The Back Nine comes at you after a pretty, pretty nice weekend, especially for those of you who are Jaguar fans. Or fans of watching student-athletes excel on this campus.
10. This weekend was a perfect example of why you never throw away your laundry. That’s a reference to an old Seinfeld bit where he talks about us all rooting for the laundry. It’s accurate because that’s what you do, you wear clothes to support your team no matter who is playing. There were a lot of fans down in the dumps the way football went and basketball was going, but that’s when you need to support your school the most. If you want to dump the Gators, good luck. You can’t quit. You may think you’re done, but you are still interested. And then a weekend like this one gets you back. Of course, there are those of you out there who just like to complain.
11. The start of the weekend was spectacular. They were getting a lot of money outside the O-Dome for Florida vs. Auburn gymnastics not because it was a big meet as much as it was a chance to see Olympians up close and personal. And because you absolutely have to go watch this Florida team perform this year and you don’t need any real knowledge of the sport to know that what you are seeing is special. Florida winning easily wasn’t the big story. It was this — Florida has already recorded four 10s. You’re not supposed to be doing that in the first two meets of the season. Buckle up, because this is going to be one heck of a ride.
12. And less than 24 hours later, the Gator basketball team was on the same floor area celebrating a win over 20th-ranked Missouri. My point is that the beauty of sports is that you can be down one weekend and up the next. Don’t give up. It will come around in football, too. It just may take a while. (At least Ricky Pearsall is coming back).
13. I can’t really explain why this basketball team starts games as if there is valium in the Gatorade. But now, when they go down 11-0, we know they can come back. Colin Castleton is playing like a man possessed and the team seems to be finding its identity (and its tight rotations in personnel). The key is that Florida cannot win if Castleton doesn’t get help. He’s getting it now. Myreon Jones is finally playing like the player we thought he might be and Will Richard and Riley Kugel have become effective wings. Let’s see how they handle that A&M pressure this time around on Wednesday.
14. The truth is, I can’t figure out the SEC except to say this – there is one great team (Alabama) that has a real chance at the Final Four and a lot of really good teams that can beat anybody and lose to anybody. Kentucky would be right at the top of the latter list. How do you lose at home to South Carolina and then go on the road to beat Tennessee? How does South Carolina win at Rupp and lose its next game at home to Texas A&M by 41 POINTS!!!??? Every game is its own game. And Mike White is 3-1 in the league with the only loss coming to Florida. It’s going to be crazy. Also, there’s this – the UF team we gave up for dead is now back in the top 50 in NET Rankings (48TH).
15. My wonderful wife doesn’t watch a lot of NFL games. But she loves the playoffs, which is why she had a great weekend. All but one of the games came down to the finish and even that game (San Fran over Seattle) was competitive until the fourth quarter. There were certainly some goofs in all the games, many by the coaches. It’s not a club that is cornered by Florida coaches, this whole clock mismanagement, not getting the plays in quick enough, throwing two-yard passes with the game on the line Club.
16. Here’s something I am starting to notice around Gainesville. For years, the Jaguars were an afterthought in this community. It seems like the buzz for this year’s team is genuine. How much of that is the consecutive losing seasons for the Florida football team and how much is just that this Jacksonville team had tapped into something all over North Central Florida? You tell me.
17. I need to get The Picks in to try to salvage what has been a mediocre at best football season. So, here we go even though we are not sure who is playing in one of the games because of the Bucs-Cowboys tonight. Dr. Football is going with the Giants in an upset over Philly, Kansas City over Jacksonville, Buffalo over Cincinnati (the Bills may win it all) and Whoever Wins Tonifght over San Francisco as the Mr. Irrelevant Dream Season comes to an end.
18. One of the gifts I received for Christmas from my oldest daughter Jennifer was a Spinal Tap hotel key from their “Smell The Glove Tour. It’s on my keychain, and these songs are on my playlist:
* “Hurts To Love” by Beach House.
* ”Runner” by Alex G.
* And for an old one, “The Pretender” by Jackson Browne.