Sports Roundtable: Issue 2

By Luke Casola ’20, Gideon Hyman ’20, Will Mallory ’20, Neema Mansori ’20 and Gautam Natarajan ’20
Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant (35) is congratulated by Draymond Green (23) while playing against the Phoenix Suns during the third quarter on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. The Warriors defeated the Suns 133-120.

Super Teams Not So Super? – Hyman

Over the summer, NBA superstar Kevin Durant was a free agent. Many were convinced that he was going to sign back with the Oklahoma City Thunder since they did so well this past season. Instead, he signed with the team that defeated him, the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors now have a starting lineup made up of All-NBA award winners. Durant’s move shocked many and made the Warriors even more dangerous than they were last season. In fact, the team has been predicted by many experts to win the championship and dominate their division because of the recent acquisition of Durant. However, to the surprise of many, the Warriors lost their home opener to the  San Antonio Spurs by almost 30 points. While the Warriors’ starters each scored a significant number of points, their bench only scored a total of 16. This was very disappointing, as last season, the Warriors had the highest scoring bench in the league. They are currently struggling chemistry wise, but it is still early in the season and they should be able to fix that problem.  The Miami Heat did not win the championship in 2010, the year many called them a “superteam.”  The first season that Chris Bosh and the king himself, Lebron James, joined the Miami Heat, they struggled. Maybe this is the year that the Warriors work on their chemistry, and next year will mark the beginning of the dynasty.

World Series – Casola

The Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians battled each other in a very exciting seven-game World Series in late October and early November.  The Cubs haven’t been in the World Series since 1945, and the Indians have not appeared since 1948. The series was tied at one game each until the Indians won two games straight and took a commanding 3-1 game lead.  It seemed like the Indians would take game five, but heading back to Chicago, the Cubs got the two biggest wins of their season to keep their hopes alive and force a game seven.  The Cubs won the series four games to three and Ben Zobrist won the World Series MVP.  Zobrist looked strong and he was the right pick for MVP.  If the Indians won, outfielder Rajai Davis would have been given world series MVP because of his clutch two run-homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning of game seven to tie the game. Heading into the series, it looked as if the Indians would take home the trophy.  They were rolling throughout the playoffs and had momentum heading into the series.  The Indians also have one of the best pitching cores in the league and I was surprised to see the Cubs hit so many home runs, especially in game seven.  The Cubs didn’t look their best heading into the series, but after winning three elimination games in a row, I have to say they are the best team in all of baseball.

SPORTS_BBO-CUBS-INDIANS_37_TB.jpg
The Chicago Cubs celebrate after defeating the Cleveland Indians, Nov. 3, 2016 in Game 7 to win the World Series at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Cleveland Browns Struggle – Mallory

The Cleveland Browns are continuing to be “the Browns.”  They are currently hitting an all-time franchise low in wins in the past two seasons.  They also have a serious problem closing out games. Maybe a solid quarterback would help them solve this problem. The Browns signed Robert Griffin III in the beginning of the offseason, but he was injured in the first game and did not play. Josh McCown stepped in and soon after got injured. Third string Charlie Whitehurst followed him. Cody Kessler, a rookie out of USC, was given the nod for a few games. The result? Injury. Fellow rookie Kevin Hogan showed some athleticism with his running skills, but the Browns keep losing. Luckily, McCown is back, but I wouldn’t count on him remaining healthy. The Browns are a mess, and it will take a long time for anyone to put them back together. Maybe future first round draft picks can bring light to the Brown’s organization.

NFL in London – Natarajan

Each season for the last few years there were NFL teams playing games in London. This season there will be four NFL games there. Although this trip for most east coast teams would equal the time it would take to reach Los Angeles, or the west coast, the jet lag would make it hard for players to play their best. Due to the stadiums selling out in London, we could see an expansion of the NFL by adding teams across Europe in the future. The games are very popular in the U.K., but unfortunately the NFL is not gaining much of a profit from London because of the lack of an international presence and because of how much it costs to rent the stadiums. In a few years the NFL will start making a lot more money because of more fans going to games. This decision will be seen as a great business move.  This is a very good decision from the NFL because it would bring popularity to the sport, but it is not very convenient to the players and fans.

Dak Prescott – Casola and Hyman

Although quarterback Tony Romo has been the face of the Dallas Cowboys for many years, he has spent many of those seasons sidelined with injuries. Romo is a very fragile quarterback, and naturally he got injured during the first game of the season. The Cowboys lost that first game but have now won six straight. Many believed without Romo that the Cowboys would not succeed.  However, owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett looked to 135th overall pick out of Mississippi State, Dak Prescott, to lead the team. Prescott is putting up veteran numbers and averaging more than 200 passing yards per game. He has shown great leadership and poise and we could see him keep his starting spot even after Romo’s return.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Cleveland Browns
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) looks to pass in the third quarter as the Dallas Cowboys defeat the Cleveland Browns 35-10 on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016 in FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. (Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS)

The College Football Playoff – Mallory

When the first College Football Playoff launched in 2014, America didn’t know what to expect. There were many flaws in the old BCS Championship system, but the country had adjusted to it and by 2013, there seemed to be no major problem with it. Suddenly, the College Football Playoff was introduced, and it has created some of the most memorable upsets and victories in the past three years in sports’ history. Rankings will come out every week, where a group of people known as the “Committee” rank the top 25. At the end of the year, there will be a final ranking, determining which 4 teams will make the CFP. It is known to be a controversial system, because only 4 teams out of about 6-8 legitimate teams make it. Although the rankings are subject to change over the next couple of weeks, the first rankings highlight the main problem with this system, which is that teams capable of winning it all are left out, affecting the overall outcome. After all, though, the controversy is part of the fun.

 

Manchester United Struggles – Neema Mansouri

Manchester United is currently sitting in sixth place in the Premier League behind their inter-city rival, Manchester City, and Premier League rivals Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.  Although their preseason odds to win the league were 5 to 1 (second behind Manchester City). Manchester United’s flop at the beginning of the season begs the question: what went wrong? The team spent close to 190 million dollars in the summer transfer window, and nearly 100 million alone on midfielder Paul Pogba (world record fee). They acquired Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer from Paris Saint Germain to pair with Pogba. In addition, the team managed to get highly acclaimed manager Jose Mourinho after their previous manager Louis Van Gaal did not perform up to expectation last season. However, their issues come from the way they have managed their star players. The system they are playing under does not suit star player Pogba. Mourinho is forcing him to play a more defensive role, which takes away from his ability and creativity on the field. Also, having brought in so many new players, it has taken away from the team’s chemistry. Currently there isn’t a true leader on the team, and the players do not seem to connect on the field. In order to work things out, they have to change their formation.

 

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