Giants show it takes a whole roster to win
November 2, 2012
Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . The San Francisco Giants’ second World Series title in three years should be a wake-up call for all of major league baseball that you don’t need superstars at every position to win. The Giants, in fact, didn’t even need two of their own best players (Melky Cabrera, Brian Wilson) to win this year. Baseball is and always will be the ultimate team sport because it only requires 25 gritty players coming together as a unit to compete unselfishly every single night. So let everyone else throw gobs of money at Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke and others this winter. The Giants will just come back in the spring with a bunch of gamers and competitors and be right in the thick of the race again.
On the surface it looks like Steve Spurrier has gone from ole ball coach to ole paste-eating dimwit when he says the Alabama Crimson Tide could beat some NFL teams right now. After all, didn’t Spurrier prove as the Washington Redskins coach that he knows absolutely nothing about beating NFL teams? But there’s a lot of truth to what Spurrier said. The NFL has a bunch of bad teams who could not care less about winning. A group of college all-stars won nearly 25 per cent of the time (9-of-40 with two others resulting in a tie) against the defending NFL champions from 1934-76. There’s no way the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns and about a dozen others would ever beat the defending champs.
The Nevada Wolf Pack needs an extraordinary set of developments over the next month in order to grab a share of the Mountain West football title. First of all, the Pack, which is licking its wounds right now thanks to a much-needed bye week, needs to beat Fresno State, New Mexico and Boise State. That alone is enough of a challenge. But they also need someone else to beat Boise and the Broncos haven’t lost two games in a season, let alone in a month, since 2007. If Boise beats San Diego State this Saturday then the race is over before the Pack can even get back on the field because the Broncos won’t lose to Hawaii or Colorado State.
The Wolf Pack has already become bowl eligible — you just need to know that the shoulder pads go under the jersey to do that — but don’t make your postseason plans just yet. The Mountain West is affiliated with five bowls but the Pack could finish sixth or lower in the league if it ends up 6-6 overall and 3-5 in conference. The Pack could still go to a bowl even at 6-6 because Boise could get a BCS bid and the conference could even get a sixth bowl if not enough teams are eligible around the country. But if that happens, if the Pack finishes 6-6 with losses in its last five games, the university should do the honorable thing and decline any and all bowl invites.
The Wolf Pack men’s basketball team will open its season this Tuesday on election night against Oregon Tech. So even if your favorite candidates don’t win on Tuesday you will likely be able to celebrate a Pack victory. The Hustlin’ Owls – how do you know when an owl is hustling? — won the NAIA Division II national title last year but they graduated their top three scorers off that team and shouldn’t put up much of a fight against the Pack, a team coming off a 28-win season. But funny things have been known to happen on election day.
This Pack men’s basketball team might be in for an eye-opening season in its first year in the Mountain West. The move to the Mountain West is, without question, the toughest for the hoops team when compared to the transition the football and baseball teams have to go through. And, as we’ve seen, it hasn’t been easy for football. Mountain West men’s basketball is not a walk in the park with UNLV, San Diego State and New Mexico, three programs that just expect to go to the NCAA tournament every year. The Pack was fairly picked by the league’s media to finish fifth this year. The Pack’s biggest question is whether or not anyone can rebound and play defense in the paint. If the answer to that question is not a positive one, well, it could lead to some very difficult nights this season.
Most NFL games put me to sleep by the end of the first beer or cell phone commercial but Cam Newton against Robert Griffin III is extremely interesting this week. The question with these two amazing young quarterbacks is not whether or not they can play. Both are already among the top 10 quarterbacks in the league. The issue is whether or not they will ever win a Super Bowl. It took Peyton Manning and John Elway a long time to win a title and Dan Marino never won one. So patience is required even for great quarterbacks. Panthers and Redskins fans just need to sit back and enjoy the ride over the next decade.
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