Florida coach Billy Napier speaks at the 2023 SEC Football Kickoff Media Days at the Nashville Grand Hyatt on Broadway. [Denny Simmons / The Tennessean-USA TODAY NETWORK]

Pat Dooley’s Back Nine: SEC Media Days A Week Away

The Back Nine comes at you while dealing with COVID during the worst weekend for sports ever. Free Pat Dooley!

10. You know what snuck up on me? SEC Media Days. Maybe it’s because I don’t have to go anymore (I thought about just going because it’s not difficult to get a media credential and I miss a lot of the people there, but then I realized it would be on my own dime). It starts a week from today at the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas. Just don’t say it’s the unofficial start of college football season, because college football is a year-round sport. I know a day doesn’t go by without me thinking about it.

11. So, here is the question I have for you – where do you think the Media Boys and Girls place the mighty Gators in their preseason poll? I think you have to work from the bottom and (objectively) decide which teams won’t be better than Florida this season. By that logic (logic?), I would pick Florida eighth. Don’t forget there are no more divisions. That said, preseason polls are just for fun and are really – for the most part – uneducated. I mean, who really cares what anybody thinks about which teams should be Nos. 12-through-16?

12. I still am not a fan of the no-divisions idea. I know the plan is to get the two best teams playing for the SEC title, but division races were way more fun than looking at the standings and seeing your 1-1 conference record has you tied for ninth. But that decision was like pretty much everything we are dealing with concerning college football right now. It’s about money, ESPN and how the NCAA has proven that college football is idiot-proof.

13. No, it was not a great weekend to be stuck at home. I watched all six episodes of the newly released season of “The Boys” and it helped. Not for the easily offended, just to warn you. I watched a lot more of Wimbledon than I have since I was married to a tennis player. Well done, Ben Shelton. To make the fourth round of that tournament 30 years after his dad did the same thing was a special moment. His interview after when he said into the mic while looking at Bryan, the former UF coach, and saying, “We’re back, Big Dog!” was the coolest thing I saw.

14. The least cool thing I saw was Coco Gauff losing and constantly pleading with the coaches in her box for advice. I remember when Steffi Graf’s dad was kicked out at Amelia Island for coaching from the stands, but because everyone is so needy these days they now allow coaching. It was kind of embarrassing.

15. As great a job as Kevin O’Sullivan has done at Florida – especially when it comes to putting young men into the big leagues – Florida only has one dude in the All-Star Game. Pete Alonso was the pick despite his 80 strikeouts so far this year and the Polar Bear will also be in the Home Run Derby, which is almost enough reason to watch it. I’ll probably just put the TV on the SEC Network next week and just leave it there.

16. This is how bored I was this weekend – I watched “The Beverly Hillbillies in London” (it was actually pretty funny for a shark-jumper). I also watched a little golf, but Davis Thompson and the field as a whole made it kind of boring. This is an amazing stat – Thompson is the 12thplayer coached by Chris Haack, the legendary Georgia coach, to win on the Tour.

17. One more football thing and I think it shows how much I am looking forward to the season to begin. Florida opened as a six-point underdog to Miami. At home. It’s down to 2.5. That’s still an insult to The Swamp.

18. One of my greatest achievements of the year is that I found a way to get an EBay-purchased charger that worked on my old iPod and brought about 500 songs back to life. None of these were on it, but they are my new playlist:

WRUF.com sports columnist Pat Dooley can be heard on “The Tailgate” along with Jeff Cardozo from 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday on 98.1-FM/AM-850 WRUF.

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