Trevor Lawrence

Change Is Coming

By: Jeff Doke

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

One would think that if you are still a Jacksonville Jaguars fan (as I am), you would have developed a bit more patience.

Imagine being a Jaguars fan that went into a coma after the 1999 season. You’ve experienced four straight playoff appearances, back-to-back division championships, two trips to the AFC Championship game, and an overall record of 49-31. The franchise looks primed for a long stretch of success on the gridiron.

Now imagine that fan coming out of that coma Thursday night.

The Jags have only had four winning seasons in the last 21 years. Only three trips to the post-season. I don’t even want to add up the win/loss record in this stretch (I’m not THAT much of a sports self-flagellator).

Gus Bradley. Doug Marrone. Mike Mularkey.

Oh, and Myles Jack wasn’t down.

And now, we have this season. We started the season with a highly-touted franchise quarterback. A new head coach with a top-notch college resume. Dare I say it, hope. Things, on paper, looked good.

And then, reality. An opening game loss to a Houston Texans team in a Jaguars-esque state of franchise chaos, followed by a week two loss to the Broncos, and a second-half collapse against the Cardinals.

Which brings us to Thursday night. Sometimes, being a Dawg fan prepares you for being a Jags fan. Remember the meme that was making the rounds after the 2018 SEC Championship game? Georgia and Alabama have played 120 minutes in the past two games. Georgia has led or been tied for 119 of those minutes and lost both games.

Wanna hear it sound even better? In those last two games the teams have combined for 290 plays. Alabama has had the lead for 9 (3%) of those.

Oof. Not “woof.” Oof.

Thursday night was like that for the Jags. They were tied or had the lead for the full 60 minutes of that game. The winning kick for Cincy crossed the goalposts as the clock read 0:00. It was the only play of the game that the Bengals were in the lead, and unfortunately, it was the only play that mattered.

And out come the boo birds. The defeatists. The naysayers. The fans that were expecting the franchise to immediately turn around with the arrival of Coach Meyer and T-Law, calling both men “mistakes” and “failures” with ¾ of a season still to play. Armchair GMs decreeing that the Jags are going to go nowhere with either one.

To quote our Commander-In-Y’know-The-Thing; “C’mon, man!”

Let’s be honest, Duval. We are on a 19-game losing streak. We didn’t get here by making smart choices. But change *IS* coming, just not overnight. To make my point, I implore you to look at the 1999 season.

Not ours, but Indianapolis’ 1999 season, otherwise known as “Peyton’s Rookie Year.”

The best forehead in the history of the NFL led his team to a 3-13 record. He threw two more interceptions than touchdowns. He finished the year with a 71.2 QB rating. And just look where he went from there.

Oh, and that same 1999 season, Bill Belicheck was unemployed. His win-loss record after five years in Cleveland was 36-44. Heck, his first season in New England looked like more of the same – 5-11 and last place in the division.

True, the last two decades of football on the banks of the St. Johns River have given us precious little reason to have hope for the future.

Four games into a career is not the time to give up on our new coach and QB. You’ve held on to that glimmer of hope thus far, keep the faith. Change is coming.

Just maybe not this year.

The Heisman Race

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Normally this time of year means the college football regular season is almost over.

Due to the pandemic, the season was delayed for several conferences like the Big Ten and Pac 12. I’m going to take a look at the top five Heisman Trophy candidates.

Kyle Trask/ Florida: I feel like he should be the hands down favorite at this point. It’s hard to believe this guy was sitting on the bench behind Feleipe Franks.

Earlier in the season I said he’s this year’s Joe Burrow. I don’t think anybody can match Burrow’s video game like stats from 2019 but I’m talking about the drastic improvement he made. Also, both of them were not expected to play at that level going into their final season.

They have had the LSU game postponed due to several players on the team having COVID. I hope that game can get played in December so Trask can play the maximum amount of games.

He led the Gators to a win over No. 5 Georgia that they desperately needed. The defense is not very good, so they basically have to outscore their opponents. Trask is basically good for at least four passing TD’s every game.

Trevor Lawrence/ Clemson: He’s the clear consensus as the best quarterback and number one pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Unfortunately, he had COVID and had to miss two games.

One of them was at No. 4 Notre Dame and that could have been his Heisman moment.

The Tigers like to run the ball with All-American running back Travis Etienne so that takes away from Lawrence’s stats.

If he plays well against Notre Dame in the ACC Championship that could catapult him to the top of the Heisman list.

Travis Etienne/ Clemson: I know this has become a quarterback award but he really deserves consideration.

He’s a true dual threat running back and his number are very good.

Mac Jones/ Alabama: He has the Crimson Tide undefeated (6-0) and he’s playing very well. Jones has thrown for 2,196 yards (8th), 16 TD’s (tied-13th), 2 interceptions with a 95.6 QBR (2nd).

He’s on the best team and I think Bama will finish undefeated. His stats are impressive because Alabama is another team that likes to run the ball. Najee Harris has over 700 yards rushing.

The LSU game has been postponed due to a Coronavirus outbreak in the program. We don’t know if that game will actually get played but that would be an easy win for Bama.

The only challenge should be against Florida in the SEC Championship.

Justin Fields/ Ohio State: The Buckeyes have only played three games because the Big Ten started the season late and the Maryland game was canceled.

Fields only has 7 games to make a case as the best player.