In Week 13 of AtD, “Ref” Brandon Gould challenges Editor-in-Chief Bobby Olivier along with staff writers Kevin Lee and Joshua Fidler in the Atd Final to answer questions about which college football team will win the BCS National Championship, who should be the next coach of the Miami Hurricanes and who has been the MVP of the National Hockey League so far this season.
1. The college football season is coming to a close, who is the favorite to win the National Championship?
BO: To answer the question, the favorite is Auburn, being ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll — end of story. What I am assuming this question means is who do we think is going to win the National Championship? Well, the answer remains the same. Despite all of his controversy, Cam Newton is the best player in college football, and it has been proven time and time again throughout the years that a stud quarterback wins national championships. Also, playing in the SEC, Auburn plays much more difficult competition week in and week out than Oregon in the Pac-10 or TCU in the Mountain West. Auburn’s unparalleled offense just destroyed South Carolina 56-17 in the SEC Championship game, and will bring a national championship home as well, come January.
KL: I think Oregon will win the National Championship. Oregon has an incredibly dynamic offense that is leading the nation in points scored with 50.5 points a game, which is led by potential Heisman winner, LaMichael James. The Ducks also have an equally balanced attack on the defensive end that is only giving up 18.3 points a game, good for 15th overall. Auburn, on the other hand, has significant off-the-field distractions with Cam Newton. Their passing game is weak, and their defense gives up 25.1 points a game. Although Auburn plays in the SEC, the 25.1 points per game has some merit, as their secondary is weak. As a result, I think that Darron Thomas will be able to pick their secondary apart. Furthermore, TCU has been obliterating their opponents by nearly 30 points a game. However, because they don’t face the same level of competition that the other schools face, they will not only have a tough time getting into the National Championship but they will also have a tough time competing.
JF: The National Championship game will have two high-powered offenses going against each other, the Oregon Ducks and the Auburn Tigers. The Tigers are led by Heisman candidate Cam Newton, while the Ducks are led by LaMichael James. Both of these teams have very porous defenses, so I am expecting a high-scoring affair. The Tigers have played five Top-25 schools while the Ducks only had one Top-25 team in their schedule. The Tigers play in the hardest conference, the SEC, and have the leading Heisman candidate, Cam Newton. The conference may seem ridiculous but the last four national champions have come from the SEC. The speed of the Auburn players will be too much for Oregon to handle, and that is why the Tigers will be the national champions.
BG: Joshua gets 3 for stating that Auburn has had to run through more Top-25 teams. Bobby gets 2 for citing Newton’s and Auburn’s offensive power. I like Kevin’s argument that Oregon’s defense is good, but he gets 1 for underestimating Newton’s arm.
2. The Miami Hurricanes recently fired head coach Randy Shannon. Who should “The U” hire as their next head coach?
BO: Seriously? Two college football questions in the AtD Final? Whatever. Anyway, former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach should be the next head coach of the Hurricanes. Between 2000-2009, he wen
t 84-43, led the Red Raiders to a bowl game in all 10 seasons, and for a decade, he lived and breathed football in a state where football is everything. He said he wants to coach at Miami and would be a great fit, coming from one large program to another. The kicker? After his firing, Leach moved his family to Key West, Fla. He is in Miami’s backyard, knows how to build an offense as well as anyone and is ready for another shot. Give him the job.
KL: The Miami Hurricanes should hire Jon Gruden. Gruden is a hard-nosed coach who can really whip the Hurricanes’ program into shape. Most importantly, Gruden is a winner and has won a Super Bowl. Gruden’s best coaching asset is his ability to develop good quarterbacks, and that’s something the Hurricanes have not had in recent memory. Lastly, former NFL coaches seem to have great success at the college level, such as Dave Wannstedt and Steve Spurrier.
JF: If the ’Canes could pick any coach, I think the best choice right now would be to hire current Stanford coach, Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh has been able to take Stanford from a below .500 team to an 11-1 team that came within one game of the National Championship game. This is his fourth year with Stanford. His first recruitment class is now seniors. He is the perfect man for the job. He was able to make Stanford, who had almost no tradition of football success, a nationally ranked team. If he were to go to “The U,” the ’Canes, who have had a large amount of success in their history, he could use that to recruit high quality players. If Harbaugh became head coach, it would be “all about the U” again.
BG: Bobby gets 3 for giving the most reasonable option in Mike Leach. Joshua gets 2 for picking the hottest coach commodity in the country right now. Kevin gets 1 for going with ESPN’s gossip pick.
3. In case you forgot, hockey has been going on and the NHL season is about a third of the way over. In your opinion, who has been the MVP of the league so far this year?
BO: I haven’t forgotten about hockey, and so far, NHL poster boy Sidney Crosby is the MVP. He leads the league in points and goals, and is a leader on a 18-8-2 Pittsburgh Penguins team loaded with talent. The Pens have won nine games straight, and are currently tied with the Flyers and Capitals for first in the Eastern Conference, and would not be there without Sid the Kid. One could make an argument for Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, but his stats are a little lower, and he is younger than me, so screw him. I would also like to add that if Steve Yzerman were still playing, he would be my MVP, mainly because I like saying “Stevie Y,” and I like that his website is Steviey.net.
KL: Up to this point in the season, Sidney Crosby is without a doubt the MVP. Crosby is the best player in the NHL on the best team in the NHL. Crosby has an uncanny knack of scoring at will, while also having the rare ability to make his teammates better through his passing. As a result, this has allowed Crosby to be the points leader, leading the league in goals and assists. Because Alex Ovechkin is having a down year in scoring, the only other player that possibly has a chance of challenging Crosby for the MVP is Steven Stamkos. With that said, the MVP award reflects the performance of the team, and I don’t see the Tampa Bay Lightning being atop the standings come season’s end, mainly because of their defense (29th in goals allowed).
JF: The Hart Memorial Trophy normally goes to the points leader, or someone in the top of the points standings. In the last 20 years, only one defenseman has received the Hart Trophy. Sidney Crosby is leading the NHL in points, with 23 goals and 23 assists. He is the most valuable player on the Penguins and the most valuable in the league. He has 20 more points than Kris Letang who has the second most points for the Penguins. Crosby is No. 1 in goals and tied for second in number of assists. Crosby will receive his second Hart trophy at the end of the season.
BG: Not much variety here, but Joshua gets 3 for stating how important Crosby has been for his team. Bobby gets 2 for calling out Stamkos on his age and Kevin gets 1 for pointing out that Ovechkin is having a down year.
Joshua wins and is the AtD champion, 8 – 7 – 3