It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for, folks! Welcome to the Fall 2007 Around the Dorm Championship. In a battle of the staff writers, we have No. 7 Steve Cohen, No. 8 Bobby Olivier and No. 3 Justin Jez competing for the prestigious title of AtD Champion. Editor-in-Chief Lauren Kohout will manage the reffing duties. Thanks for sticking with us this semester, and we’ll see you back here in the Spring for more of your favorite sports showdown.
1) When our area football teams lose (Eagles, Giants, Jets), fans blame the quarterbacks. Do you agree? If not, why are they losing?
SC: In the Giants’ and Eagles’ cases, the blame lies with their quarterbacks. Donovan McNabb has been playing scared all season. He is trying to be a pocket passer, but that is not what he is. He has to throw on the move and not be afraid to run with the ball. Eli Manning makes too many rookie mistakes for a fourth-year quarterback. The G-Men came into this season with critics saying their running game and defense wouldn’t cut it. However, both Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward have run the ball well and their defense has played much better than expected, thanks to the defensive line. Manning is too uncomfortable under pressure, which leads to balls that shouldn’t be thrown, and he still can’t look past his first receiving option. As for the Jets, their defense as a whole and running back Thomas Jones have both been busts. Jones has barely even scored this season. Head coach Eric Mangini’s 3-4 defense, which worked for the Patriots, isn’t working for the Jets because they don’t have the same talent.
BO: Although in many situations it is unfair for fans to blame losses solely on the quarterback, in the cases of the Giants, Eagles and Jets, the teams’ fates rely on the arms of their respective passers. The Giants’ success is directly dependent on Manning. Manning has finally started to live up to his expectations and the Giants are 7-4 – but when he performs dismally and throws four interceptions, the Giants get rolled over 41-17 by the Vikings. The Jets’ well-being for years now has teetered on the few strands of tissue holding Chad Pennington’s right arm together. After weeks of underachieving, he was finally benched and rookie Kellen Clemens has given the Jets new life and enthusiasm. McNabb has been great for years and so have the Eagles, but they have a losing record with him out on his annual injuries. A.J. Feeley is performing well and the Eagles are starting to remember how to win again. Bottom line: quarterbacks make or break the Jets, Giants and Eagles.
JJ: None of these teams’ quarterbacks has lived up to expectations this season. Yes, they are each somewhat at fault for their teams’ underachievement, but it is unfair for them to shoulder all of the blame. The quarterback is the most important position in football, but fans need to realize why their beloved teams are faltering. In the case of the Giants, Manning has been an up-and-down performer at best. But the key to their winning seems to be the running game. When Jacobs and Reuben Droughns have been healthy and the offensive line is doing its job, the Giants have been winning this year. McNabb’s problem has been injuries. Can you blame him for getting hurt? I don’t think so. He hasn’t been the elite quarterback we expected this year, but that is because of injury. As for Pennington, I think he deserves the most blame. When he does play, he seems to just give games away. The team’s biggest win of the season came with their backup, Clemens, and the Jets seemed to play more inspired ball without Chad.
LK: Jez gets the 3 for being the only one to say it isn’t completely the quarterbacks’ faults. Do you think McNabb would get injured so much if he had any protection? Cohen gets 2 for saying Pennington isn’t completely to blame for the Jets’ demise. Bobby gets the 1.
2) If the College could give varsity status to two current club sports teams, which would they be and why?
SC: The first team that needs to be added is the club ice hockey team. It has been around the longest out of any club sport and has been successful, finishing second in the league in the 2004-2005 season and making it to the championship game the following season. Last year, the team went back to the playoffs as the No. 3 seed and made it to the semifinals. Due to its longevity and consistent play, the club ice hockey team definitely deserves varsity status. The other team I would give it to would be the women’s lacrosse club team. Lacrosse is a very high-pace contact sport. The girls on this team do a great job of staying in shape and competing at a high level.
