The Jock

by Tom Weppel

JAGUARS
It’s the first week of the regular season, and the Jaguars will start their season on the road, going to Indianapolis to face the Colts. Indy has made changes since last season, as Head Coach Tony Dungy stepped down, and WR Marvin Harrison is no longer playing there. But they still have QB Peyton Manning and WR Reggie Wayne as a lethal combination, and new Head Coach Jim Caldwell has been on the Colts sidelines for a while, so he knows what he’s got to work with.
For the Jaguars, we simply have no idea what to expect. There has been a lot of turnover on the roster, with changes being made to improve the club from their 5-11 record last year. The only two ‘name’ free agents brought in were WR Torry Holt and LT Tra Thomas, and he’ll back up first round pick Eugene Monroe. There are a lot of guys on this roster who fans do not know. This lack of uncertainty is what is contributing to the non-trust and belief fans are displaying by not supporting the team. Its made things very tough on a franchise that is celebrating their 15th season in the NFL.
With that said, the door is wide open for Jack Del Rio and his guys to establish an identity for themselves from the get-go. They can come out and make things happen on the field against one of the premier teams in the League. It would certainly go a long way to the Jaguars generating a degree of respect.
The Colts are about a touchdown favorite to win this one. I would consider it an upset if the Jags won. Let’s hope we see a good, exciting game…

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
The glamour position is always the QB, no matter what. In this first weekend of games, we see that there are new faces in different places, without question. It starts off with rookies coming out of the gates in the saddle, which is quite unusual in the NFL. For instance, First-pick Matthew Stafford leads the Lions to New Orleans to face the Saints, while Mark Sanchez takes the Jets to Houston to play the Titans. Rookies starting on the road can’t be an easy situation. We’ll see.
Then we see different guys starting for different teams. Byron Leftwich starts for Tampa at home against the Cowboys, while Jay Cutler leads the Bears into Green Bay to play the Packers. We also find Kyle Orton with the Broncos, as they go to Cincinnati, and Matt Cassel with Kansas City, as the Chiefs travel to Baltimore to play the Ravens. All these games should certainly be worthy of a watchful eye, just to see how these guys perform for their new, respective teams.
But the one player we’ll all be interested in checking out, of course, is Mr. Favre. After having been retired again, he decided to come back a second time, almost like a heavyweight boxer! Brett is now with the Vikings, as we all know. All fans will watch as Favre and the Vikes go to Cleveland to take on the Browns.
And so the first weekend should give us plenty of highlights and action. It will also give us a feel as to which QB’s are in a good, or better, situation.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
We go into the second weekend of college football, and already there are plenty of issues that are worthy of discussion.
Obviously, the main story is when we’ll get to see Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford back out on the field. He sprained his shoulder against BYU, and the Sooners ended up losing the game. Seems Bradford will be out for a few weeks, at least.
This weekend the marquee game will give us Southern Cal heading to Columbus to face the Ohio St. Buckeyes, a team that ended up with a tough time beating NAVY last week, of all teams! USC has a freshman at QB, Matt Barkley, and we’ll see how he fares against the Buckeyes. Many believe USC will have no problem winning.
The other game that will capture attention gives us Notre Dame playing the Wolverines in Michigan. While both teams won handily last week, there are many who are still wondering exactly which squad has the balls to come out on top.
On a local basis, the Gators will play their second ‘cupcake’ this weekend, hosting Troy. The Georgia Bulldogs, meanwhile, come off a tough loss out against the Oklahoma St. Cowboys. Now they will host the South Carolina Gamecocks in an SEC contest. They need this win, for fear of starting the season 0-2.

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