Pat Dooley’s Back Nine (Oct. 23)

The Back Nine comes at you after an incredible trip to Washington, D.C, where I learned all of the stuff I should have known after minoring in history at Florida.

10. We were there because my wife’s father was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery (he passed 22 months ago but it took a long time and the ceremony was spectacular). So many memories from the trip, but the funniest one was when we were getting a tour of the Capitol and suddenly there would be this rush of media chasing a member of Congress through the halls. And you had better get out of the way. Every time, I couldn’t help but say loudly, “All right, media boys.”

11. The worst thing that happened was when we got home, we had an issue with the cable box (it had expired) and I only had one TV for college football games. I don’t know how a lot of you do it. Anyway, a plug to Cox for getting someone to replace the box in time for the NFL games. I did fire up my laptop for some of America’s sport (college football) so I could watch two games at a time.

12. And I saw some weird things. I always say that any time you think you have seen it all, college football will offer something new. Like the illegal fair catch call on the Iowa punt return that snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. I don’t think either team deserved to win that game.

13. I’m still not sure FSU beats Duke if not for the Devils losing their quarterback as they were about to take a two-possession lead. But we will never know. I also think Clemson’s third loss is not because Zeppo Swinney refuses to use the transfer portal. I think it’s a recruiting issue. We don’t see the Tigers with defensive linemen who are dominant the way that we used to. Clemson quite simply just isn’t that good.

14. Did I get all the way here without mentioning Florida-Georgia? I wonder how Gator fans feel going into this one? The euphoria of the win over South Carolina has died down and we know what is around the corner. But, hey, crazier things have happened.

15. It hasn’t been good lately for Dr. Football on The Picks. Just sad, really. A 1-4 record brought me back to .500 for the season at 19-19-3. My dog, Archie, could do better. I’m thinking about asking him for help, but let’s give the human with a doctorate in college football one more chance:

  • Georgia is a 15.5-point favorite against Florida. I just think Georgia is another level of physical and when the Bulldogs are motivated, they are the best team in college football. I’ll take the Bulldogs and give the points.
  • GameDay is headed to Utah, which is hardly surprising considering the lack of options. The Utes are a four-point underdog to Oregon and after that win over USC makes me think they have a chance. But I’ll take the Ducks.
  • Tennessee is coming off a tough loss and a second-half shutout against Alabama. The Vols are three-point faves at Kentucky. It’s difficult to bet on Joe Milton, but I will bet fake money on him.
  • Miss. State is getting six-points at Auburn even though the Bulldogs won last week and Auburn did not. That’s home-field for you. I’ll take Auburn.
  • South Carolina is getting 13 at Texas A&M and the question everyone has is whether the Gamies will be able to turn it in like they did late last season? I think not. Take the Gig ’Ems.

16. You know, the more I watch games, the more I want to state the Captain Obvious – home field matters more in football than any other sport. It’s not enough to guarantee a win, but it matters even more than we think. Also, the sun sets in the West, Michigan cheats and I get older every day (birthday coming up).

17. A perfect example is in the baseball playoffs where the visiting team has won every game in the ALCS leaving us with an exciting Monday night that will decide who goes home and who fights on. The Phillies could clinch tonight as well. I have no skin in the fight, but I will watch.

18. Another obvious statement – I really needed my music for the flights to and from D.C. This was part of one exceptional playlist:

  • “Under Cover of Darkness” by The Strokes.

  • I have a track record and that is to find a song that wasn’t a hit by a great artist and I slowly fall in love with that song and start wondering if it’s in my top 10. With that said, “Waiting for Tonight” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with a little help from The Bangles.

  • And for a really old one, “Wild Blue Yonder” by Robert Crawford in honor of my late father-in-law Bob Meisenheimer.

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