Thoughts of the Day: September 16, 2013


 The Jacksonville Jaguars are 0-2 out of the chute, which should come as no surprise to anyone who follows pro football’s standard for ineptitude. The Jags combination of ownership and front office makes Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones seem competent. The Jags will be 0-3 after next week’s trip to Seattle and the rest of the schedule is conducive for perhaps three wins, if that. What this means is lots and lots of fans coming to the stadium disguised as empty seats and they only have themselves to blame. If they had common sense – and it’s doubtful – they would have drafted Tim Tebow back in April of 2010. They could have traded for Tebow in 2012 and they could have picked him up for a song when the Patriots released him. Now, Tebow might not have done anything for the W/L column, but having him on the roster would have filled an awful lot of those empty seats.


In their infinite wisdom, the Jags drafted Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert in 2011. Gabbert ran a spread option offense at Mizzou, which just so happens to be what Tebow ran at Florida. If they were going to draft a spread quarterback why didn’t they draft Tebow a year earlier? He could have solved the empty seats problem and if they had been smart enough to bring in a coach to adapt an offense to Tebow’s talents, they might have been far more successful on the field. I’m not convinced that Tebow can’t be an NFL quarterback. I am convinced he will never be an NFL quarterback in a West Coast offense, however. Run a spread with lots of zone read and rollouts from the shotgun and I believe Tebow could succeed. And, for all we know, so might Blaine Gabbert. But, that is a common sense idea and as stated above, common sense and the Jags are ships that pass in the night.


I would still have Alabama as my #1. That’s because I think that the king is the king until someone beats him. Alabama is the national champion and until someone knocks the Tide off, they deserve to be #1 in the nation even if I have doubts that they could beat Oregon with only a week to prepare. I don’t think there is a team in America that can beat Oregon with only a week to prepare, but thanks to the system we have in place, if Alabama and Oregon meet for the national championship, Nick Saban will have had a month to prepare and Nick doesn’t lose too often when he has a lot of time to prepare his team.


My top ten would be (1) Alabama; (2) Oregon; (3) Ohio State; (4) LSU; (5) Stanford; (6) Clemson; (7) Louisville; (8) Texas A&M; (9) Florida State and (10) Georgia. My second ten would be (11) Oklahoma; (12) South Carolina; (13) Oklahoma State; (14) UCLA; (15) Miami; (16) Florida; (17) Ole Miss; (18) Northwestern; (19) Bayor and (20) Washington. Rounding out my top 25 would be (21) Michigan; (22) Notre Dame; (23) Fresno State; (24) Arizona State and (25) Wisconsin.


Did you see the end of the Arizona State-Wisconsin game late Saturday night? Wisconsin QB Joel Stave drove Wisconsin to the Arizona State 13 for what appeared to be a chip shot try at a game-winning field goal. Stave took a knee with 15 seconds left but the ball clipped one of his offensive linemen’s legs and rolled on the turf where Arizona State’s linemen thought there had been a fumble. The zebras upiled everyone, and Wisconsin appeared to have everyone lined up and ready to go but the head zebra simply stood over the ball and never marked it for play. Four seconds ticked off and the game was over. The zebras ran off the field and Arizona State had a 32-30 win. It was a bizarre ending and hardly what the Pac-12 needs considering they had to fire the head of their basketball officials for inappropriate conduct back in the spring.


University of Texas President Bill Powers said Sunday, “Mack has my support.” A vote of confidence is supposed to instill confidence in a coach that he has the support of the people who sign his paychecks. In reality, it’s a kiss of death. The odds greater that Urban Meyer will be named the next Pope after he retires as Ohio State’s coach than Mack Brown will be coaching Texas next year. Speaking of Urban, if Texas had canned Mack Brown two years ago when it should have, Urban Meyer would have taken that job over Ohio State in a heartbeat. That is a fact. Why? Because he could recruit all the talent he needed without leaving the state.


Even though the Trojans beat the Fighting Addazzios of Boston College, 35-7, Saturday night, the heat beneath Lane Kiffin’s seat hasn’t gotten any cooler. The Trojans are 2-1 and the schedule has potential losses against Arizona State, Arizona, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA. Most experts say that Lane has to win nine games to survive. No way that happens with that schedule.


Watch what happens when the NCAA rules on D.J. Fluker. There is no doubt that Fluker took a bundle of money from agents during Alabama’s national championship season in 2012. There is precedent for the NCAA to vacate national titles (see Southern Cal 2004) because of using an ineligible player. While Bama will be most cooperative with the NCAA and Southern Cal wasn’t, the NCAA will probably feel it has to bring the hammer down hard on Bama to make a statement about how it deals with agents. If the NCAA comes down hard that could be all Saban needs to take the bundles of money that will be offered him at either Texas or Southern Cal. Nick has never been one to stay put for too long and this could be his way out. That’s not as far fetched as it sounds.


It was during my family’s 3-year exile to Mississippi in the 1960s that I got exposed to James Brown and soul music. On a bet, my buddy Tommy Daughdrill and I went to the Mississippi Memorial Coliseum in Jackson for a concert by James Brown and the Famous Flames. We had no idea what was in store for us. There were nearly as many people at the Coliseum that night as lived in all of McComb (population 12,000) and most of them were black. We drew a lot of curious looks and more than a few folks asked if maybe we wouldn’t be more comfortable going to see The Beatles, but otherwise, we were welcomed and once the music started, nobody cared what color we were. People sang and danced along. Some of the girls felt sorry for Tommy and me and they tried to teach us to dance. My mind was willing but my feet failed to cooperate. The girls were undeterred. They kept working on us until the concert was over. I learned something that night about how music tends to transcend barriers. Today’s song is the last hit James Brown had before he died, “Living in America,” which had a prominent place in the movie, “Rocky IV.”

Previous articleTourney preps Gators for FSU
Next articlePrep Rewind: Week 4
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.