Pat Dooley’s Back Nine (Dec. 18)

The Back Nine comes at you with visions of sugar cookies dancing in my head, which means I’ve already started to gain some weight back. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. Or something like that.

 10. Wednesday is a big day for Billy Napier and the current Florida program. And I say it that way because the colors may stay the same, but every coaching staff and supporting personnel is different and runs the Florida program differently. But Wednesday needs to be a good day for Napier. He was brought in here to get players who the previous guy couldn’t get. He was not brought in here to be 11-14 in his first two seasons. Big day.

11. All of this transfer portal stuff seems to be happening too fast for my taste, but that’s the new college football. Players declare they are in the portal and commit the next day. You know something was going on. It’s almost like we are back in the 1980s when everyone was cheating and you knew some programs would get clopped, but most would get away with it. Once again, the college football fan is going to have to spend the summer studying who is with what team and which teams are in which conference. Too much homework.

12. I did want to address the whole Princely Umanamielen thing that got Jeff Cardozo so heated last week on our show The Tailgate. He was upset Florida’s leading sacker was leaving, but still wrote at the end of his farewell announcement that he was a Gator for Life. And now he’s going to Ole Miss, which plays Florida in the 2024 season. It ticks fans off, but remember all of these players now have advisers and agents and third cousins. The players have all the power now. It used to be the coaches. I’ll let it go. But it’s getting to be more difficult.

13. Since some of us live in a college town and care about all sports at this level, some of us get a little offended when national people ignore college basketball this time of year (and I’m sure Todd Golden is one of them). I know that most people don’t get interested until after the Super Bowl, but we are in it deep in December, especially when the Gators are bowl-less. Golden’s second team is fun to watch unless you want defense. Michigan, Tuesday, Charlotte. Need to get one last Power 5 non-conference win.

14. Because I watched Kentucky and North Carolina play Saturday and that was a different level of basketball. And, for some inane reason, Florida and Kentucky open SEC play against each other (Jan. 6). At first, I was thinking it would be a break to get the young Kitties early. I was wrong. They’re ready for primetime.

15. Chip Kelly, who was almost Florida’s coach, had some interesting things to say after the UCLA win in the LA Bowl. But it’s not like we haven’t heard them before. One conference of 64 teams with only the ones who can afford to try to level the playing field. A college football commissioner. Yeah, yeah. We all agree. But nobody has an answer for how it gets done. Do the haves secede from the NCAA? Do we get the government involved? That’s the thing – there are answers to all of the ills of college football and there are many, but everything has become so complicated it likely will be awhile.

16. Because I will be taking a couple of weeks off (and we will be away from The Tailgate as well). I wanted to get another version of The Picks on the record. Dr. Football won’t be doing any other Picks until the NFL playoffs:

  • So, we are going to do the two playoff games and three others involving some of the state teams which managed to qualify for bowl games. UCF is giving five points to Georgia Tech and I will take the Knights.
  • Georgia is a 14-point favorite over FSU and it’s a difficult pick, because a 13-0 team is getting two touchdowns and the extra points. But I will still take the Bulldoggies.
  • Miami is giving 4.5 to Rutgers and I checked the weather for the Pinstripe Bowl. It will be cold and wet. I’ll take Rutgers.
  • On to the big-boy games: Alabama is getting 1.5 against Michigan. I have a feeling about Michigan this year … mostly nausea. Michigan minus the points.
  • And Texas is giving four against Washington and I think the Horns are going to cream them.

17. No matter how you feel about or celebrate the holidays, I’ll miss you for the next two weeks. But I will be back and can’t wait to get hammering out these columns for WRUF! Enjoy your families and don’t divorce the Gators.

18. I could give you my favorite Christmas songs here, but I’ve already heard all of them 345,000 times this holiday season. So, just a normal playlist that you won’t listen to:

  • Modern Girl” by Bleachers.
  •  “Tom’s Diner” by DNA with Suzanne Vega.
  • And for an old one, I recently heard Colin Hay’s version of “Down Under” as a solo dude. The problem was that I heard it because I was watching the end of Crocodile Dundee III. Anyway, here’s a pretty cool version of the song.

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