The Back Nine comes at you after a week of watching boring coaches and listening to a lot of people say a lot of nothing at SEC Media Days. The best part was I watched it all from my recliner and could turn the channel.
10. As usual, very little came from the podiums at SEC Media Days. Instead, there was news breaking in the hallways where members of the media were checking out their phones. The NCAA announced plans to allow players to be able to transfer as many times as they want without having to sit out at all. Now, Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports makes it clear that you still have to be able to qualify academically and that could be difficult with multiple moves. But I think that when these entitled high school football players make these grandiose announcements and pick a hat, they should say, “I’ve decided to start my career at the University of Blah-Blah.” Because that is really all they are doing. Remember two things – we’re all just cheering for laundry and Serenity Now!
11. I know, I know. I am sounding like the old man who liked it better in his day when you played with a broken leg and you ate cold pizza and walked a mile to practice and we liked it. But now the players (at least in the Big 10) are making demands for a cut of the media rights. There is even talk about a strike. College football will survive all of this even though it could turn into a pro sport that doesn’t require class attendance. It would be nice if there was some leadership, maybe an organization that could settle this the right way instead of the Five Families looking out for themselves. Sigh.
12. Alright, let’s just ignore all of this and hope it gets settled. We are nearing the official start of football season which I have declared to be August 1, because there are football games in August so when we get to that month, we can start smelling football in the air. I wrote a thing for GatorsWire about why Florida is going to be better than people think. I’m starting to believe that. But the SEC is so weird this year. I am sticking to my belief that we know about three teams – Alabama, Georgia and Vanderbilt. The rest I have no idea what kind of teams they will be.
13. Just look at the Media Poll that came out Friday. Never in the history of the league have we seen Florida, LSU and Auburn picked fourth, fifth and seventh in their respective divisions. We’ve seen the Gators picked fifth in Jim McElwain’s first year and LSU picked fifth, but for all three powers to be picked that low is a testimony to where they are at. If Bryan Harsin finishes seventh, I don’t think he will survive another coup.
14. Man, reading the allegations against Tennessee and Jeremy Pruitt makes one wonder how you handle if you are (what’s left of) the NCAA. This was next level cheating before cheating was legalized. It was like they were even trying to check to make sure what they were doing was right or wrong. Just blatant and sloppy cheating. So, do you punish the school that got rid of Pruitt? I mean, they did hire him and it happened on the Knoxville campus. It’s always a dilemma and often a distraction.
15. Now that the move has started with palm trees being planted and weight equipment on the move to the new building that used to be the baseball stadium and now that Florida has its play-by-play man in place, it feels like Scott Stricklin can finally breathe because everything is in place. But there is still a lot to do including trying to make the Swamp a more comfortable place to go to a game. That is the main priority now and I would start with the way people get into the game, which has become a bottleneck. And this may sound crazy, but I would build another parking garage in the O-Dome parking lot. There you go, Scott.
16. By the way, the first college football game is Austin Peay at Western Kentucky August 27 at noon on CBS Sports Network. I have this thing about always watching the opening kickoff of the season wherever I am. Even that one.
17. Yes, football has dominated this Back Nine because it is that kind of season. We’re not there yet, but when I got in my car and the temperature said 109 degrees, I kept thinking about Utah and then I started thinking about whether I will go or not and then my daughter gave me a lecture about going and then she found out student tickets were sold out and then I realized Ohio State and Notre Dame are playing at the same time and now I don’t know what I’m going to do.
18. And while you are listening to the latest playlist, know that we are inside five weeks until college football starts and inside six weeks until we start finding out about this Gator team. So, I’m saying you are running out of time to get that summer reading and vacations finished.
* ”There Goes Angela” by Tom Petty.
* ”In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” By Neutral Milk Hotel.
* ”A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” By The Monkees. I’ve been in a Monkees mood lately.