Pack’s season is really about two games
October 18, 2013
Sports fodder for a Friday morning … College football, especially in the Mediocre West Conference, is a very forgiving animal. There is always a division title to win, a conference title to grab, a bowl game to win and a rivalry game to claim a gaudy trophy. You just can't lose in college football. Heck, Nevada Wolf Pack coach Brian Polian has said repeatedly all year that the Pack is playing 12 separate seasons this year, one for each game. So, by Polian's theory, the 3-3 Pack has already won three championships. Everybody is a winner in college football. It's youth soccer with shoulder pads and million dollar coaches. Well, for those of us in the real world, the Wolf Pack season comes down to two games. It has always come down to two games — at Boise State on Saturday and at Fresno State on Nov. 2. If the Pack loses both of those key Mountain West games all they'll have left to show for this season is a juice box and an orange slice.
The Wolf Pack can win at Boise State. In theory. Boise's defense is no longer the same defense that terrorized the Western Athletic Conference — and kept Chris Ault up at nights — for a decade. This is also not the Kellen Moore-Austin Pettis- Doug Martin-Titus Young Bronco offense. Times have changed. Boise is now a good football team. Their era of greatness ended when Moore left after the 2011 season. Boise is no longer even the best team the Pack will play this year. In fact, they might be just the fourth best this year after Florida State, UCLA and Fresno State. Wolf Pack quarterback Cody Fajardo will be the best player on the field on Saturday. That alone gives the Pack a legitimate chance to give Polian his first signature win.
Deonte Burton continues to be disrespected by the national media. CBSSports.com and its group of unknown, unqualified, uninformed so-called sports experts, rated the Wolf Pack senior point guard as just the 71st best player in the country and just the third best in the Mountain West behind Kendall Williams and Alex Kirk of New Mexico. Really? Alex Kirk? Here's the real deal on Burton. He is no lower than the 25th best player in the nation. Put him in the Pac-12 and he'd be Top 15. Williams is the reigning Mountain West Player of the Year but if Burton played for New Mexico last year he'd be in the NBA right now.
Every time an Irsay opens his mouth, a little bit of the NFL's soul dies. Indianapolis Colts vice chairman Jim Irsay went out of his way this week to point out that Peyton Manning won just one Super Bowl for the Colts. It was a classless thing to say with Manning headed back to central Indiana to play the Colts this weekend. Classless and Irsay, though, go together. Irsay's father Robert, after all, moved the Colts from Baltimore to Indy in the middle of the night and embarrassed himself and his family each time he got in front of a microphone or camera. Even his own mother once said of Bob Irsay, "He's a devil on earth." Even Colts fans will likely get a kick out of watching Manning beat Irsay's team this weekend.
Like father, like son. Bob Irsay traded John Elway. Jim Irsay cut Peyton Manning. Elway and Manning are now together in Denver and will likely celebrate just a little in private this weekend after the Broncos crush the Colts. Jim Irsay also fired Brian Polian's father Bill and brother Chris after a season in which Manning didn't play because of a neck injury. Bill Polian should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Peyton Manning will be in the Hall of Fame. Irsay won't be allowed anywhere near Canton for fear that he will back a moving van up to the front door in the middle of the night and steal all the displays.
Head coach Bobby Hauck and the UNLV Rebels did what they were supposed to do. They beat four awful teams in a row — Central Michigan, Western Illinois, New Mexico and Hawaii — and now have a four-game winning streak and the best record in the state of Nevada at 4-2. The last four games probably saved Hauck's job for another year because, well, the city of Las Vegas doesn't expect all that much out of its Division I football program. Hey, if the Rebels bring the Fremont Cannon back to Las Vegas later this month a few people outside the Sam Boyd Stadium parking lot might even learn Hauck's name.
It is very commendable that men's professional sports leagues have embraced Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But can they just tone down all the pink a bit? Pink — especially the glow in the dark version — is the ugliest color you can put on a uniform. It gives the viewer a headache. You watch a NFL game and all your eyes see is all the pink flashing across the screen and not the football. We don't want to go all Project Runway on you, but that shade of pink goes with none of the other colors normally found on earth. You can see it from space. Even fans of the Houston Astros in the early 1980s have to turn their heads away when exposed to that much shocking pink. But teams are going crazy with it now. Pink socks, pink shoes, pink gloves. The Oregon Ducks are going to wear pink helmets. Enough already.
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