In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, “Ref” and all around punny guy Tom Ballard asks our panel of three experts — Sean Reis, George Tatoris and Miguel Gonzalez— three questions: Who deserved to win the Ryder Cup? Who has the most to lose as the Chase for the Sprint Cup reaches its final lap? Do you give applause to the NFL’s 2016 Super Bowl halftime headliner or is it a bad romance?
1. After such a close competition, who deserved to win the 2016 Ryder Cup?
Sean: ‘Merica! Actually… I don’t know. As of early afternoon on Saturday, Oct. 1, Team USA had a slight lead over its comrades from across the pond, but Team Europe has a couple of very strong pairings for the four-ball competition. Rory McIlory and Thomas Pieters will be a tough team to beat up against Dustin Johnson’s duo, as well as our golden boy Jordan Spieth going up against two of Europe’s finest with Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson. These two European pairings each got off to early leads on Saturday, but hopefully Team USA can turn it around after I submit this answer because I pick Team USA to clinch this year’s Ryder Cup. After all, what kind of Patriot would I be if I picked the enemy to beat us?
George: I think Europe for the sole reason they invented the sport of golf and went through a lot to just get the sport accepted by society. Imagine you’re a large Gaelic soldier for a minute, affectionately called Big Mac by your peers. You’re playing a round of golf and your kinsman, McGriddle, says to you, “Oi, Big Mac dinnae dae that!” You respond, “What are you talkin’ aboot, numpty! I’m only playin’ gowf.” “Ain’t you heard?” asks McGriddle. “King James has banned it.” You throw your club to the ground. Even though you are a large Gaelic soldier who has stared death in the face, you start bawling because that’s just how much you love golf. Scotland banned golf twice in its history: in 1471 and 1491, but the sport just kept coming back. At one point, politicians were afraid to play golf at the risk of being torn apart by detractors for playing the sport, which is what happened to Mary, Queen of Scots. Europeans had to fight for their right to golf. Americans cannae appreciate that kind of devotion.
Miguel: Man Tom, you are really challenging me here. The MLB playoffs are approaching. The New York Mets just clinched the wild card. There was a slew of ranked College Football matches this past Saturday (except if you’re Rutgers). The Philadelphia Eagles are on a hot 3-0 start with young quarterback straight outta North Dakota and you want to talk about NASCAR and golf? Now that you mention the Ryder Cup, I should have flown to Chaska, Minn., to place a bet against McIlory and get some money, just like David Johnson did. I think United States should win the cup in honor of Golf Legend Arnold Palmer. The Americans have a three-point lead over Team Europe thanks to great performances by the duos Ryan Moore and J.B. Holmes, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar, and Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth. However, Team Europe is not far behind because of its dominant performances last Friday, Sept. 30. Both teams have an equal chance at claiming the Cup as long as Reed can keep up with McIlroy. Overall, all I’m saying now is USA! USA! USA!
Sean gets 2 points for balancing patriotism and analysis. George gets 1 point for historical inaccuracy. Miguel gets 1 point because who cares about the Mets?
2.With the 2016 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup Series already underway, who has the most to lose next week going into Charlotte, N.C.?
Sean: NASCAR can be a dangerous game. There’s always a lot to lose as you circle a track and make left turn after left turn at over 200 miles-per-hour speeds. Specifically, with the Chase for the Sprint Cup underway, the driver with the most to lose has to be the man currently on top, Brad Keselowski. He’s first right now, but compared to the two drivers behind him, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch, he has led an extremely low number of laps, 451 laps led to Truex Jr.’s 1,407 and Busch’s 1,268. Keselowski has four wins and he’s finished all his races, 26 of 28 being top 20 finishes, but he’s a late-game racer and he doesn’t spend much time leading until when it matters most. Keselowski needs to stay ahead of the pack as the Chase for the Sprint Cup continues or he will find himself outside of victory lane.
George: I’d say youngblood Kyle Larson has the most to lose next week. Larson missed his chance to finish the Chase two years ago and is hanging on by a thread this year. If he doesn’t do well this year, he might follow in the footsteps of many other one-and-done Chase drivers who failed to qualify again later in their career. Elliott Sandler and Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace both finished close to last in the Chase and never qualified for it again. In 2009, Brian Vickers of the now-defunct Red Bull team won the first Cup race, but finished the Chase dead last. Perhaps most ominous, Juan Pablo Montoya, whom Larson replaced as the driver of No. 42, became the first foreign-born driver to qualify for the Chase, but never qualified again in his NASCAR career.
Miguel: Look Tom, I don’t know much about NASCAR, but here’s what I do know. Kyle Busch seems to have a lot pressure on his steering wheel as the reigning Sprint Cup Series champion. He has yet to qualify for the Chase Round of 12, while Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick are preparing for the race in Charlotte. I can also argue that Jimmie Johnson has too much at stake at the twilight of his career. Johnson will need to perform well at Dover if he wants to vie for a seventh championship. Nevertheless, Johnson is already a legend and does not have to win five consecutive championships to tell you that. On the other hand, Joey Logano needs to finish in the top five if he wants to maintain his fifth position standing. Logano may be young, but he has a lot to prove if he wants to be like Johnson and Tony Stewart one day.
Sean gets 3 points for analyzing laps. George gets two points for mentioning one-and-done Chase drivers. Miguel gets 2 points for reflecting on past Chase champs.
3. Do you give applause to the NFL for their 2016 halftime announcement or do you think it’s a bad romance?
Sean: First and foremost, “You and I” were on the same page with these puns. I think Gaga and the NFL will be on “The Edge of Glory” during this year’s halftime show because even though you can “Do What U Want,” no one will be able to control themselves and will “Just Dance.” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell better put on his “Poker Face” for this one because the “Paparazzi” will be all over him after this show. Seriously, the Illuminati’s Gaga will be the “Perfect Illusion” as this year’s performer. All puns aside, I truly have to give the NFL my “Applause” for this decision.
George: I hope the Steelers make it all the way this year because I hear tackle “Alejandro” Villanueva is a big Gaga fan. He may “Just Dance” his way onstage. I’m a “Heavy Metal Lover” myself, but I think Gaga has a great attitude that translates well to a large stage like that of the Super Bowl halftime show. I hope I don’t sound like a “Judas” Iscariot when I say I don’t really like her music that much, but I do think she has amazing showmanship. I hope she brings up guests, too — maybe David Blaine because he could perform the “Perfect Illusion” for the crowd. If that happens, I might just pick up my “Telephone” and call my mom because she loves Blaine. She’d be absolutely “Starstruck.”
Miguel: I can only imagine what’ll happen at Super Bowl LI. Johnny Manziel will be at the bar thinking about the “LoveGame” he used to have with the “Paparazzi.” Goodell will be flaunting how much of a “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich” “G.U.Y.” he is. Tim Tebow will envision himself at his former “Edge of Glory,” while defeating “Judas” and praying for “Bloody Mary.” Josh Gordon will continue his “Highway Unicorn” chase after “Jewels n’ Drugs” under an “Aura” of “Dope.” Yet, the main attraction of the show will be Cam Newton’s “Fashion!” along with Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman’s everlasting “Bad Romance.” Because, you know, they’ll always be “Boys, boys, boys.” Who can also forget that Tom Brady will reveal his inner “Americano” and leave his competition “Starstruck” (except Peyton Manning, who has to worry about his “bad kids”). Honestly, I don’t think Gaga will seizing “The Fame” nor captivate the audience with her “Artpop.” Rather, Gaga will sing her heart out just like her national anthem performance.