In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Michael Battista, asks our panel of experts three questions: Which 0-2 NFL team is a strong playoff contender, is Jason Day an elite golfer and which major college team has the most to improve on early in the season?
1. As of this writing, the NFL has nine 0-2 teams. Who among them has the best chance to make a playoff run?
Sean: Although the Seattle Seahawks are the highest ranked 0-2 team, according to current ESPN power rankings, I believe the Indianapolis Colts have the best chance to make a playoff run due to differences in division. Seattle is in, arguably, the most difficult division where Arizona and San Francisco will be major threats, while Indianapolis is in a division with fewer threats (Jacksonville, Tennessee and Houston are all below Indianapolis in current ESPN power rankings) and if their offense finally plays to expectations, the Colts will be a team to watch in the playoffs.
Matthew: The Seattle Seahawks are still the best team in the league — this 0-2 start means nothing. Seattle was dealt a double dosage of difficult games to start the season, and it didn’t help that they had some chemistry issues to work out. This team has proven to be dangerous and has retained nearly all of its essential pieces from their past two championship runs. For Week Three, they have a cake matchup against the bumbling Chicago Bears and now have their defensive ace, Kam Chancellor, back in the fray. And don’t forget about Marshawn Lynch, an All-Pro and a brute of a running back who is hungry for some end zone action (and maybe some Skittles, too). Look for Seattle to bury the Bears and bounce back to the top of the division by Thanksgiving, with its defense leading the charge as they gobble up opposing offenses. Playoffs are not even a question for this team — it is just a matter of whether they win the Super Bowl.
George: The only team that has any sort of chance in the playoffs is the Chicago Bears. I don’t know if you noticed, but this year marks the 30th anniversary of the “Windy City” Bears’ last Super Bowl win and I think the time is right for a sequel. This is the year we’ll see the Bears shuffle on down to the end zone. The year they’ll blow our minds like they knew they would. They’re gonna be strutting their stuff for everyone on the turf. They aren’t gonna start trouble. They’re just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle.
Matthew gets 3 points for looking at the upcoming schedule. Sean gets 2 points for only looking at power rankings and George gets 1 point for Super Bowl Shuffle 2.
2. Jason Day has been gaining momentum as one of the best golfers in the world as of late. Do you think he can keep this up or is he another flash in the pan?
Sean: Since the Official World Golf Ranking system was established in 1986, numerous golfers have sat in the prestigious No. 1 position, of which many will be remembered in history, while others will be forgotten. Which type of golfer Jason Day is, it’s tough to say at this time, however, I do believe he will not be “another flash in the pan.” In the summer, Day proved himself to be one of golf’s best golfers and he now deserves to hold the honor of being the best golfer in the world, where I believe he will remain as a contender. Throughout the past two decades, there have been multiple occasions where two or three golfers go back and forth at the No. 1 position — most notably Tiger Woods and, one of the most underrated golfers of our time, David Duval in the late 90s — and I think next season will be one of those occasions where Day, Rory Mcllroy and Jordan Spieth will all compete for the No. 1 position, none of which will be “another flash in the pan.”
Matthew: One thing is for certain: the PGA is hoping he’s not a flash in the pan. Since Tiger Woods’ career has tumbled down the bunker, golf has been missing the star power that it needs so desperately. It seems like the PGA wants Rory McIlroy to be in the forefront, but he came and went without a major in 2015. Jason Day, on the other hand, is rolling right now and sitting pretty at a sprightly 27 years old. Golf is dull enough as it is — the PGA needs a young star in order to keep the public’s already fading attention. For golf’s sake, let’s hope Day sustains his success for years to come.
George: Day’s days at the top are limited. His subpar performance at the FedEx Cup is perhaps the biggest indicator of this. Depending on the result of the Tour Championship, Day may fall in the rankings behind his predecessor, Jordan Spieth or Ireland’s Rory McIlroy. The No. 1 spot has changed hands four times already the last four weeks. Another change this week would make it the first time since 1997 that the No. 1 spot changed over five consecutive weeks. If he doesn’t pick up his game this week and in following weeks, Day’s day of reckoning will arrive.
Sean gets 3 points for other back and forth rivalries. George gets 2 points for mentioning his recent performances and Matthew gets 1 point for PGA desperation.
3. With the College Football season underway, what major team has the most to improve on going forward?
Sean: USC had a strong start to the season, dominating their first two games and keeping the opponent in single digits. However, in the third week they finally faced another team of equal stature, Stanford, who scored 41 points to their 31 points. USC’s defense was poor, to say the least, in what was their first major matchup of the season. If this play continues, USC will not have a successful season with Notre Dame and Oregon on their schedule. Although USC was off to a strong start, they have the most to improve on if they want to be the contender they were expected to be.
Matthew: The Alabama Crimson Tide wiped out big time last Saturday, Sept. 19, falling to the Ole Miss Rebels, 43-37, and toppling out of the Top 10 in the NCAA’s rankings. Turning the football over five times is not going to win ball games, believe it or not. A defensive team at heart, Alabama needs to focus on limiting turnovers on offense so they can win the game on the other side of the ball. It is never a positive sign when a team has to switch quarterbacks in the middle of a game, and neither Jake Coker nor Cooper Bateman made much of a case for themselves. The Crimson Tide needs a steady hand taking the snaps under center, so coach Nick Saban will need to pick the man who will take better care of the football. Always in the hunt for the championship, Alabama has room to improve but now has a lot of ground to be make up. Luckily for them, all it takes now is a top four finish to have a chance at playing in the big game.
George: The only college team that has a “major” place in my heart is our very own Lions, and they have a lot to fix continuing forward. Right now they’re 0-3, with two home losses. I’ve done my best to help. Every night before a game I sacrifice three goats while reading a prayer book written in the blood of blessed pigs. I’ve tried getting in contact with the College’s football coach, Wayne Dickens, about my performance enhancing potion (three cloves of garlic, the blood of a pig sow and three pints of Gatorade) but he has not gotten back to me. If you’re reading this coach, I can totally help.
Matthew gets 3 points for pointing out Alabama’s falling rank. George gets 2 points because he isn’t wrong and Sean gets 1 point for USC’s strong start.
Matthew wins Around the Dorm 7-6-5