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July 25, 2013
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Wolf Pack football gets no respect

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . The Nevada Wolf Pack football team didn’t receive a whole lot of respect this week from the media at the Mountain West’s two-day media event in Las Vegas. The Pack was picked to finish fourth in the West Division. Boise State was picked to win the Mountain Division and Fresno State the West Division. Two teams that weren’t even in the league last year were picked ahead of the Pack: Utah State was picked second in the Mountain and San Jose State was picked third in the West. Just one Wolf Pack player — defensive linemen Brock Hekking — was named to the pre-season all-league teams. Maybe the Wolf Pack talent cupboard isn’t as well stocked as former coach Chris Ault said it was back in late December.

. . .

Boise State and Fresno State deserve to be picked to win their Mountain West divisions. But it won’t be as easy as they might think. Utah State will give Boise a battle in the Mountain Division and San Diego State, San Jose State and the Pack will challenge Fresno State in the West. If the Pack can somehow find a way to play some defense in the fourth quarter, don’t be shocked to see the Mountain West championship game at Mackay Stadium on Dec. 7.

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The Mountain West’s media party is further proof that there really is little pressure on new Pack coach Brian Polian this year. Any success Polian has at all this year will be greeted with oohs and aahs and a parade down Virginia Street. The Pack, after all, is a fourth-place team in a mediocre conference with just one all-league player. Just ask the media.

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The most surprising thing about Ryan Braun’s suspension for the rest of this Major League Baseball season is not that he was found to be connected with performance enhancing drugs once again. The surprising thing is how many people in and around the sport said they were fooled by Braun last year when he said he was innocent. Of course, Braun lied last year. Athletes lie. It’s what they do. They lie to the media every single day. They lie to the public. And when it comes to performance enhancing drugs, they will lie to their friends and family. The only one who didn’t lie this week, though, was Braun. The liars now are all the commentators and players who said they believed Braun was innocent last year.

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The next step Major League Baseball needs to take is to vacate all of the Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards given to performance enhancing drug users. Make those players literally give back the trophies and any and all financial bonuses earned by winning the awards. Reggie Bush gave back his Heisman. The NCAA took a dozen or so years of victories away from Joe Paterno. Baseball needs to start taking similar steps.

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Bud Selig and major league baseball, once again, are not handling this well. First of all, Braun got off easy. His suspension should have lasted to at least the All Star break next year. And why is it taking so long for MLB to announce all the other suspensions? Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees, for example, are inventing new ways to embarrass themselves while they wait for A-Rod’s punishment to be handed down. Selig, though, will always find a way to botch things up and make them worse than they are. The game can’t get rid of him fast enough.

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Colin Kaepernick has never been shy about showing off his vast collection of sports hats. The guy even wears hats of other NFL teams that don’t sign his paycheck. Just once, though, it would be nice to see him wearing a Nevada Wolf Pack hat in public.

Joe Santoro is the dean of Northern Nevada sports columnists

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jul 25, 2013 06:43PM Published Jul 25, 2013 06:43PM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.