Thoughts of the day: March 3, 2014

A few thoughts to jump start your Monday morning.


Sporting News and Athlon predicted Kentucky to win the national championship. Lindy’s predicted Michigan State with Kentucky #2. Now, Kentucky could win the national championship but with five losses in the SEC and eight overall, it seems it will take a miracle of changing water into wine proportions to pull it off. Lindy’s had Florida at #7 while Athlon had the Gators #8. Sporting News picked the Gators #12.  With one week remaining in the regular season, Florida is ranked #1 nationally while Kentucky has a chance to drop out of the top 25 when the rankings come out around noon. If the Gators close out the regular season with wins over South Carolina and Kentucky this week, they will probably earn the overall #1 seed for the NCAA Tournament.


Just to show how far off some of these “experts” were in their preseason predictions, Lindy’s had Florida freshmen Kasey Hill and Chris Walker making second team All-SEC. Lindy’s did have Patric Young on the first team. Sporting News listed Patric among the 10 best players in the league. Athlon had Patric and Scottie Wilbekin on the second team and Dorian Finney-Smith on the third team. Athlon did predict Scottie was the defensive player of the year. Kentucky freshman Julius Randle was acclaimed by all the experts as the preseason player of the year. Lindy’s was so enamored with Kentucky that it put Randle, Willie Cauley-Stein and Andrew Harrison on its first team Alex Poythress on the second team and Aaron Harrison on the third team. Athlon had Randle, Cauley- Stein and Andrew Harrison on their first team with Aaron Harrison and Poythress on the third team. Randle, Andrew Harrison and Poythress made the preseason top 10 players from Sporting News. Sporting News rated John Calipari as the best coach with Billy Donovan at #2.


Based on the things I’m hearing now from a number of people who actively cover SEC basketball, Scottie Wilbekin is favored to bring home SEC Player of the Year. Defensive Player of the Year seems to be a toss-up between Scottie and Patric Young, but my guess is that Scottie brings it home. Finney-Smith seems to be the favorite to be selected Sixth Man of the Year. Billy Donovan should win Coach of the Year but there will be some support for Mark Fox, who has done a fine job with Georgia. I believe that Wilbekin and Young on the first team with Casey Prather picked for the second team and Michael Frazier for the third team. From Kentucky, Randle will probably make the first team but it’s highly doubtful any of the others will be named to the first three teams.


“We’re chasing perfection. We’re chasing greatness. We’re chasing things that have never been done in the history of our game.”

a. John Wooden

b. Dean Smith

c. Billy Donovan

d. John Calipari



Nick Saban says he really didn’t have anything to do with the proposed “Saban Rule” that would prevent offenses from snapping the ball until 10 seconds had clipped off the play clock. At, Saban said Friday, “I really don’t necessary having an opinion on the 10-second rule.” Oh really? While arguing that there is not supposed to be continuous play in football and that more plays mean more chances for players to get hurt, Saban said, “I don’t know that there’s any particular scientific evidence that you could say, more guys get hurt in this offense versus that one, or hurry-up, or whatever.” Sure sounded like he has an opinion to me.


Saban also says that college football is the only game that is longer than the pro game in any sport. And his point is? Maybe that’s why fans like it so much. Saban also says, “I’m all for what’s best for the game.” Seems to me that what’s best for the game isn’t to make it a carbon copy of the pro game. I can’t stand the NFL but I can watch college football for hours. Saban says that the 20-play per game difference between Alabama’s offense and an up tempo offense like Texas Tech is the equivalent of four extra games. Saban said, “I think when players get tired they’re more susceptible to get injured if you can’t substitute players when they’re tired — or if they’re injured and you can’t get them out of the game.” Do you believe that’s his only concern?


Georgia coach Mark Richt has his own opinion about the proposed rule change and he doesn’t believe that the safety issue is necessarily valid. Speaking to Friday, Richt said, “I think this is more of a style of play issue than a player safety (issue). I think if you could teach offensive players to play six plays in a row, you can teach defensive players to play six plays in a row.” Exactly.


Florida’s #1-ranked softball team improved to 21-0 with a pair of Sunday shutouts at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic at the Disney Wide World of Sports. Florida hammered Maryland, 16-0, then blanked Radford, 7-0. Hannah Rogers and Alyssa Bache combined for a one-hitter in game one with Rogers getting the win. Bailey Castro drove in three runs and hit a homer. Against Radford, freshman Delanie Gourley went the distance to pitch a one-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts. Bailey Castro supported her with her second homer of the day. The Gators play host to Boston College Tuesday … Florida’s baseball team dropped a 5-1 decision to Illinois to fall to 6-6 on the season … Florida’s #5 women’s tennis team blanked Missouri, 7-0 … Florida’s women’s basketball team dropped its final regular season game of the season, 83-72, to Texas A&M. The Gators earned the #5 seed in the SEC Tournament … The men’s golf team sits in 12th place, 16 shots off the pace at the USF Invitational.


Jerry Jeff Walker was once asked how he could write such sensitive songs and then write such trashy songs. His answer, “Sometime I feel real sensitive and other times I feel kinda trashy.” This is one of his real sensitive songs – “Some Phone Numbers.” If you’ve never seen Jerry Jeff Walker in person, you’ve missed a night with everything from beautiful songs to songs you’ll be singing for the next few days because you can’t get them out of your head.

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.


  1. Franz, after doing some figuring, contemplating, and subjective judging, I’ve figured out that you are as good as I’ve read over my 58 years. Thanks for all the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice you’ve committed to and I benefit from each time I read your articles!!!