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September 6, 2013
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Expect route when Pack battle Aggies

Sports fodder for a Friday morning ... The UC Davis Aggies are an awful football team. They aren’t even competitive in the Football Championship Sub-division (Division I-AA). The Aggies lost to a South Dakota team last week that won just one game all of last season. The Nevada Wolf Pack’s toughest challenge on Saturday will be their stroll through the parking lot as they pose for photos and sign autographs and sample the tailgaters pre-game dinner on their way to the stadium. The Wolf Pack should win coach Brian Polian’s first home game by six or seven touchdowns, something along the lines of 49-7. But if they don’t, if they fail to cover the three-touchdown spread — if they even allow more than 14 points — Polian is going to start wishing he waited until a better head coaching offer came around.

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The Wolf Pack, though, could be headed to a very respectable 8-4 or 9-3 regular season despite its ugly 58-20 loss at UCLA last weekend. The optimism has nothing to do with what happened at UCLA. It has everything to do with the mediocre Mountain West. The conference went 3-9 last weekend with the only victories coming over Colgate, Rutgers and Sacramento State. San Diego State got destroyed by Eastern Illinois and Boise State was pummeled by Washington. The Mountain West has fewer victories right now than any Football Bowl Sub-division conference in the nation. Now we know why there was so much optimism surrounding Wolf Pack football the past seven months. It’s not because the Pack got better. It’s because everybody else got worse.

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Be patient with new Wolf Pack defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton. Yes, his defense looked horrible last week. But the Pack will only play two more offenses (Florida State and Fresno State) the rest of the year as talented and efficient as what they saw last week. Hazelton is trying to install a new defense at Nevada. His players were understandably caught out of position and confused last week in their first game. They will get better. Nobody expects the Pack to turn into the 1985 Chicago Bears. It’s more about baby steps (forcing the other team to punt?) with this Pack defense. Give it some time.

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The San Francisco 49ers will not lose more than four games this year (including the playoffs). They might not lose more than two. Why the 49ers are not everybody’s pick to win the Super Bowl is a mystery. Why Colin Kaepernick is not being touted as one of the top five quarterbacks in the league is an even bigger mystery. The 49ers, in fact, could win four or five Super Bowls in the next seven or eight years. Kaepernick is the Babe Ruth of the pistol offense. Nobody has ever run that offense better. And nobody has ever figured out a way to stop him. The difference between Kaepernick now and the Kaepernick we saw at Nevada is that now Kaepernick has a defense.

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The Oakland Raiders across the Bay are in an entirely different situation. The Raiders are looking at four wins tops. Don’t forget they do get to play the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs twice and the Jacksonville Jaguars once. The biggest Raider game of the year, though, will be Dec. 8 when they head east to take on the New York Jets in the Jadeveon Clowney Bowl. Clowney, after all, is the perfect Raider — a wonderful talent who only plays hard about a dozen plays a game.

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The Wolf Pack will put Chris Ault’s name on its plastic and rubber field at Mackay Stadium on Saturday night. Will it be a touching ceremony or will it produce the typical yawn and disinterest that most forced Wolf Pack ceremonies on the field at Mackay Stadium bring forth from the crowd? Pack players seem relieved that Ault is gone. One recalled this week how Ault once fell asleep in a team meeting and another said Ault used to make him feel about three inches tall. But you must understand that players are like puppy dogs. They are loyal only to the guy currently putting food in their bowl. Pack fans, though, need to do the right thing on Saturday and give Ault a standing ovation that lasts about 10 minutes. This is the first public opportunity — and it might be the last — for Pack fans to show Ault how much they appreciated what he did.

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A year ago Johnny Manziel was an example of everything that is right about college football. A young man full of energy and confidence beating the odds and going out on the field and entertaining a nation. Manziel now is the example of everything that is wrong about the over hyped and bloated sport. He’s a pampered, spoiled brat who has had far too much success far too early and keeps getting away with every bad decision he makes. Everybody keeps making excuses for him, from his head coach to the NCAA. Even Peyton Manning. It has to stop.



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The Nevada Appeal Updated Sep 6, 2013 01:27AM Published Sep 6, 2013 01:27AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.