Around the Dorm 9/6: College Football, NBA and U.S. Open

In the resurrection edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” Miguel Gonzalez asks our panel of three experts — Thomas Infante, Benjamin Zander and Maximillian C. Burgos — three questions: Who will win the college football National Championship? Who benefited more from the Irving-Thomas trade, the Boston Celtics or the Cleveland Cavaliers? Who will win the men’s and women’s 2017 U.S. Open?

1. Who will win the College Football Playoff National Championship?

Tom: I would pick USC to win the National Championship this season. Sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold is an absolute beast and a strong candidate for the next Heisman Trophy. After leading the Trojans to victory in the last Rose Bowl (and setting several records in the process), Darnold and his team have become a force to be reckoned with in the NCAA.

Ben: I am telling you that the Lions are going to win the National Championship! Now, I know what many of you are thinking, “Ben, you crazy good looking buffoon, what are you talking about? We are Division III! How can we possibly win the National Championship?” This year we have new students, new talent and a new coach! I believe that we are going to do so well that the NCAA will make the College a Division I school and give us a spot in the National Championship! In the 1987-1988 NCAA Division I Conference Realignment, the Villanova Wildcats went from being a Division III Football team to a Division I-AA team. The same thing happened in 1993 with the Buffalo Bulls and the UAB Blazers. So, while some people are polishing their Ohio State foam fingers, I will be right here with blue and gold face paint cheering on the mighty Lions all the way to national fame.

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Max: As it stands now, I think Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan and Florida State have a good shot of winning it all this year. Alabama under head coach Nick Saban will always be a major contender for the National Championship. He has the best recruits and has already proven that he can win. Ohio State and Clemson have a good shot in contending with Alabama since Florida State has already fallen to them and probably won’t make it to the National Championship.

Tom gets 3 point for talking about Sam Darnold. Max gets 2 points for mentioning Nick Saban. Ben gets 1 point because… TCNJ football?

2. Who benefited more from the Irving-Thomas trade, the Boston Celtics or the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Tom: I think both Kyrie Irving and Isiah Thomas are tremendous basketball players, but from a strategic standpoint, I think the Cleveland Cavaliers got more out of the trade than the Boston Celtics. Irving is a marginally better player than Thomas, but the Cavaliers already have Lebron James to carry the team. They don’t need Irving, who wants a chance to shine on his own. Thomas should easily be able to fill his role as point guard without being a major disruption to the team’s performance. The Celtics may see an improvement with Irving added to the team as well. Overall, the trade was beneficial for both teams and will make the upcoming season even more exciting.

Ben: Ah, yes, the age-old debate about the Irving-Thomas trade. The team that benefited the most from this trade was the Celtics. Compared to Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving is legendary. For starters, Irving has represented the U.S. at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, the 2014 World Championship in Spain and in the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in San Antonio. However, the strongest argument I have is the fact that Irving grew up in West Orange, New Jersey. The same town my mom grew up in! My mom will always be my champion, so it is safe to say that Irving will always be a champion, too. I know that there are many who disagree with me and believe that the Cavs benefited more by acquiring Thomas. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens on Oct. 17, when the Celts and the Cavs face off in the very first NBA game of the season!

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Max: I think the Boston Celtics benefited more in the trade simply because Irving has more of an on court presence and size. He also shoots marginally better than Thomas. At 25 years old, Irving is a skilled veteran in the NBA. He’s ready to become a franchise player. It’s a hard choice either way, but I think the Celtics benefited more.

Tom gets 3 points for discussing how both teams benefitted. Ben gets 2 points because Irving represents New Jersey. Max gets 1 point for mentioning Irving’s size.

3. Who will win the men’s and women’s U.S. Open?

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Tom: In the U.S. Open, Rafael Nadal will win the men’s singles tournament and reclaim his title as champion. I originally would have bet on Novak Djokovic, but he sadly withdrew after hurting his elbow. For the women’s singles tournament, I think the Czech player Karolína Plíšková will emerge victorious, but only because Serena Williams took a hiatus from tennis.The men’s doubles team of Henri Kontinen and John Peers seems poised to claim the title in their category, but women’s doubles is a tougher call. Nevertheless, I think the team of Lucie Šafá?ová and Barbora Strýcová will come out on top.

Ben: While I haven’t really been following this year’s U.S. Open enough to give you a detailed response about who I think will win, I can tell you who is definitely not winning. That ball boy who got hit in the crotch by a tennis ball served by Venus Williams on Friday during her match against Greece’s Maria Sakkari. The ball was reportedly traveling at a speed of 99 mph! Hours later, Roger Federer shared a gif of the incident on Twitter and I’m in pain just watching it. Giving credit where credit is due, the ball boy still managed to not let the tennis ball hit the ground, so kudos to him for that one.

Max: I think Rafael Nadal and Karolína Plíšková will win the U.S. Open. According to some sources, Plíšková has a 22.6% chance of winning it all. However she has been dominant up until now and is showing signs of slowing down. Nadal already has a decorated career with 15 Grand Slam wins. He has a 30.9% chance of winning, but he does not seem like he is slowing down at all. 

Tom gets 3 points for talking about the doubles competition. Ben gets 2 points because I feel bad for the ball boy. Max get 1 point because percentages don’t matter in tennis.

Thomas wins ATD 9-5-4

“‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’

— Wayne Gretzky”