Lions Around the Dorm: Week 2

In this week’s Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Brandon Gould, challenges Staff Writer Kevin Lee, Correspondent Bryan Bellanca and Correspondent Johnny Sisto to answer questions about what the Colts should do with Peyton Manning, whether this year’s freshman class at Kentucky is the best in John Calipari’s tenure and whether alleged steroid user Ryan Braun should give the NL MVP award back.

1. The Colts fired head coach Jim Caldwell just a couple of weeks after Bill and Chris Polian were shown the door. If Peyton Manning is the next to go, would the Indianapolis Colts be making a mistake?

KL: Long-term, I can’t see how this would be a mistake. The Colts have the opportunity to draft the best quarterback prospect in the last 25 years in Andrew Luck. Luck has the chance to be the face of the franchise, and the Colts need to give Luck every opportunity to start next season. All teams have to go through this at some point, and the Colts will have to let go of Manning eventually, so why not do it now when there’s at least a justifiable reason — that being Andrew Luck? The better question is does Peyton Manning even want to be part of the Colts next season? There are going to be new coaches and the roster is essentially a rebuilding project. It may be best for both parties to cut ties with Manning and this would be the perfect time to do so.

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BB: Considering the fact that the Colts went from perennial Super Bowl contender every year to the worst football team in the NFL, I believe it would be a huge mistake to let Peyton Manning go. Even though the Colts plan to draft quarterback-of-the-future Andrew Luck, there is no guarantee that he will become an elite quarterback, especially to the level that Peyton Manning is. Drafting a quarterback with the first pick in the draft is a crapshoot. For every successful quarterback drafted first overall (Eli Manning), there are twice as many unsuccessful (JaMarcus Russell and David Carr). The best thing the Colts could do is draft Luck and let him sit for a few years — the Aaron Rodgers route — and let Manning continue to be your quarterback. It certainly worked out pretty well for the Packers.

JS: Absolutely yes! There are several reasons why the Colts would be making a mistake to let Peyton Manning go. Manning has arguably the best on-field awareness of any quarterback in the NFL. The Colts need a quarterback like Peyton to run their complicated offense. Also, from a business standpoint, when the Colts acquire rookie sensation Andrew Luck from the draft, having Peyton Manning on the team to coach him will create a lot of media buzz and ultimately put more asses in the seats.

BG: Bryan gets the 3 for pointing out how bad the Colts were without Manning and how Andrew Luck could benefit from sitting behind him. Kevin gets 2 for saying there’s no better time than now to make a quarterback change. Johnny gets 1 for going with the economic angle.

2. Freshman center Anthony Davis already has set the University of Kentucky’s single-season record for blocked shots, forward Michael Gilchrist is averaging 13.2 points and 7.2 rebounds and guard Marquis Teague is averaging double-digit points on top of dishing out nearly five assists a game. Is this class of one-and-dones, I mean freshmen, head coach John Calapari’s best since coming to the Wildcats?

KL: I’m going to say the John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins’ class was better. Both classes are extremely high profile, where Wall and Cousins were the number one and number two recruits, while Davis, Gilchrist and Teague were all top-10 recruits. With that said, the only reason why I think that the Wall and Cousins’ class was better is because Wall and Cousins were the two that were the leaders of that squad. At such a young age, the two freshmen were able to lead the Wildcats to an impressive 35-3 record and an Elite Eight appearance, which is very impressive. With the current squad, it’s tough to single out who the star player is. In fact, sophomore Doron Lamb is leading the Wildcats in scoring. This team might be more balanced and have more depth, and for that reason Wall and Cousins’ class was better since they didn’t have as much help.

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BB: While this class of freshmen is pretty solid, I do not believe this is the best class Calapari has had in his three years at Kentucky. I believe his best recruiting class is the one he had in his first year at Kentucky, which featured the likes of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton. That class produced four first round picks, including the No. 1 and 5 pick in their draft year. Both of these classes had high end talent, but Calapari’s first recruiting class I believe had a little bit more depth than his current class, even though both classes are outstanding. I give the edge to his first class because Wall and Cousins have already shown they are good NBA players and it’s hard to predict how players will transition into the NBA.

JS: Yes. Once again the University of Kentucky basketball team is made up of some amazing freshman talent. The 2009-2010 Wildcats freshmen were also a very impressive bunch and included John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. However, with Kentucky still undefeated in their conference and suffering only one loss in their overall schedule so far this season, this young team is a force to be reckoned with, and, in my opinion, the best group of freshmen that the team has seen under head coach John Calapari.

BG: Kevin gets 3 for stating that Wall and Cousins led the team their freshman year, whereas this year’s freshmen have a couple of sophomores to lean on. Bryan gets 2 for referencing the fact that Calapari’s first class included four first-round draft picks. Johnny gets 1 for supplying us with Kentucky’s impressive record so far this season.

3. Ryan Braun officially received the NL MVP Award this past weekend. Since tests have shown elevated levels of testosterone in Braun’s system, which led to a suspension for next season, should the outfielder give the award back and let the voters select another candidate?

KL: Braun should absolutely not give the MVP award back. Yes, steroids are bad, and as an athlete you are supposed to be a good influence on younger kids, but the effect of steroids as performance enhancing drugs is still relatively vague. Who’s to say that steroids really give you an advantage in the first place? There haven’t been any scientific studies to suggest that you hit the ball infinitely farther or increase hand-eye coordination by taking them. With the exception of stolen bases, Braun’s power numbers this season fall right in line with his career stats. There’s absolutely no clear correlation as to how much steroids affect performance on the field. We also don’t know when he first started using them or when he stopped. There’s just so much gray area in this matter that it’s completely unfair to strip Braun of the title. Previous high-profile steroid users have tested positive, yet not a single one has had to return an award. Braun should be no exception.

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BB: If Braun’s appeal of his failed PED test does not prove that he is innocent, then I believe he should return his NL MVP award. Baseball was finally starting to take a turn for the positive after the dark years of the steroid era, and Braun was supposed to be one of the bright young faces that were helping lead baseball in the right direction of young talented players who did not use PEDs. Unfortunately, that appeared to not be the case when it was announced last year that Braun had failed a PED test. Baseball was plagued with previous MVP award winners who had taken steroids with the likes of Bonds, Sosa and Giambi, but the past few winners have all supposedly been clean, and I do not think baseball can afford to have another black mark on the MVP award.

JS: Since Braun in maintaining his innocence in the allegation against him, I feel that if would not be in his best interest if he returns the NL MVP Award. Braun is in the process of appealing the results of the drug test with Major League Baseball. Braun is innocent until proven guilty, and since he is so firmly standing for his innocence, he believes that his MVP award is rightfully his. However, if the MLB deems that he was in fact on steroids, they may take it away from him whether he likes it or not.

BG: Bryan gets 3 for his argument that if Braun is guilty, then this new era of baseball needs him to give the award back. Kevin gets 2 for saying that performance-enhancing drugs don’t necessarily make a player great. Johnny gets 1 for going with the trademark “innocent until proven guilty” argument.

Bryan wins this week’s AtD, 8-7-3.

“Cundiff, why do you have to suck?” — Bryan