Tom Brady has unretired. Now on with the column:
Sometimes you can feel it. You know the crowd around you whispers about you but doesn't talk to you. You know the narrative begins to spin in a direction you cannot control. Florida basketball coach Mike White heard it. He knew it. And he had known for a while he wasn't going to be able to control it. Instead of coming back for an uncomfortable season next year, Mike White decided to control his future and not put it in the hands of athletic director Scott Stricklin and certainly not the media and fans.
Moments before the NCAA bracket was revealed on Sunday, news broke that White was accepting the vacant job at Georgia. Tom Crean was fired on Friday after four dismal seasons. The rumor started cranking out names for the Bulldogs job and White's name was not among them. No one had this move.
White exits Florida with four NCAA appearances in seven seasons but many felt the program underachieved this season where White went heavy in the transfer portal but finished 19-13 and a flat 9-9 in the SEC. White's team made the NCAA's in four of his seven seasons and reached the Elite Eight in his second season. But Billy Donovan made it tough for whoever was going to replace him. Gator fans felt the measuring mark for a successful season was playing the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament- at least.
That expectation might be unfair, but White heard the noise and grumbling the last two seasons. He knew next season would be filled with the same expectation and a fan base out of patience and not interested in excuses. So he bounces on his terms.
At Georgia, he gets a new contract and a new honeymoon period with a team that went 6-26 this season.
I'm not sure White's hiring in Athens makes Bulldog fans feel like they landed one of the top coaches in the game but that's for that fan base to deal with. Now, Scott Stricklin has a second big hire in the last four months. He went the route of taking a G5 coach in Billy Napier from Louisiana, but with Alabama/Nick Saban connections. Can Stricklin take a similar approach and seek a top mid-major coach? Would Colorado State's Nico Medved- a top mid-major coach, generate excitement in Gainesville? Not sure. Is the Florida job an appealing one for someone to leave a P5 school? We may find out soon. But whoever replaces White inherits a seasonal fan base with high expectations.
What is a seasonal fan base in the south when it comes to college basketball? That's a fan base that usually cares about football, spring football and football recruiting before getting around to basketball. If things are going well, fans will pack the arena. When they aren't going well, they either don't care or care about seeing you fired. Either way, Mike White just took another job with a seasonal fan base and considering Georgia just won the national championship in football he likely has plenty of time before Dawg Nation cares about his team's performance...until they have a reason to...
By now the annoying guy in your office has either sent the email or came by your desk or cubicle and he did it. He dropped the bracket and has reminded you when the bracket and money is due. Now you are about to become an expert in teams you have no idea about. You will tell yourself Colgate could win two games. You will believe you know how deep South Dakota State is. You will convince yourself that you must pick two 12th seeds because everyone knows 12s beat 5s all the time. You will tell one of your co-workers how athletic and long Murray State is. You might send a text to a friend and tell him this year's Loyola-Chicago team is deeper than the one that made the final four. And when your bracket is done and ready to turn in you will realize you picked chalk to make the Final Four because that's what you should do.
NEW GAME TO PLAY FOR BRACKETS: Try this one- everyone in your contest can pick only one team from a seed line to win their first round game. Pick your best one-seed, two-seed, three-seed and down the line. This means everyone will also pick a 16th-seed they think can win. It's a fun first round contest to play...
Joe Buck is joining Troy Aikman in the Monday Night Football booth this fall and one year ago, no one would have predicted that. Aikman pulled the first shocker. When rumors began to swirl about Aikman, the thought was he was headed to Amazon to work with Al Michaels on their new Thursday Night package. Aikman will be paid $18M a year to join ESPN's booth. That's one million more than Tony Romo's deal with CBS. It's not a coincidence Aikman is making more. He wanted that figure. He also wanted Joe Buck to follow him. Despite having a year left on his deal at FOX, Buck is coming for what has been reported to be a five-year deal worth about $12-15M per season. The other shocker was ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit getting the analyst job at Amazon. But who will he be working with? Al Michaels has not signed a deal on the table from Amazon and many in the industry wonder if FOX will make a late pitch for the 77-year old Michaels. FOX has two of the next three Super Bowls and Michaels could call both and could even add the World Series to his menu since FOX owns those rights as well. I thought the ESPN booth of Steve Levy, Louis Riddick and Brian Griese did a solid job. Most industry experts don't believe any announcer or analyst delivers higher ratings but networks see these hirings as a more of a statement to their commitment of coverage of these properties. Michaels' move is the key domino to still fall and Al has some intriguing options for a guy not far from 80 but still considered to be on top of his game...
Weekend nuggets: Bad loss for Orlando City against Cincinnati. Cincinnati has been one of the worst franchises in MLS and equally as bad on the road. The Saturday setback is an early season bump for the Lions who face a challenging next two matches at LA against the Galaxy and then at Portland....Prediction(and I will write more about this soon) that MLB is headed towards a massive realignment to a more regional game. I can see two expansion teams by 2027 when there will be a new CBA. That will lead to eight divisions with four teams in each division and I can see a move to eliminate leagues and have one 32-team setup...Just once I want the stewardess to ask the people in the emergency row if they are willing to assist in the event of an emergency and have someone say no...Is the snack bag getting smaller on flights these days? It sure appears that way...Why is the pilot's greeting once we have reached a normal altitude so low in audio that no one can hear the pilot and yet we all assume he's telling us we should expect a smooth flight...Why do we call it sour cream? Does anyone taste sour cream and think sour?
Final note: William Colgate was among the group who founded Colgate University, which is located in Hamilton, New York. William Colgate came to New York in 1804 and started making soap and later created the Colgate Company in 1806. Colgate toothpaste came along in 1873. It was originally sold in jars.