FRANK FRANGIE: Examining Jaguars favorable schedule

FRANK FRANGIE: Examining Jaguars favorable schedule

By: Frank Frangie

I love the Jaguars schedule. There are so many times when the schedule has come out I’ve found myself thinking the NFL didn’t do them any favors. Not this time. I love this one.

The truth is, you never know. Teams that were supposed to be good aren’t and teams that were supposed to be bad are way better than expected. It happens more in the NFL than any other league. Many of the teams that arrive in the playoffs tend to change year-to-year.

But based on the only data we have — how good the team was most recently and what changes have been made to the team since — the Jags are well-positioned. They get to open the season at home against the Colts, a team they’ve beaten five consecutive times at home and a team playing with a brand new quarterback. Yes, the quarterback is veteran Philip Rivers, who has tortured the Jags. But he hasn’t done that wearing a Colts uniform.

Four of the Jags’ first seven opponents drafted before them, meaning they had tough years. Three of those teams — the Bengals, the Dolphins and the Chargers — could be playing rookie quarterbacks.

All teams eventually have to play good opponents. But for a really young team, playing with a second-year quarterback, a brand new offensive coordinator and scheme, an expected altered defensive scheme and anywhere from at least five to eight new starters, it helps that the expected gauntlet doesn’t come until later in the year.

I’ve said this consistently — I think the Jags believe they have a way better team than anyone else thinks they have. A young, fast, athletic team that lacks proven veteran stars but one that has legitimate upside. Yes, all teams that struggled a year ago point to their upside now. Their new quarterback or receiver or their new this or that. I get it. But this team is intriguing and will be fun to watch. I can’t wait. …

The Bucs obviously won the lottery when they landed Tom Brady. But you really saw how much that manifested itself when the schedule came out. Five Primetime games for a team that typically gets very few and a team that, frankly, was the talk of the night when the schedule came out. I’m not sure I heard as much talk about the Bucs the year they actually won the Super Bowl. …

For the record, I think the Saints will win that division. If Brady makes the playoffs, I think it will be as a Wild Card. In fact, if I was predicting a bunch of stuff today, I think the Saints get the lone NFC buy in the new configuration. …

One other thing about the schedule — the way it was configured, with pre-season games announced, with divisional games scheduled right out of the gate — it is clear the NFL, at least for now, expects to start on time. Stay tuned. …

So Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield are talking about a comeback. Let me be clear about this — I will buy the Pay-per-view, I don’t care what it costs. I won’t even look to see what it costs, I will just hit the pay-per-view button. If they allow gatherings by then, I will have a watch party to end all watch parties.

I want to love boxing again. I was really excited about Wilder-Fury — I bought it, I was excited about it, I anticipated it — and in the end it just didn’t do it for me. It was fine. Fury won easy and I was rooting for Wilder. Maybe that was part of it. The broadcast was very good, the fighters did their best to build it up. Just wasn’t as great as I had hoped.

But can you imagine all the Tyson-Holyfield build up we’d have? How many times do you think you’d see highlights of that ear getting bitten? Can you imagine the weigh-in? The pre-fight presser?

Tyson and Holyfield are in their 50s. Obviously they couldn’t hold up against one of the younger fighters of today. And Holyfield has actually said he’d rather fight Riddick Bowe. But to heck with that. We need Tyson-Holyfield III. And we need it now. …

So baseball finally seems to have a plan, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Spring training 2.0 in June, games start in July, a schedule of between 78 and 82 games, teams only play teams in their division and in the same geographical division in the other league. So the Braves, for instance, play 48 games against teams from the NL East (Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Marlins) and 30 games against teams from the AL East (Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles). That’s their whole schedule.

They play in their home stadiums as best they can. For teams in states that won’t allow it by July, they play either in their spring training sites or nearby MLB stadiums. I think spring training sites make the most sense for teams that can’t play in their states — capacity won’t matter since the plan is to at least begin without fans.

So here is the thing: any other league would announce that is what they were doing. Period. That is because the NFL, NBA and NHL have a collective bargaining agreement in place that allows the commissioner and owners to make the call and that’s that. Decide. Announce. Move forward.

But with baseball’s archaic way of doing things, MLB can’t announce it until the players union signs off on it. They apparently are making their proposal to the union early this week. The word is MLB wants to reduce salaries based on revenue earned and that the union will push back. Trust me, the LAST thing baseball needs is a labor grievance during the pandemic. I hope both sides are smart enough not to let that happen. But I have my doubts. We’ll know this week. …

Meanwhile, the MLB draft will now be just five rounds. It had been 40. And there is a cap on bonuses that can be paid not only to draft picks, but to undrafted players. Players not drafted can only receive $20,000. That’s it. Which means far fewer players will choose professional baseball this time around.

That is not a good sign for the game overall and hopefully it is just a one-year thing. But it greatly benefits college baseball. Far more players who would have come out after junior seasons will now go back. And far more high school stars will choose college, even if it means staying for three years. If you love college baseball, and I do, that is a good thing. …

Good for Jacksonville for holding UFC 249 at the Arena last night. I’m not a big UFC guy, but it proved our city is not afraid to inch back toward normalcy if it is done safely. I watched a little of it and even though there were no fans, the arena looked great and our city got attention from tons of people watching around the world. That is cool. …

I still think college football starts on schedule. I think players are practicing in July at some point and the season starts on Labor Day or darn close to it. Just a gut. …

The Zoom press conference for the epic May 24 charity golf match hosted by Ernie Johnson that featured Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning was pure gold. If you haven’t seen it, go to You Tube right now. That is mandatory. Thank me later.

The odds say Tiger-Peyton will beat Phil-Tom. Tiger has been the better of the two great PGA stars and Manning plays to a 4 handicap, Brady to an 8. But golf insiders say Brady is much better than that 8 he carries. I’ll take Phil-Tom, just for the heck of it. …

Speaking of You Tube, if you haven’t seen Frank Caliendo’s post-draft wrapup featuring his impersonation of various NFL coaches, that is more mandatory viewing. It is hilarious. Here are two words that will have you cackling. “Done.” And “Win.” …

I hope you are having a fantastic Mother’s Day and honoring your mom in the best way possible. I know our listeners, readers and followers. I know so many of you. So I know that you are.

I lost my mom Nov. 1, 2018. She was 88. She was the nicest person I ever knew. And anyone else who met her probably would concur. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her. And I know that on this Mother’s Day, she will borrow a computer or IPad from an angel in Heaven and find a way to read this.

So knowing that, I love you, Mom. We all miss you. We will see you one day.

Cheers.