FODDER: Golden Era for Pack? | NevadaAppeal.com

FODDER: Golden Era for Pack?

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . We are now fully submerged into the Golden Era of Nevada Wolf Pack football. The Wolf Pack is riding its first seven-game winning streak since 1995. The program received an Associated Press Top 25 poll vote this week. This is just the beginning. The Pack, right now, is well into a stretch of 23 games through the end of next season during which they just might not lose more than three games. Are we drinking the Silver & Blue Kool-Aid again? Possibly. But would it really shock you if the Pack won its last three games this year to finish with a Western Athletic Conference title, a bowl game win, a 10-game winning streak and, dare we say it, a ranking in the Top 25? This is what you’ve been waiting for, Pack fans.

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Of course, everything (as usual) hinges on the Boise State game on Nov. 27. You can argue that the Boise game in seven days is the most important game in the history of Wolf Pack football. So much is at stake. That game, win or lose, will send aftershocks well into next season. If the Pack goes to Boise the day after Thanksgiving and stuns the Broncos and all of the college football experts around the country, it will catapult them right through next season. Confidence will be sky high in 2010. What will happen in 2010 if the Pack loses next week? You can still expect nine wins but the confidence needed to beat Cal and Boise State at home and also win at BYU, well, that will be buried somewhere in the Boise blue turf on Nov. 27.

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The growing pains we warned you about with the Wolf Pack men’s basketball team hit them all at once in the final 14 minutes of its 88-75 loss to UNLV on Wednesday night. And the Pack got out of bed Thursday morning with pains in places they didn’t even know they had places. The biggest concern has to be the defense. Defense is where everything in coach David Carter’s up-tempo style begins. But let’s not forget that this program lost its top two defenders from a year ago in Lyndale Burleson and Malik Cooke. Finding college basketball players who are willing to play defense is tougher than beating Boise on that blue turf. But if somebody in the starting lineup doesn’t go back and learn from some old game films of Burleson and Cooke, this is a team that is going to wake up most mornings this season with a lot of aches and pains.

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The Buffalo Bills don’t like the way their season is going so they fire their head coach and quickly start to get cozy with Mike Shanahan. The Oakland Raiders give us Bruce Gradkowski. The only reason Al Davis can survive as an owner is because in the NFL everybody shares in the TV revenue. It doesn’t matter how many ridiculous decisions you make. You are still going to make a ton of money. If the Raiders were a baseball team, they would be the 1969 Seattle Pilots or Reno Chukars of the 1990s. Davis would have had to sell the team or move it back to Los Angeles years ago. There you go, just another reason why Major League Baseball is better than the NFL.

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Elizabeth Lambert, the New Mexico soccer player who guaranteed herself a seat at this year’s ESPY’s by pulling BYU’s Kassidy Shumway to the ground by yanking on her ponytail, said this week, “I can’t believe I did that.” Lambert shouldn’t have apologized. It was the best thing to hit women’s college soccer since the invention of shorts. My only regret is that Shumway didn’t get back up and smack Lambert. Now that would be entertaining soccer. What do you think would happen to the guy that pulls Pittsburgh Steeler Troy Polamalu to the ground by yanking on his hair? There you go, just another reason why the NFL is better than women’s college soccer.

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Charlie Weis, right now, has the same winning percentage (.583) as Notre Dame’s head coach as Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham had at Notre Dame before they were fired. What should this tell us? That Weis should be fired like Davie and Willingham? Not at all. It should tell us that the expectations surrounding the Notre Dame football program are ridiculously high. If you can win nearly 60 percent of your games with a schedule as tough as Notre Dame plays (to satisfy NBC), you shouldn’t be fired. You should be given a 5-year contract extension.

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