The Back Nine comes at you after a lot of football this weekend and we all kind of felt a little guilty because we have power. Please help with the Floridians who are suffering right now.
10. I think after last year’s debacle against Samford, Florida fans were happy to see the mighty Gators handle an FCS team the way Florida did on Sunday. Eastern Washington doesn’t have one of its better teams (the Eagles went 10-3 last year), but you never know how young men will respond to a Sunday noon game against a team they didn’t know existed. Especially coming off a tough loss. That’s another good sign for Billy Napier, whose team went through a rough September against teams currently ranked 8th, 11th and 13th.
11. Now comes a bunch of games against teams that made last year’s season a miserable one, five straight in the SEC. Everybody probably is thinking the same thing, that almost all of these next five will come down to making big plays in the fourth quarter. It starts with a Missouri team that has split 10 games against Florida since joining the league and got Dan Mullen fired last season. Those Tigers just have a knack for playing Florida tough. What is amazing is that only two of those 10 games have been one-score games, the first one in 2012 and the last one.
12. But this is where we are with Napier’s first Florida team – there is a buy-in that was all talk before the season but is starting to materialize. I think Napier – after five games – now knows which players he can trust. These guys are still learning, but he knows which ones are willing to learn and which ones just want to play.
13. Just five weeks into the season, it feels like college football’s craziness (transfer portal, NIL, super seniors) is manifesting itself into a fire-the-coach mentality. Already there have been five Power 5 coaches fired and their buyouts have totaled $60 million. You know, if you are going to deposit all of that money into the coffers of an athletic department, they are going to spend it even if they have to fire a loyal employee who was a winner but was in the midst of a bad season. I’m looking at you Wisconsin.
14. Here’s how I would rank the five openings and I am available for everything but the job in Lincoln:
* Arizona State.
* Georgia Tech.
If ASU hires the right guy, that program has a chance to get back to prominence. Tech, not so much no matter who they hire.
15. Saturday was a day that showed you why college football is so great. Actually, the whole weekend with games Thursday through Sunday. I totally vegged out and watched and watched. And then watched and watched the NFL as well. I need to get a hobby, like painting or collecting baseball cards. Anyway, there were so many entertaining games and the great thing is that we get to go through it again this week., It’s going by fast as usual so stop to smell the tailgates.
16. Before I get to The Picks and The Playlist, a word about my Atlanta Braves. This weekend also felt like playoff baseball in that I refused to have the sound on and agonized over every pitch. Sweeping the Mets was something I didn’t see coming and it should (magic number is one) put Atlanta in position to have an easier path to the World Series. But it’s not like the Dodgers quit playing. It’s still going to be a white-knuckled October, but I cannot give these guys enough credit for coming back from 10.5 games back and clawing back in only to falter and then claw back and falter again and then finally to what they did at home. Proud of these guys no matter what happens.
17. Reason No. 234 why I don’t gamble – Saturday’s games. Dr. Football went 1-4 against the spread to pull the overall record to 13-12 for the season and with the juice I am at best breaking even. Now, for the comeback week:
* Florida opened as a 10-point favorite against Missouri on homecoming. Seems like a lot. I’ll pick Florida and take Mizzou and the points.
* Utah at UCLA should be a great game. Remember when Gator fans were saying they dodged a bullet in Chip Kelly? Now, he is ranked 18th in the country and is unbeaten. I watched that game Friday night and it was impressive. But I’ll take Utah and give the three points.
* GameDay is at Lawrence, Kansas, for the first time leaving seven schools in the Power 5 that have not hosted the pre-game show. If you guessed Vandy is one, you are wrong because I remember when they hosted in 2008. Instead, it is three ACC teams, three Big 10 teams and Cal. Anyway, I think the bubble bursts and TCU covers the five points they are giving.
* I’ll be interested to see how Kentucky handles that tough loss to Ole Miss, but the Kitties giving 10 points to South Carolina seems like way too much. I’ll take the Gamecocks.
* Tennessee had a bye week to get ready for a trip to Baton Rouge and I am conflicted as to which team to root for. I’ll take Tennessee because I don’t think LSU can score with the Vols.
18. So, on Sunday I was putting together a new playlist for the three people who actually listen to the songs I give you and I saw that the No. 1 song on the alternative music site was a song I gave you weeks ago. See, I know what I’m talking about. Kind of. Today’s playlist:
* ”Walking at a Downtown Place” by Parquet Courts.
* ”Hell on Earth” by Circa Waves.
* And for an old one, I was trying to come up with my favorite 10 groups of all time and this one is definitely on it — “These Eyes” by the Guess Who.