team that can be accused of dogging it, but it’s just run unto teams that are better than Florida and the slim margin for error is too often breached. I said this to several people this weekend – there are four teams who I think can win it all this year from the SEC. I mean, seriously win the whole shebang. Florida is not one of them. And if the Gators don’t make the tournament (it’s early, but right now it looks shaky at best), there is no question the heat will be turned up on White.
14. Dr. Football missed the one game that was picked last week to bring the record to 56-44-3 against the spread. The Picks has a lot of game to choose from this week, starting with the big one:
* I’m taking Georgia and giving the 2.5 points and here is why – this isn’t about the 41-year drought with this Bulldogs team. It’s about beating Alabama. And the truth is Georgia has a better team. The only reason to like Alabama in this game is because of Nick Saban and I’ll be interested to see what he throws at Georgia, but Alabama injury issues will be the difference. Those and Georgia’s revenge incentive. I predict Nakobe Dean will be the MVP of the game.
15. And I also have some NFL playoff games to pick after a wild final Sunday in the NFL where the Jags knocked Indianapolis out of the playoffs and still kept the No. 1 pick.
* Philly is getting nine points at Tampa Bay and that is. Lot. But not enough. Take the Bucs and give the points.
* New England did not finish the way it wanted to and now has to go to Buffalo as a 4.5-point underdog. I’ll take the points.
* Vegas is getting 6.5 against Cincinnati and that is not enough. Take the Bengals.
* San Francisco doesn’t have the firepower to beat Dallas (how many times will we see “The Catch” and a young Chris Berman on the field this week?) I’ll give the three points and take the Cowboys.
* Pittsburgh is getting 12.5 at Kansas City and that seems like too many points for a team that is probably feeling like a team of destiny. Take them.
* The Rams are giving 4.5 to Arizona. Give the points. Go Rams.
16. It only took one meet – a rare quad meet – for Florida’s gymnastics team to show off why it was ranked the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. With Trinity Thomas healthy and this infusion of talent (including Friday’s all-around winner freshman Sloane Blakely), there is not much doubt that this team has a chance to keep building right to the national title.
17. Special tip of the visor to the women’s basketball team, which is playing at a different level this year with interim coach Kelly Rae Finley and just beat No. 25 Texas A&M on the road in double overtime. Even with last year’s leading scorer done for the year, the team has had a different look this year and with Zippy Broughton back (28 points in College Station), the women ate 11-5 on the year and might make some noise.
18. We did some driving this weekend and I delivered a lot of Bee Gees to my wife because I again watched that awesome documentary again. So, the boys will start this Playlist:
* ”Run To Me” by The Bee Gees.
* ”Reminds Me Of You” by Van Morrison.
* The Bacon Brothers version of “If I Needed Someone”, which is an underrated George Harrisong.
* The Best of Everything” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.