Jury is out on Nevada football program in ‘14
June 27, 2014
Sports fodder for a Friday morning … Athlon Sports predicts the Nevada Wolf Pack football team will improve by just two games in 2014. Athlon believes the Pack, 4-8 a year ago, will finish at 6-6. The publication also predicts the Pack will finish second in the West Division of the Mountain West at 5-3. We agree the Pack will be better in 2014 than it was in 2013. They can't be worse, right? But Athlon, which also predicted a 6-6 record for the Pack last year, didn't go far enough. The Pack will be no worse than 8-4 this year and will likely be no worse than 6-2 in league play. All of the Pack's tough Mountain West games are at home and they don't even play the best quarterback (Utah State's Chuckie Keeton) in the conference.
The prediction here is the Wolf Pack will meet Utah State in the Mountain West title game. Why not? The talent in the league is way down this year, leaving the door open for a team like the Pack to go from 4-8 one year to a division title the next. The Aggies are also in position to win their division now that coach Chris Peterson has left Boise State. The Aggies and Pack also have the two best players in the conference in quarterbacks Keeton and Cody Fajardo. Unfortunately for Mountain West fans, though, the only way Keeton and Fajardo will meet on the field this year (and for the first time in their careers) is in the league title game. It would be the best quarterback duel since Colin Kaepernick vs. Kellen Moore.
The Oakland A's have agreed to sign a 10-year lease to stay at the Oakland Coliseum through the 2025 season. Why? The Coliseum is arguably the worst baseball stadium in the major leagues. Every seat it seems, is about 50 yards away from the action. The stadium is stuck in the 1970s. It's the only stadium in the nation, after all, to serve as the home field for both a major league baseball team and a National Football League team. The A's should have used this opportunity to get out of Oakland once and for all. If it wasn't for goofball owner Charlie Finley, Oakland never would have gotten a big league team in the first place. And the city has rewarded its good fortune by never supporting the franchise as well as it has deserved. This year the A's, who just might be the best team in baseball, have the 24th best attendance in the major leagues.
Does Oakland general manager Billy Beane need to win a World Series to justify his moneyball theory of building a team? Beane has done a remarkable job considering his owner has no money and his team has no fans. Beane wins with one dimensional players and a fluid roster that turns over seemingly every two or three years. Moneyball, which is simply finding value in under-appreciated players, works even if the rest of the country doesn't know it yet. They'll know this October when the A's get to the World Series.
ESPN has named its top 50 men's college basketball coaches and, although the top six have yet to be announced, we'll go out on a strong limb and say that current Wolf Pack coach David Carter and former Pack coaches Trent Johnson and Mark Fox won't be on the list. Carter and Fox have two winning seasons in the last five and Johnson has one in the last five. All three together have gone 234-251 over the last five years. There was a time not so long ago both Johnson and Fox would have been in the Top 25 on a list of the best coaches. All three of them are heading into a pivotal year of their careers.
Tim Lincecum's second no-hitter for the San Francisco Giants was a wonderful moment. But does it really count as a no-hitter if it comes against the San Diego Padres? The Padres have been no-hit nine times in their 45-year history, twice by Lincecum and three times by San Francisco Giants pitchers since 2009. The Padres were actually no-hit for a 10th time but they somehow got a hit in the 10th inning off Montreal Expos' starter Pedro Martinez in 1995. The Padres have been no-hit by a Chicago Cub (Milt Pappas in 1972) and by a guy who says he did it under the influence of LSD (Pittsburgh's Doc Ellis in 1970). Current Reno Aces manager Phil Nevin actually made the final out for the Padres in two of their nine no-hitters (both in 2001).
All of the excitement surrounding the United States soccer team in the World Cup is a bit laughable and, yes, predictable and contrived. It's similar to the Olympics. Slap a flag on it and people in this country will suddenly care about sports they can't even spell. There are a lot of fake soccer fans out there now. But that's OK. Hopefully a few of them will remain soccer fans once the World Cup is over. It's about time sports fans in this nation finally realize soccer is just as exciting as football, baseball, basketball, hockey and the World Series of Poker.
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