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Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

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November 23, 2012
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Friday Fodder: Kaepernick just being Kaepernick


S ports fodder for a Friday morning ... Did Colin Kaepernick's breakout performance on Monday night against the Chicago Bears really surprise you? Well, if it did you didn't pay attention from 2007-10 when he became one of the most prolific quarterbacks in NCAA history for the Nevada Wolf Pack. Kaepernick was wearing a San Francisco 49ers uniform when he threw passes to Mario Manningham, Michael Crabtree, Kyle Williams and Vernon Davis and handing off to Frank Gore under the lights at Candlestick Park. But for Pack fans it was Kaepernick throwing to Brandon Wimberly, Tray Session, Rishard Matthews and Virgil Green and handing off to Vai Taua under the lights at Mackay Stadium. And the Bears looked like the New Mexico State Aggies. Kaepernick passed for 243 yards against the Bears in his first NFL start. In his first Wolf Pack start in 2007, he passed for, you guessed it, exactly 243 yards. The entire nation discovered Monday night what Wolf Pack fans have known for half a decade. Kaepernick is a once-a-generation star.

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49ers coach Jim Harbaugh seemed to fall in love with Kaepernick as quickly as Pack fans did in 2007 when he looked the ex-Pack quarterback over in the spring of 2011. And now Harbaugh looks like the smartest coach in the NFL. The easiest thing for Harbaugh to do after the win over the Bears would have been for him to tell the media that "Alex Smith is our starting quarterback and he will play if he is physically ready." But Harbaugh came right out and said he has two quarterbacks and he's likely to play the hot hand. Kaepernick is the hottest hand in the NFL right now and Harbaugh would be foolish not to start him against the Saints this weekend. It won't be long before "Alex Who?" signs start popping up around Candlestick.

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Boise State, San Diego State and BYU, it seems, have started talking to the Mountain West about coming back to the conference. BYU left a couple years back to become an independent and Boise and San Diego State will leave after this year for the Big East. But independent football is no picnic when you are a mediocre football program like BYU, even if you have a huge ESPN deal, and the Big East is falling apart. Keeping Boise and San Diego State and getting BYU back would make the Mountain West a legitimate BCS player. It would also make the challenge facing the Wolf Pack a whole lot greater. But it's better to finish fifth in a conference that gets a BCS spot than it is to win a conference whose biggest reward is the Las Vegas Bowl.

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Grinnell's men's basketball program should be ashamed for allowing Jack Taylor, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, to jack up 108 shots (he took three shots a minute in his 36 minutes) and score 138 points this week in a 179-104 win over Faith Baptist Bible. Grinnell, a Division III school in Iowa, obviously needs SportsCenter highlights to recruit. Taylor wasn't even that hot, hitting just 52 of his 108 shots and 27-of-71 3-pointers. His teammates had a better shooting night, sinking 16-of-28 shots. You could argue that Faith Baptist's David Carson had a better night than Taylor, hitting 34-of-44 shots (all 2-pointers except for two 3-point misses) and scoring 70 points. The Wolf Pack's Keith Fuetsch, who has scored 41 points in four years, would have scored 150 points against Faith Baptist if he took 108 shots and 71 3-pointers. The game was a travesty. Grinnell had 29 steals and still allowed 104 points. Taylor had six turnovers. Two Faith Baptist players had 15 and 16 turnovers each. ESPN should be ashamed (yeah, right) for giving the mess so much hype.

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The Nevada Wolf Pack football team's win over New Mexico last Saturday wasn't pretty. But it saved the season. The Pack now doesn't have to blow up its defensive coaching staff this winter. A winning season is now guaranteed and don't be shocked if they beat Boise State next Saturday, win their bowl game and go 9-4 for one of the best Division I-A seasons in school history. That's how much the win over the Lobos meant. A loss last Saturday and the Pack was looking at a six-game losing streak to end the season and a final record of 6-7.

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The Wolf Pack basketball team is lucky it's not 0-4 right now instead of 3-1 as it heads to Marshall on Saturday night. The Pack didn't play well at all last weekend in beating Fullerton, Green Bay and Southern Utah at Lawlor Events Center. But Deonte Burton bailed them out twice in the final seconds against Fullerton and Green Bay and Southern Utah remembered it was Southern Utah. The Pack, though, deserves a ton of credit for winning games it had no right winning. That's the sign of a mentally tough team and that toughness will be needed this year in the mountain West.

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Alabama football coach Nick Saban said recently that he is in favor of a 60 or 70-team Football Bowl Subdivision that includes four of five super conferences. That opinion and arrogance shouldn't surprise anyone since it is the very same arrogance the BCS has had since it started about 15 years ago. Is the Wolf Pack one of those 60 or 70 schools Saban was referring to? Are you kidding? Take you 14 teams in the SEC, 12 in the Pac-12, Big 10 and ACC, 10 in the Big 12, eight in the Big East and Notre Dame and you have 69 teams. That doesn't leave a lot of room for the Nevadas of the world.



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The Nevada Appeal Updated Nov 23, 2012 02:40AM Published Nov 23, 2012 02:39AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.