Pat Dooley’s Back Nine (January 9th)

The Back Nine is back after a break for the holidays and coming at you with much vigor. Is that a word anyone uses anymore?

 

10. I also made a return to Exactech Arena for the first time this basketball season in part because it was an early game and in part because I wanted to say hello to Mike White. We talked before and after the game. Still a good guy. The divorce from UF has been final for a while now. In fact, I played golf last week with someone who was wearing one of his old Gator shirts from the fire sale the family had when he left. There was also this – I missed hearing a live crowd when things get wild, and crazy. TV does it no justice. That place was Rowdy Saturday.

11. But when it was 23-10 Georgia, I was talking to a friend about how the biggest reason I was there was to see it with my own eyes just what was wrong with this team. The body language was horrible to start the game (late-arriving crowd, too) and it was the feeling of a team that just didn’t seem to be into the game. Then, it went great. Then, it went bad again and then it went really special. I had to remind myself that most basketball games come down to runs. You just have to find a way to win by 1.

12. Meanwhile, when I came out of the arena, the volume from the recruiting video being shown to potential transfers and high school players was really loud. We’ll see where that goes. I think Gator fans are waiting for some blockbuster good news. But recruiting is a slow drip. At the end of the day, it’s what is in the bottom of the pail that matters. Gator fans are being asked to be patient and they are trying. But you have to win some games to keep the fanbase engaged in a positive way. That Vandy loss, man, it is still the overwhelming result of the 2022 season.

13. Which brings us to the national title game tonight. By the way, I went 2-3 in the bowl picks before the break. But I did smoke Drew Copeland in our bowl picks for Another Dooley Noted Podcast for the second straight year. Instead of making him lunch for me, I may demand a guitar lesson. Or not. Anyway, I will take Georgia and give the 12.5 points. But should TCU win, a t-shirt will be ordered immediately following the game.

14. And that will leave us to try to figure out the legacy of Stetson Bennett. I had him on my Heisman ballot and he went to New York. But I still don’t think people outside of the Bulldog Nation give him enough credit. I’ve had dudes tell me that they could go undefeated with the talent Georgia has. This is the one thing I can never understand – why can we not appreciate a guy for being a great college quarterback who has no chance at the next level? They are different games.

15. This was one of the things we talked about on The Tailgate this week. Players can get into Rings of Honor because of what they do in the NFL instead of what they do at the school that is honoring them. This came up because Fred Taylor didn’t make the finalists for the NFL Hall of Fame. If he was elected to go to Canton, he’d be eligible (Urban Meyer being the only person who is right now). But did Taylor have a Ring-worthy career at Florida? I would say no. That may make people angry, but how could you put in a guy who is fifth all-time in rushing when No. 1 (Errict Rhett), No. 3 (Neal Anderson and No. 4 (Earnest Graham) can’t get in? The criteria needs to be changed and I thought Scott Stricklin promised a new, fresh look at it.

16. So, now the NFL playoffs are set with all three teams making it from the state of Florida. That’s the first time that has happened since 1999 and only the third time ever. Nobody is at fault because each franchise has had its down seasons and poor selections at head coach. But watching games on the Red Zone Sunday was exhausting. Even the announcers screwed up some of the playoff scenarios. I wonder if a team under .500 could ever make the 12-team college playoff when it starts in 2024. Naw, it’s still the six highest ranked conference champs, which is one reason everybody will eventually do away with divisions to make sure the conference winner IN the top six.

17. I simply cannot imagine what it was like to be a Seattle fan rooting for the Lions Sunday night and watching a team playing for next year find a way to win at Lambeau. Or to be a Bills fan and watch the opening kickoff return for a touchdown after the most emotional week in franchise history. Or to be a Jacksonville fan and see your team get into the playoffs on a fumble return. This weekend was awesome for those three fan bases.

 

18. During the break from writing this, I heard a lot of great songs and also heard some great songs that I had forgotten about. One of them was “I’m Not Lisa” by Jessi Colter which was a big hit on AM Radio back in the day. However, it does not make the cut. These do:

* ”Fallen Snow” by First Aid Kit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFI9BTQR1s4

* ”Between The Bars” by Elliott Smith.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5g-91mwiNs

* And for kind of an oldie (1978), “Driver’s Seat” by Sniff ‘n’ the Tears, the ultimate one-hit wonders. Or Oneders. (“That Thing You Do!” Reference).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SCzVEUlqqA

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