Around the Dorm

In Week Three of Around the Dorm, Editor-in-Chief Bobby Olivier is “The Ref.”  The players, Sports Assistant Brandon Gould, Correspondent Josh Steele and Staff Writer Krystal Spencer, are asked whether the Phillies will continue to lead and win the division, if Reggie Bush’s Heisman trophy should be taken away and whether the Redskins should keep Albert Haynesworth or dump him.

1.The Philadelphia Phillies took over sole possession of first place last Tuesday, for the first time since late May. Will the Phillies hold on and win the division, or will the Braves reclaim what has been their’s all season?

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BG: The Braves and the Phillies have controlled this division for the last decade, so it is no surprise that it will come down to these two teams again in 2010. The Braves had been playing their tails off in Bobby Cox’s final season, but recently they have lost steam. The Phillies have wasted no time during the Braves’ cold streak and finally seem to be healthy. It’s a tough call, but if I had to pick today I’d go with the Phillies. Charlie Manuel’s team has just been the better team in the last few years — making it to the last two World Series — and with Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and a hot Cole Hamels I don’t see the Phillies giving the division lead back.

JS: The Phillies will without a doubt finish in first and wind up winning the division this year. Charlie Manuel’s teams have always come on strong in the second half of the season and this year is no exception. They are 33-14 since July 21, which is the best in the league. They have just gotten fully healthy for the first time since opening day and their offense is finally starting to live up to the hype, having hit .288 and averaged just under 6 runs over their last 10 games. This, in combination with Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt as the best starting rotation in the league, shows that the Phillies won’t look back.

KS: The Phillies better hold on! They have the best rotation in the NL, possibly even the best in the entire league. It’s poor timing for Atlanta to lose the lead, because the Phillies have picked up their second wind and have the personnel to hold on to first. It’ll be interesting to see how the Braves try to fight the pitching trio of Hamels, Halladay and Oswalt in their three day series next week, regardless of how all of their other games during the regular season go. And I’ll even go as far to say that I wouldn’t be surprised if the better team of this 3-day match up went to the World Series. These teams are just that good.

BO: No one has faith in the Braves? Ok, well Josh gets 3 here for giving me the most legitimate argument — the plague of injuries has ended. I like what Krystal said about the three-game match-up — 2 for you. Brandon, you had the weakest answer, here’s a point for your troubles.

2. No decision has come yet regarding the status of Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy. Analysts are divided on whether the running back should keep the prestigious award. Should it be taken away or is that going too far?

BG: USC has already given their version of the trophy back and I can understand why you would ask for Reggie Bush to return his Heisman Trophy, but I don’t think taking it away from him is going to make

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an impact. Sure, he’d be the first player to have it taken away, but that’s not going to erase people’s memory of what Bush did that season. Bush played like a man possessed for the Trojans that year and whether he has the trophy or not won’t change the fact that Bush ran through, around or right past any defender that dared try to tackle him. The record books may show a void for the 2005 Heisman winner, but those who witnessed it will always remember that was Bush’s year.

JS: According to the official Heisman website mission statement, “The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.” This describes purely on the field performance and nothing to do with what Bush did off the field. That being said he definitely deserves to keep the award due to his consistent level of outstanding play on the gridiron. Since taking money does not affect his performance, he should not be stripped of a performance award.

KS: Let him keep the trophy the man obviously earned it. If the proper channels knew he was ineligible in 2005, why didn’t they bring it up sooner? Five long years have passed. The Olympics didn’t take away Michael Phelps’ eight gold medals once he was seen smoking marijuana, did they? Bush and Phelps didn’t prove their skills during their downtime. Sure they made mistakes, but for a governing body to try and fix the error years later to save face is irresponsible. Besides, he has bigger concerns, like defending his Super Bowl title with the Saints. Just put the asterisk next to his name, brand the trophy and move on.

BO: Krystal, although Michael Phelps was a different situation, I like your answer the best anyway — 3 points. Brandon, I agree that no one will forget that season no matter what the books say — 2 points. Josh, I disagree. “The pursuit of excellence and integrity,” does not just mean on the field, in my opinion — 1 point.

3. Albert Haynesworth has been nothing but a headache for the Redskins since he was signed to a monster contract last season. Mike Shanahan still had him on the team for Week One. Should the Skins stick with this guy or dump him?

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BG: Mike Shanahan has been hard on Albert Haynesworth since day one and Big Al hasn’t exactly responded well to it. Add in the fact that Haynesworth is better suited for the 4-3 than he is for the 3-4 and you have yourself one big 100 million dollar mess. Frankly, I think both sides would be better off if Haynesworth was traded somewhere before the season starts. Haynesworth played his best football in 2008 right before he became a free agent, so it wasn’t a shocker to see his numbers drop in 2009. However, the big numbers in 2008 did lead to the Redskins overpaying Haynesworth, which is making him hard to trade at this point. However, if a team, like the Titans or the Lions, gets more serious about acquiring the 6-foot-6-inch, 335-pound defensive tackle I think the Redskins should pull the trigger.

JS: Albert Haynesworth may be a headache but his effort will undoubtedly turn around. Haynesworth is someone who is a clear difference maker when motivated properly and nothing motivates a man more than losing and having the rest of the team look at you in the locker room because you could have made a difference but chose not to. Being that the Redskins paid Haynesworth $100 million plus a $21 million bonus to perform they cannot afford to admit defeat and release him or trade him or basically anything. The Redskins will greatly rely on the excellent leadership of Donovan McNabb to reignite the fire in Haynesworth that we saw when he was on the Titans where he was dominating people in the trenches.

KS: Drop him! While the Redskins can’t really afford to lose him, his lack of physical fitness makes him useless at nose tackle, especially in a 3-4 defense where that position is crucial. And Shanahan’s stance on not giving Haynesworth any kind of special treatment is justified. Star players like him, Revis and even Favre don’t deserve a pass for missing preseasons on their respective teams. Then again, Revis and Favre can perform, whereas Haynesworth can barely pass a physical. So if he would rather get into a media war with his team, then he obviously can’t be depended upon and needs to be let go.

BO: I have to go with Brandon’s answer on this one. Haynesworth is clearly overpaid and he seems to need a change of scenery. Josh, I am not sure if he can be motivated at this point by anyone, and the Redskins might be stuck with him — 2 points. Krystal, keep Revis and Favre out of this — 1 point.

Uh oh, we have a problem. The score is 6-6-6 after three questions! I am randomly assigning each of you three numbers in the sequence 1-9, and I will have an unbiased party (one of my housemates) pick a number to decide. Be right back … a few minutes later … My housemate picked No. 5, which was assigned to Josh!

Josh wins this week’s AtD, 7 – 6 – 6