Two Way Street: Sports Editors Grant Huhn and Nick Eliason talk mascots, nicknames, Warriors, and more

Jerry Holt/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT

Nick Eliason and Grant Huhn

Monta Ellis is a big factor in the Warriors success this season.
Monta Ellis is a big factor in the Warriors success this season.

1. What are your Super Bowl predictions?

Nick:  Denver Broncos vs New Orleans Saints.  Do you believe in destiny?  These are two of the unlikeliest teams to make the Super Bowl.  The Saints are the Cubs of football and the Broncos were supposed to be horrible, but both are performing in a big way this year.  The Saints’ offense is unstoppable.  They average over 39 points per game, 10 more than the second place team, and almost 430 yards of total offense.  The Broncos, on the other hand, are second in the league in defense, allowing only 13 points per game.  The defense was revamped by the addition of future hall-of-fame safety Brian Dawkins.    The Broncos seem to have gotten the better end of the Kyle Orton-Jay Cutler trade.  Although he doesn’t always look pretty, Orton is 27-13 as a starter.  At the end of the day, the Saints can score 40+ points on any defense which is why they’re my pick to win the Super Bowl.

Grant: Minnesota Vikings vs Indiannapolis Colts. It’s too early in the season to go in depth about this topic, so I will keep it simple: Both teams have a very strong offense and defense. For the Vikings, it’s Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, and Iowa’s Chad Greenway (to satisfy Nick). For the Colts, it’s Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney, and Iowa’s Bob Sanders (again).  Vikings get the job done in a close Super Bowl.

2. Who is the best coach in sports?

Nick:  Minnesota Twins coach Ron Gardenhire.  The Twins’ salary amounts to $65 million a year, 26th in the majors, yet they qualify for the playoffs more often than not.  He’s the kind of coach who can do more with less.  He develops average players into great players.  Unfortunately, they have to be traded away most of the time. Also Bill Belichick.  This guy is a genius.  He cheated for years and didn’t get caught until after he won three Super Bowls.

Grant:  Mike Scioscia. As much as he bothers me (as an A’s fan), the skipper leads the Angels to the playoffs seemingly every year, consistently putting up 90+ win seasons.  Even when his star players are injured, Scioscia finds a way to win games.  He is a quality manager and one of the best coaches in all of sports, which is why he received a 10-year contract extension through 2018.

3. What are your Warriors predictions?

Grant:  The Warriors have a lot of talent, and we all know they will be a fun team to watch this season because of their style of play. But the question is whether they will be able to compete for a playoff spot. With guys like Jackson, Ellis, Morrow, Randolph, Curry, and Maggette, putting up major points will not be an issue. The key factors for the Warriors this season are chemistry and defense.  If they can mesh well together and defend the rim, then they have a chance of grabbing the last playoff spot.

Nick:  The Warriors have the potential to be a playoff team or an embarrassment this season.  Former team captain Stephen Jackson wants out and the players are losing respect for coach Don Nelson.  They at least have a point guard this year in number one draft pick Stephen Curry, who trained with Chris Paul during the offseason and has a lot of potential.  Monta Ellis is still mad about being suspended last season, and if he feels the team cannot make the playoffs, he will probably not play his best.  The same goes for Stephen Jackson.

4.  What is the worst college mascot?

Nick:  The Providence College Friar. This priest strikes fear in the hearts of opponents.  Seriously, he looks like a creeper.  Perfect for the priest stereotype as a child molester.  The mascot alone would deter me from this school.

Grant:  Dartmouth’s “Keggy” the keg. This would be an acceptable mascot if it were for a college like Chico, but for Dartmouth? A mascot is supposed to be something that represents a certain aspect of the school, so a keg just doesn’t cut it for an Ivy League school. Nice idea though.

5.  What are some should-be nicknames?

Grant:
Anthony “Sniper” Morrow: (Different kind of Sniper) The guy can flat out stroke it from long range.
Barry “The Bro” Zito: The mellow southpaw practices Zen Buddhism, and outside of baseball he is a surfer and a musician.
Stephen “Dogface” Jackson: His face closely resembles that of a pug…think about it.
Mark “Pretty Boy” Sanchez: He has that full-of-himself swagger.
Alex “A-roid, A-fraud, A-hole, A-cheats-on-his-wife” Rodriguez: I abhor this fellow.

Nick:
Tom “Why Can’t I Be Him” Brady: He’s the best quarterback in the NFL and is married to Gisele Bundchen.  If she’s pregnant then this nickname is void.
Michael “@&*%$!#” Crabtree:  Another T.O. in the making?
Ryan “The Nose” Howard: It’s the reason he is so good.
Ricky “The Manzi” Stanzi:  For those who don’t know, this is Iowa’s quarterback. Who thought Iowa would start the season 9-0?
Jordan “The Bunny” Farmar:  Those ears and he has hops.