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Schultz: Cornish, Sheets duke it out for rushing title

Chris Schultz
10/15/2013 8:40:38 PM
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The first place Calgary Stampeders play the fourth place Edmonton Eskimos this week which will be another chance with three games to go for Jon Cornish to move toward winning the CFL rushing title.

The second place Saskatchewan Roughriders play the third place BC Lions and that will be an opportunity for Kory Sheets to win the CFL rushing title.

Three of those four teams are also playoff bound so when do personal goals enhance team goals of winning? Well the way I look at it is that football is a funny sport. Everyone is dependent on everyone else but to be successful there always has to be individual success that is in the public eye.

Now coach Hufnagel in Calgary and coach Chamblin in Saskatchewan will have game plans that include both Cornish and Sheets. But they are part of the plan, not THE plan. Having said that there is nothing wrong with highlighting possible individual accomplishments as it motivates all involved to create success for that player.

Whether Sheets or Cornish win the title over the next three weeks, all of those involved with take pride in that moment. Those who block, pass and call the plays are all rushing title holders too and as any running back knows he can't do his job effectively unless other do theirs as well.

Presently it is pretty close. Cornish had played 14 games, carried the ball 215 times, gained 1,545 yards and has 11 rushing touchdowns. Sheets has played in 13 games, had 251 carries, and has gained 1,408 yards. He also has 11 rushing touchdowns.

Is one back better than the other? Not really when you discuss the top four or five. When you compare them to the 10th or lower than absolutely. If you want to depend on mathematics than Cornish has gained 137 more yards, has a 1.6 yard per carry average better and has 36 less carries. But then Sheets missed a game due to injury so where would he be if he had played that game?

The last three weeks of the season are always a little different. You realize time is finite - not infinite - which is what the season looks like back in May. You're tired in many ways, not dramatically but almost subconsciously.

The East and West All-Star teams are to be announced soon. Trust me when I say this, every player wants to be on an All-Star team. Not just for the incentive-based monetary enhancement, more it is acknowledgment of a job well done that your peers are forced to recognize. The end of the season is the end of a journey and one that may not be repeated by any fault of yours. This is when football gets really interesting because you just don't know how the team will play with the success or failure to be determined in a short period of time.

I am confident that if you asked either Sheets or Cornish if the choice is Grey Cup Champion or CFL rushing champion they would take the former before the latter. Still there is nothing wrong with going after the individual record because if you get it, it probably means you are a step closer to the ring, which lasts forever.

I hope it comes down to the last game. Calgary at BC for Cornish, Edmonton at Saskatchewan for Sheets. Slight advantage for Sheets as he plays on a Saturday, Cornish on the Friday so Sheets will know how many yards he needs. Cornish will get as many as he can.

I will be bringing my calculator to work that day.

Chris Schultz

Chris Schultz

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