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Cotton Bowl Football

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence drops back to pass against Notre Dame during the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29. In this week's Five on Five, the Billings Gazette panelists discuss if freshmen should be eligible or the NFL draft. 

1. Will new Broncos coach Vic Fangio turn things around in Denver?

Letasky: Yes. Defense wins championships and this Denver defense is still pretty good. With some stability/composure on offense, Denver is back in the playoffs. 

Scherting: Can he find a good quarterback?

Kusek: Defense was never the problem for Denver. They needed a head coach who can improve the Broncos quarterback situation and offense overall.

Flores: He obviously needs a quarterback, but his defenses in San Francisco and Chicago were/are among the NFL's best, which bodes well for Denver.

Doak: I doubt he'll do it in his first season, unless he can find both a good quarterback and a sturdy offensive line.

2. Should the Eagles go with Nick Foles or Carson Wentz as their QB of the future?

Letasky: It's a win-now league. Go with Foles. Wentz could be traded in order to gain other valuable players. 

Scherting: Even though it's still just potential, you have to roll the dice on Wentz. Hot or not, you know who Foles is.

Kusek: Nick Foles has the confidence of his teammates and he's delivered. The Eagles need to stay with Foles for now and the future.

Flores: I can't believe I have to write this, but it's usually smarter to go with a younger, more talented, more productive QB (Wentz) than an older one who has been mediocre for years (Foles wasn't even that good last week). 

Doak: It's a tough call. Wentz seems to be more consistent, but also more prone to injuries.

3. Given Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence's talent, should freshmen be eligible for the NFL draft?

Letasky: There have been more talented quarterbacks than Lawrence who have turned out to be busts, journeymen or mediocre at best. I wouldn't rewrite the rules based on Lawrence's past few games. 

Scherting: I fear most would get broken in half, on the field and off. But, if they want to give the NFL a try ...

Kusek: Who's to say Lawrence would be successful at the next level? College freshmen are not physically mature enough for the NFL. The landscape would be littered with failures.

Flores: Absolutely. If NFL teams think freshmen like Lawrence are good enough, let them play and earn some money.

Doak: No. What happens if they get to the NFL and are a complete bust? The disruption to their education could have long-standing effects on their future.

4. Is James Harden the best player in the NBA?

Letasky: He's probably in the top 5, and a case could probably be made for No. 1 — but I wouldn't be the one making it. 

Scherting: The Greek Freak! That's easier to type than Giannis Antetokounmpo (in fact, I cut-and-paste his name right there). And forget about me trying to pronounce the Bucks' star's name.

Kusek: No, he just gets the benefit of all, or lack of, the calls.

Flores: Harden's great and gets criticized more than he deserves, in my opinion. But LeBron James still plays in the NBA.

Doak: No. 1 in points per game, No. 3 in assists and No. 5 in steals as of my writing this. It's hard to argue with the numbers!

5. Thousands have petitioned for the Dakotas to merge into one "MegaKota." You on board?

Letasky: First I've heard about it, and no I'm not on board. This sounds kind of foolish to me. 

Scherting: I spent an entire Eastern Montana youth compiling a repertoire of North Dakota jokes. What happens to those?

Kusek: All my friends in North Dakota and South Dakota deserve some recognition. Let's make I-94 the longest drag strip in America. That would be the tourists.

Flores: Definitely. While we're at it, combine North and South Carolina, split California in two and make Puerto Rico a state.

Doak: Only if the flag features the heads on Mount Rushmore feasting on a meal of hotdish and chislic.

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