It’s Week 4, and Sports Editor Garrett Rasko-Martinis, Managing Editor Bobby Olivier and Correspondent Andrew Amadeo are looking to climb up the Atd ranks. Correspondent Chris Rotolo will quiz our contestants on whether Allen Iverson will hurt or help a weak Grizzlies team, which team will take home the Commissioner’s Trophy in October and which college football program is looking the best.
1. Future Hall of Fame point guard Allen Iverson signed a one-year deal with Memphis Grizzlies. This is a man whose prowess for dividing teams is comparable to Terrell Owens. Will he help a Grizzlies team that cannot get any worse?
GRM: I’m not an Allen Iverson fan, but the guy has had a great career. I was shocked to discover that he is fifth all-time in scoring per game. He has obviously lost a step, but he’s a big personality who at the very least may bring people to the games. It’s true the team can’t get any worse — so at least he may excite the fans of a franchise that has no hope of seeing a successful basketball team this season.
BO: First, Allen Iverson is in no way comparable to Terrell Owens in ruining his teams. Iverson can only help a franchise that is no doubt in the top three on the NBA’s “why is this still a team?” list. Iverson adds leadership among his abilities to the Grizzlies, who have never been a consistently above average team. Will the Grizzlies be above average with Iverson? No. Would the team be above average without him? Absolutely not. The bottom line is the Grizzlies suck a whole bunch no matter what happens, and Iverson will not change much as he is only one person. The Grizzlies will sell more jerseys — that’s about it.
AA: Allen Iverson will help the Grizzlies.He is considered one of the greatest shooting guards of all time. Although he is getting older, there is no doubt he can get to the rim, because he is still lightning quick. Yes, his numbers have gone down but you have to keep in mind that he was injured almost all of last year. His points per game average the year before was 26.4, which will unquestionably help the Grizzlies. It will open up passing lanes for Marc Gasol, and get Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo open looks. Look for the Grizzlies to contend in most games. Remember, the Grizzlies are a team that ranked at the bottom of almost every category on offense last season.
CR: All answers are in favor of the Allen Iverson acquisition and I agree. It never hurts adding one of the greatest scorers in the game to your roster. Andrew gets the nod. I take kindly to those who use the word “contend” in the same sentence as my beloved Grizzlies. Garrett gets 2 points for mentioning Iverson is fifth all-time in scoring per game. Bobby is awarded 1 point, and may God have mercy on his soul.
2. With less than a month left in the Major League Baseball regular season, the playoff picture is coming together. Who are your picks for the World Series, and who will win?
GRM: My bias aside, I have to say the Yankees are the favorites to win it in the American League. Even though there are questions about the rotation, I think we will see a new CC Sabathia in the playoffs with less innings compiled in the regular season. I’m not sure what to expect from A.J. Burnett, but Andy Pettitte has been great since the All-Star break and he’s a stud in the playoffs. While pitching certainly wins in the playoffs, I don’t think anyone else in the American League has a rotation that can eclipse the Bombers — except maybe the one-two punch of Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson. But with the Yankees’ cirrcular lineup and dominant bullpen no one else can match, the Bombers have to be the favorites. For the National League, I think the St. Louis Cardinals are going to dominate the competition. The rotation is excellent, and not enough people seem to know about Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, the league leaders in wins and earned run average, respectively. Toss in Albert Pujols, the greatest hitter in baseball, great offensive protection in Matt Holliday, and an All-star closer in Ryan Franklin, and you have a dominant postseason team. The Yankees and Cardinals will duke it out in October, and the Yankees will just edge the Cardinals in six or seven games.
BO: As a die-hard New York Yankees fan, I am completely behind the Yanks to take the AL pennant this season. The offense has been golden, and in the new stadium, the Yanks are basically untouchable with all players loving the jet stream blowing balls out to right field. The team’s pitching has been on and off lately but it should come around come October. In the NL, the Cardinals have been the best team of the second half, so lets go with the hot team. The additions of Matt Holliday and John Smoltz have put the team over the top and it should make a serious push in the playoffs.
AA: In the American League, I will take the Angels, because the Angels have a lineup that includes Chone Figgins, Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero and my most valuable player candidate of the American League, Kendry Morales, on top of a veteran pitching staff that dominated the Yankees during the regular season. Morales has 30 home runs, 98 runs batted in and a .308 batting average on a team that played most of the year without Guerrero and Hunter, the team’s two best bats. In the NL it’s a no-brainer, the St. Louis Cardinals will cruise through the NL playoffs and win this year’s World Series. I’ll take Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter and Joel Pineiro against any lineup in the majors. And they have the NL MVP in a guy named Albert Pujols, who now has help with Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa, and Julio Lugo.
CR: I definitely agree with the St. Louis picks. However, Garrett gets 3 points for his Yankee pick and his point about dominant pitching. Good pitching beats good hitting any day of the week, and that goes double in short playoff series. Bobby gets 2 points. Andrew gets 1 point because the Angels’ bullpen is too weak to succeed in the playoffs.
3. College Football saw its first week come and go. After seeing the best teams in the nation take the field, who would you place at the top of the list?
GRM: Until I see otherwise the Florida Gators are still No. 1 in the country. As much as I’m not a fan, Tim Tebow is a great college quarterback, and the team is almost entirely still there. The Gators may have lost Percy Harvin, but the great running backs still remain and the entire defense is returning. Barring injury, Florida still has all the tools to ensure it will have just as dominant a team in 2009 as 2008.
BO: This is a joke. Florida is the best team by far. The Gators murdered Troy University this weekend and slaughtered Charleston Southern University last weekend. Tim Tebow knows the system and the Gators should have no problem gaining another National Championship. Good luck to everyone else but this is a one-horse race.
AA: The two best teams in College Football are the Texas Longhorns and the Florida Gators, hands down. USC is close, but not at the Gators’ level. Oklahoma lost its title hopes when Bradford got hurt. Keeping this in mind, the Gators and Longhorns will not play for the National Championship. That game will be played by Florida and Notre Dame. Yes, that’s right, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame behind Jimmy Clausen, Michael Floyd and Golden Tate. Notre Dame has a schedule that is one of the weakest in all of college football, except for the game versus USC, which, by the way, is in South Bend. Look for the Irish to take that game, and run the table to play the Gators, but expect the Gators to win by at least two touchdowns in the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.
CR: You all chose Florida as the top team in the nation, and you are all correct. However, Garrett will receive 3 points for pointing out the fact that the entire national championship-winning defense is returning for the Gators. Andrew receives 2 points for making that bold Notre Dame national championship game selection. Bobby gets 1 point for pointing out the Gators 2-0 record.
Garrett takes home the gold, 8 – 6 – 4