Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal


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September 13, 2013
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Friday Fodder: Ault should have talked during ceremony

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . Don’t worry, Nevada Wolf Pack football fans. At least you are not Savannah State. The Wolf Pack might be a huge 35-point underdog Saturday afternoon at Florida State but Savannah State would have thrown a party if they were given that much respect by the odds makers last year. Savannah State was a 70-point dog last year at Doak Campbell Stadium and Florida State showed a ton of mercy by only pounding them 55-0. Odds are, it will be safe to watch the Pack’s first game in the state of Florida without covering your eyes. But keep a pillow close by, just the same.

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A victory on Saturday would have to be considered the greatest football victory in Wolf Pack history. The Wolf Pack has never won a game when they were considered a 30-plus point underdog. The win over Cal last year, over Boise in 2010, at Washington in 2003 and others in recent years were minor upsets compared to what could take place on Saturday. Yes, it wouldn’t be the equal of Appalachian State over Michigan in 2007 but a Pack win over the Seminoles would send shock waves through college football just the same. Of course, the potential of a great victory also comes with it the potential for a demoralizing loss. Think Oregon 72-10 over the Pack in 1999. Oregon 69-20 over the Pack in 2011. Florida State, though, isn’t Oregon. Think something along the lines of Florida State 38, Wolf Pack 24.

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Chris Ault should have taken the microphone and talked to the Mackay Stadium crowd last Saturday night. Ault, who was at Mackay because they were naming the field in his honor, didn’t say a word to the crowd in the pre-game ceremony. Ault’s silence didn’t make him or the university look good. They turned what should have been a heartwarming ceremony into something as meaningful as a guy wearing a pig nose coming out of the stands during a timeout and trying to catch a football. If nothing lese, Ault should have said thank you to the crowd and wished new coach Brian Polian and the Pack luck. That’s it. A 15-second speech. But that, obviously, was too much to ask.

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What is taking UNLV so long to fire head football coach Bobby Hauck? The former boy wonder of the FCS at Montana is 6-34 as the Rebels’ head coach. The Rebels are arguably the worst FBS program in the nation and have been for a very long time. The back-to-back 5-7 seasons in coach Mike Sanford’s last two years in 2008 and 2009 are now looking like the glory years at UNLV. The Rebels have had just three winning seasons since 1986. If Hauck doesn’t win at least three of the Rebels’ next four games against Central Michigan, Western Illinois, New Mexico and Hawaii, he should be fired before the Rebels come to Mackay Stadium on Oct. 26. But, then again, that would require the Rebels’ administration to actually understand that they have a football team.

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Don’t look now, but the Oakland Raiders might not be a good excuse to do some yard work or visit the in-laws on the weekends anymore. The Raiders might indeed be worth watching. The Raiders only lost at Indianapolis 21-17 last weekend which, in Raider Nation, is reason for a parade. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor is a mistake waiting to happen but at least he is interesting to watch. That alone is an improvement in Oakland. This is still a team that won’t win more than five games this year -- one of those victories better be this weekend against Jacksonville -- but they should be in most every game all season long.

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Colin Kaepernick just might be the best player in the NFL. The ex-Pack quarterback became the first San Francisco 49er to throw for 400 or more yards since Tim Rattay in 2004 when he passed for 412 against Green Bay last week. There is nothing Kaepernick can’t do on a football field. On any given week he has the potential to pass for 400 yards or run for 200. You can’t say that about any other quarterback in the league, maybe in the history of the league. Kaepernick also might be the best leader in the league. He’s 30-6 as a starter in college and the NFL since Oct. 2009. Did you see how his 49er teammates came to his rescue after Clay Matthews tried to throw him into the Bay by his neck last week? That doesn’t happen for every quarterback.

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OK, I admit it. I’d like to see Alabama slap Johnny Manziel all around the field this Saturday. It might be the best thing for Manziel in the long run. If anybody needs a little humility, it is Johnny Foot In The Mouth. I bet you won’t see him talking back to the Alabama defense this week the way he was taunting Rice.


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The Nevada Appeal Updated Sep 13, 2013 01:07AM Published Sep 13, 2013 01:07AM Copyright 2013 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.