BO: It would definitely have to be the rugby and volleyball teams. Rugby would be great at the varsity level because there is already a cult following for the sport on campus. There would be dozens of students trying out for starting spots on a collegiate varsity rugby team. An added plus is that rugby is infinitely fun to watch and would interest many students who do not fancy the heat of a scrum. Volleyball for men and women would be a great addition to the College’s athletic program as well. Because most high schools and other colleges have volleyball teams, the College would have plenty of competition and plenty of students who are used to the fierce competition volleyball brings and the dedication that comes along with it.
JJ: You have to single out ice hockey as the best candidate for varsity recognition. About half of the other club sports – such as field hockey, soccer and basketball – already have varsity counterparts. The ice hockey team has been in existence since the 1970s. Currently leading the Great Northeast Collegiate Hockey Conference, the ice hockey team has proven it is good enough to compete on the Division III level. Being in an established league and receiving a large portion of funding already, it is my leading candidate to become an official varsity sport since it basically functions like one anyway. Since ice hockey would be a men’s team, under NCAA rules the College would also have to add a women’s varsity sport. Looking at the list of women’s club sports it seems like women’s rugby would get the nod. In its eight year history, the club has enjoyed a lot of success, including an undefeated 2002 season.
LK: Jez gets 3 points for being the only one to follow NCAA rules and give one men’s and one women’s team. Bobby, you gave me four teams instead of two – 2 points. Cohen, the College already has a varsity women’s lacrosse team – 1 point.
3) At their career peaks, who would you rather have on your team, Kobe Bryant or LeBron James?
SC: I have to go with LeBron over Kobe. He is only 22 and continues to improve each season. He hasn’t even peaked yet. There is no doubt that the most talented basketball player in the league is Kobe, but LeBron is more of a team player. He does a better job of spreading the ball around. Kobe is the better defender of the two, but LeBron is more diversified as he has the height of a power forward at 6-foot-8 and has started at three different positions, playing well at all of them. LeBron also still has the capability of taking over a game offensively if need be. Kobe lets the skill of solid veterans, such as Lamar Odom, and the potential of young players, like Luke Walton and Jordan Farmar, go to waste because of how many times he shoots the ball in a game.
BO: If right now means right this very second, I would choose Kobe over LeBron because LeBron is nursing a sprained finger. But in any other case, I would take LeBron over Kobe without hesitation. LeBron is a better pick for several reasons. First off, he is almost a decade younger than Kobe and has more prime years left in him. LeBron is currently leading the league in scoring, averaging 30.7 points per game as opposed to Kobe’s 27.6. LeBron is also averaging 8.1 assists per game, over three more than Kobe’s 4.9. LeBron, unlike Kobe, can go deep into the playoffs with mediocre talent surrounding him as he showed last season and can put a team on his shoulders as he did in game five of the conference championship, scoring 25 consecutive points to end the game and send the Cavs to the finals. Finally, LeBron does not create distractions like Kobe, such as badmouthing his coach and constantly asking to be traded.
JJ: For the sake of this question I am going to assume that LeBron is at the peak of his career. He is only 22 years old and there is no reason why he won’t get better, but I cannot assume how good he will be in the future. I also believe Kobe may be at the peak of his career right now. So, it’s current LeBron vs. current Kobe, and I’m going to take Kobe. LeBron’s numbers are ridiculous, and so is his physical ability. There is no doubt that he is one of the best players in the world. However, Kobe is the best player in the world. Both men can score and make their teammates better, despite what some people say. But what distinguishes Kobe is his competitiveness, his Jordan-esque obsession with winning. LeBron openly admits that his goal is to be the most famous athlete in the world. He is more concerned with being recognized globally than winning championships. Kobe plays just to win, and that is why I pick him over LeBron.
LK: Jez, you’ve convinced me. I wouldn’t want a guy on my team who would rather be famous than win a championship, so you get the 3. I have to give Cohen and Bobby 2 points since they both said how LeBron moves the ball around better than Kobe.