Pat Dooley’s Back Nine (August 28th)

The Back Nine comes at you still struggling with this Covid (still testing positive) and trying to figure out what is going to happen Thursday night.

 10. Last Thursday, I mentioned to my wife that Florida would be playing its opener in a week and she said it made her stomach nervous realizing that. Yeah, well, join the club. Remember the good old days when Bowling Green or UMass would wander into The Swamp, take a beating and on we would go? That will be as interesting as anything, how the Gators have prepared for such a big game as facing No. 14 on the road. And perhaps we can leave all of that “Florida never travels for an opener” stuff at the curb. In the last seven years, Florida has opened with Michigan, Miami, Ole Miss and Utah (twice)

11. I have no real feeling for how this game Thursday is going to go. I agree with the people who think Florida will be better than most so-called experts believe, but I can also see some bad scenarios. I think the biggest thing is that fans should not overreact to anything that happens. If Florida loses to a top-15 team that hasn’t lost at home since the Covid season, it’s not the end of the world. If Florida wins, it’s a nice way to start the season, but it’s still just one game. A non-conference one to boot.

12. Just like we don’t want to go overboard by the way the soccer and volleyball teams performed this weekend. Soccer is now 3-0-1, unbeaten after four matches for the first time since 2017. Volleyball beat No. 8 Penn State (HUGE!) and is off to a 2-0 start with an impressive 6-foot-6 freshman in Kennedy Martin. She only had 45 kills in her first two matches. Could be a fun fall.

13. As great as it was to watch college football Saturday, I am so ready for the NFL as well after watching all of these practice games. I guess I could wait until next week to do my predictions for the playoffs, but let’s get it out of the way:

  • AFC: Chiefs, Bengals, Jets, Titans. Wild cards – Steelers, Jags and Bills.
  • NFC: Niners, Vikings, Saints, Eagles. Wild cards – Cowboys, Seahawks, Giants.

OK, now go bet the opposite.

14. This from Tampa Bay’s Brandon Lowe after things got a little chippy in the series against the Yankees — “It’s a last-place team against a team that’s in contention. … Not worth our time at this moment. We’re focused on bigger things right now.” As someone who roots against the Yankees, I am enjoying this. But if you are a Yankees fan, you have to be embarrassed about what is going on.

Tampa Bay Rays’ Brandon Lowe had something to say about the Yankees. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

15. The first week of The Picks went OK, but my lock bet of the week did not pan out because Vanderbilt didn’t cover. I blame it on the 90-minute weather delay. Still, Dr. Football started the year by going 2-1, which means I won money. Maybe I should stop now. Instead:

  • Florida is a 7-point underdog at Utah on Thursday night and there is something about the confidence level of this UF team that is encouraging. But the Utes just have too much experience for this young Gators team, so I am taking Utah.
  • North Carolina is giving 2.5 points to South Carolina and the Gamecocks are one of the biggest mysteries heading into this season. I’ll take the Gamecocks because I can’t get last year’s North Carolina defense out of my head.
  • LSU is giving 2.5 to FSU in Orlando and the ramifications of this game are pretty overwhelming. I’ll take the Tigers while trying to figure out who to root for.
  • Miami is getting 17.5 points against Miami. That’s Florida vs. Ohio and it didn’t help that RedHawks quarterback Brett Gabbert said his team would show who the real Miami is. Do that, my man, and I will buy a Miami of Ohio T-shirt. But I’m taking the Canes.

16. And I know what you are thinking, there goes Dooley again, picking against the Gators. No offense, but that has been a winning formula. But that’s not why I picked Utah. The Utes have a better team than Florida and are at home. It’s pretty simple. But college football is unscripted so let’s see what happens.

17. Certainly stunning to see former UF star Alejandro Tosti was booted from a Korn Ferry tournament for what the Tour called a “disciplinary matter.” He has already qualified for the big Tour next year. Before you get carried away about there being something nefarious, Tosti was suspended earlier for taking an illegal shuttle ride during a tournament.

18. Let’s get to the playlist before we run out of room:

  • “Good Time” by Grace Potter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcN0ON3Qg8A

  • You know how on those Music Choice channels they have little tidbits of info? I saw that this group got its name from its financial situation at the time. So, let’s go to one of my faves, “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits.

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

  • And for an even older one, “Rocket Man” by Elton John.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6hNVizTDWA

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