The Back Nine comes at you with the three sweetest words in the English language – It’s Game Week. Not for Florida, of course, but for some other teams. The point is that we have college football this weekend.
10. So, I guess the catchphrase this season for injured players is that they have “had a procedure.” Sounds kind of weird, but Billy Napier appears to be pretty honest about injuries without telling us what all of them are. He was very specific about Jack Miller and how long he expects to be out. And can you imagine a world where Florida is facing a drive to win the opening game and Kyle Engel, a former walk-on, has to take the snaps because of an Anthony Richardson injury? What a story that could be. Or not.
11. But even with a quarterback situation that is a bit of a mess right now, Napier can’t pull back on what Richardson will do in the offense. You are trying to win games and while I wouldn’t go heavy on the designed quarterback runs anyway just because you have one established guy, you can’t stop him from getting hit. The injury to Miller might not matter at all in the Utah and Kentucky games. Remember that. But it might matter a lot. It’s going to be an interesting September, that is for sure.
12. That Utah game is a sellout, but you can still get tickets. Which means it hasn’t been sold out. Whatever the semantics, that place is going to be on fire next Saturday night. If you are going to the game, let me remind you about a game in 2019 against Auburn. And how after the game and for weeks the Auburn coaches and players talked about the most incredible atmosphere they had played in and the influence it had on the game. That was the last time the No. 7 team in America came to the Swamp. It was still the most sustained noise ever in the stadium. That, my friends, is your assignment. Beat that day.
13. I was just glancing at some stats and realized Florida only played two ranked teams last year – No. 1 Alabama and No. 1 Georgia. Which makes that team in 2021 that much more aggravating. It might be my least favorite team in Florida history.
14. It was not unexpected that Keyontae Johnson ended up signing with Kansas State where it had been rumored for weeks he would end up. Florida was not going to let him play and several other teams came close but couldn’t pull the trigger (including Texas Tech). Even though he has been cleared, there is this fear that I think everyone has that it could happen again. That will make watching K-State the most difficult thing to do this year. You want to see Key playing again, but you will be doing so while biting down on your lip with the fear that there could be another episode. We wish him all of the best and pray for an incident free season.
15. The good news for Billy Horschel is that he is in the Tour Championship, one of the 30 players to qualify. That bad news is that he is already trailing by nine shots because of the crazy way they do the final event of the FedEx Cup. Scottie Scheffler is at 10-under before he sticks a tee into the ground while Horschel is at 1-under. It is what it is, but it is good to see Adam Scott get in just because I love to watch him play. This has a chance to be a great weekend with college football, NFL exhibition games and the Tour Championship. I need a fridge in my sports room.
16. Oh, I keep mentioning that there are college games, but I haven’t talked about them. So, I will give you my best bets right here, right now. There are only three games involving Power 5 teams that have spreads (no, Duquesne at FSU is without odds and an odd match-up to boot).
Give me Northwestern and the 13 points against Nebraska in Ireland. The Wildcats are an every other year team.
Give me Hawai’I giving 4.5 to Vandy. Just don’t trust the ‘Dores.
And give me Illinois minus 10 against Wyoming.
Let’s see how I do.
17. Of course, betting with fake money is fun and I don’t like to gamble with real money. My friend Heath Cline texted me from Vegas that the odds on Jack Miller winning the Heisman are 80-1. Can you bet against something happening? No offense to Miller, but he is an injured back-up quarterback.
18. Between a wonderful trip to the Panhandle and playing in Sara’s Birthday golf tournament, there was a lot of music coming at me over the past week. Here’s a playlist you will enjoy as a result:
* “Just a Little While” by the 502s.
* ”Dope Nose” by Green Day.
* And for an old one in honor of the late Olivia Newton-John, “Hopelessly Devoted To You”. I was never a big fan but loved the unique quality of her voice.