Take 5: Ohtani, Olympics, Optimism about the Jets and more


U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob Wood

The New York Jets enter the field at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Oct. 10, 2021.

By The Pitt News Staff

Optimism ran wild in this week’s Take 5, so much so that even the lowly New York Jets are being considered a beacon of hope instead of a football black hole. Writers were also bullish on Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani, who could be the future of baseball, and Arizona men’s basketball head coach Tommy Lloyd, already a national coach of the year candidate in just his first year at the helm.

The Jets will improve next year // Alexander Ganias, Staff Writer

It’s hard to look at the New York Jets and take them seriously. They currently own the longest active playoff drought in the NFL and the longest active Super Bowl drought of teams that have won at least one. But Gang Green now has a solid base, off which they can properly rebuild.

The 2020 Draft’s second overall pick, quarterback Zach Wilson was off to a less-than-optimal start to his rookie season before he injured his PCL in week seven. The BYU product threw only four touchdowns and nine interceptions in his first six games. But upon returning, he improved by throwing five touchdowns and completing about 54% of his passes.

And he’s not the only piece the Jets can build around. Wide receiver Elijah Moore looks to be one of Wilson’s top targets in the coming seasons, and running back Michael Carter looks like the Jets’ clear top back. Talented young players C.J. Mosley and Quincey Williams will anchor the linebacking core, while Bryce Hall, Brandin Echols and Michael Carter II solidify the secondary.

The Jets will need to make some tough decisions during free agency and the NFL Draft. But if they make the right moves, then not only will they improve this season, but many more seasons after that, although that is far from a sure thing for New York’s front office.

Don’t blame Kamila Valieva for her country’s sins // Zack Gibney, Senior Staff Writer

Kamila Valieva — the Russian Olympic figure skater who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs after winning the gold medal in figure skating — has dominated headlines at the Beijing Olympics. In a surprising decision, the International Olympic Committee cleared Valieva to skate for the remainder of the games and approved her gold medal victory. 

To the shock of none, many are outraged with the decision, which sets a precedent that certain performance enhancing drugs can be used within the sport with no repercussions.

With that being said, those who are understandably upset need to be careful as to where they are directing their anger and criticism.

Valieva is 15 years old. The wrongdoing doesn’t fall squarely on her shoulders, but rather those of the deplorable adults around her who gave her the supplements to begin with. This is not to say that Valieva is blameless but saying no to adults you have looked up to your entire life is easier said than done.

The adults in Valieva’s life who green-lighted doping should serve as a reminder as to why the Russian flag shouldn’t be flown at an international sporting event for the foreseeable future.

Arizona can win it all in Lloyd’s first year // Kyle Saxon, Senior Staff Writer

The University of Arizona Wildcats against the University of Michigan Wolverines in 2021. (Image by Marc-Grégor Campredon)

As Selection Sunday rapidly approaches, there is plenty of discourse surrounding which teams can come out of the beloved NCAA Tournament as national champions. While people may be more comfortable putting the fate of their bracket in the hands of perennial contenders such as Kentucky, Gonzaga and Kansas, there is one team that has not received nearly enough consideration –– the Arizona Wildcats.

In the first year of his tenure, head coach Tommy Lloyd is the clear frontrunner for national coach of the year. His Wildcats boast a 22-2 overall record, No. 3 national ranking and sit amongst the top ten teams in the nation in both offensive and defensive efficiency on KenPom.

While many people may assume a first year head coach implies that the team around him is also young and inexperienced, Arizona defies expectations. The Wildcats feature a bonafide national player of the year candidate in sophomore guard Bennedict Mathurin and one of the most imposing interior forces in the country in junior center Christian Koloko. They also have quality depth and experience to boot.

Arizona has largely disappeared from the national spotlight for a few years now, but do not write off the Wildcats. Lloyd has a serious opportunity to cut down the nets in New Orleans in the very first year of his tenure.

Shohei Ohtani is the future of baseball // Jermaine Sykes, Staff Writer

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani bats during a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 10, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Image taken by Keith Allison)

2021 in baseball was the year of Shohei Ohtani. His historic two-way season won him unanimous American League MVP honors and landed him on the cover of the MLB The Show 22 video game.

The MLB has found its new face of the league and it’s Ohtani.

Heading into the 2022 MLB season — whenever that is — fans everywhere will have their eyes on one player. Whether on the mound or in the batter’s box, Ohtani has the talent to fill stadiums all across the league.

No one has pitched and hit as well as Ohtani since Babe Ruth in the 1920s. The art of playing two ways has largely died, but Ohtani is single-handedly resurrecting it. If Ohtani maintains this production for years to come, his name will hold just as much weight as Ruth’s.

Ohtani’s Japanese origins make some people skeptical to name him the face of “America’s favorite pastime.” But times are changing. The MLB is continuing to bloom as an international league and it’s time for everyone to embrace Ohtani as the one to lead baseball into the future.

Carson Wentz to Steelers is a perfect match // Brian Sherry, Staff Writer

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz attempts a pass during a game against the Washington football team on Sept. 10, 2017. (Image taken by Keith Allison)

Rumors began circulating this week that the Indianapolis Colts may part ways with quarterback Carson Wentz. One team that could be rooting for Wentz’s release is the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are in the market for a new quarterback after their 18-year veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retired this season.

Both quarterbacks share similar play styles and builds, making Wentz a logical successor to Roethlisberger. Both quarterbacks are exceptionally tall, coming in each at 6-foot-5. Wentz also played under a similar offensive scheme to the Steelers in Indianapolis, which could translate to an easy transition.

This scenario obviously depends on Indianapolis cutting Wentz, which seems increasingly likely. The Steelers could ultimately bring in Wentz and use him as a short-term solution to their quarterback predicament, while looking to the draft for a younger, more long-term answer.