Joe Santoro: Gangi could be MWC’s best QB | NevadaAppeal.com

Joe Santoro: Gangi could be MWC’s best QB

Joe Santoro

Joe Santoro

Ty Gangi just might end up as the best quarterback in the Mountain West this season. That honor right now belongs to Colorado State's Nick Stevens. Stevens has thrown for more yards per game (310.8-279) and has more touchdowns (20-16), a better passer efficiency rating (153.9-137.6) and better completion percentage (62.4-57.7) than the Pack starting quarterback. But the two quarterbacks are almost inseparable in Mountain West games alone. Gangi and Stevens have both thrown 12 touchdown passes in league games while Stevens has thrown for slightly more yards (1,259-1,198) while Gangi has more completions (96-83). And, don't forget, Gangi out-passed Stevens 428-384 in Fort Collins, Colo., earlier this month in a head-to-head matchup. The fact Gangi, who lost the starting job two games into the season and sat out two full games, is even in the conversation for best Mountain West quarterback is remarkable.

•••

Going into the 2017 season hardly anyone had Gangi on their list of top Mountain West quarterbacks. Gangi, in fact, was supposed to spend the bulk of the season on the bench watching starter David Cornwell pile up fat stats in the Air Raid offense. The best quarterbacks in the conference this year were supposed to be Stevens, Boise State's Brett Rypien, Hawaii's Dru Brown and Wyoming's Josh Allen. Rypien, though, now splits time with Montell Cozart in Boise while Allen, who was projected to be a first-round NFL draft pick, has thrown for just eight touchdowns and 1,216 yards. Rypien has just two touchdowns this entire season. Gangi, with four games remaining, has a chance to turn in the most productive season by a Wolf Pack quarterback in the Mountain West era (since 2012). Cody Fajardo owns the Pack records in the Mountain West for completions (246 in 2012), yards (2,786 in 2012), touchdowns (20 in 2012) and yards per game (266.8 in 2013). Gangi could surpass all those numbers.

•••

Jeff Tedford is having the type of season at Fresno State as a rookie Mountain West head coach we thought Jay Norvell might accomplish at Nevada this year. Tedford took over a program that went 1-11 last year and didn't beat a single Division I-A team. Norvell took over a 5-7 team that, by the way, beat Fresno State in 2016. Tedford's Bulldogs, though, are 5-2 overall and a perfect 4-0 in the Wolf Pack's West Division. And, by the way, they whipped Norvell and the Pack earlier this month 41-21. Fresno State also stunned the entire conference last weekend by thrashing San Diego State 27-3. Norvell's Wolf Pack, now 1-7 overall and 1-3 in the conference, still can't figure out how to win close games, a sign of an inexperienced head coach. The difference between Tedford and Norvell? It must simply be head coaching experience. Tedford had 11 years as Cal's head coach under his belt while Norvell had never run a program before.

•••

Recommended Stories For You

The difference between Norvell and Tedford is also money. Fresno State was able to lure a head coach to a 1-11 team as experienced as Tedford because it could afford it. The Pack had to take a chance on an unproven head coach and that inexperience led to an 0-5 start. Tedford, according to the Fresno Bee, has a guaranteed base salary of $1.6 million a year. Norvell will get a base this year of $450,000 ($250,000 salary plus $200,000 for media and public appearances). Tedford is also in line to earn $2 million or more this year with incentives. He gets an extra $150,000 for winning the division, $250,000 for winning the conference title game and $50,000 more for being named Mountain West Coach of the Year. He also gets an extra $100,000 for winning six games this year and $50,000 more for each win over six. "When you're 1-11 you can't take a chance," Fresno State athletic director Jim Bartko told the Fresno Bee last spring. "We could take a risk and say, 'There's some young guy from wherever who is a receiver's coach (Norvell's specialty is wide receivers) that's going to be a great coach.' We can't afford that."

•••

It seems like the BYU Cougars, now 1-7 this year like the Wolf Pack, secretly want to become a member of the Mountain West again. The Cougars, whose entire football program might be better off taking a two-year mission after this year, will play six games against Mountain West teams this year. That's just two games short of a full Mountain West league schedule. You have to wonder how long BYU boosters will tolerate such an ugly schedule. This isn't what anyone in Provo envisioned when the Cougars said they were becoming an independent and wanted to become the Notre Dame of the West. BYU, which has already lost to Mountain West teams Boise State and Utah State, will face San Jose State, Fresno State, UNLV and Hawaii over its final four games. If the Mountain West wants to bring BYU back to the conference all it has to do is stop scheduling games against the Cougars.

•••

The Las Vegas Golden Knights are sailing through the National Hockey League. The Golden Knights are 7-1 and on a pace to become the greatest expansion team in NHL history. That title belongs to the 1993-94 Florida Panthers at 33-34-17. Of course, the Golden Knights won't win seven of every eight games this year. They've won three overtime games already and they've benefited from six consecutive games at home and the fact opposing teams are likely having problems adjusting to a trip to Las Vegas before playing a game that counts in the standings. But the Knights could remain competitive all season long because of their defense and might be in playoff contention at season's end. The Golden Knights' impressive start is nice to see considering what the city of Las Vegas has had to deal with recently.

•••

The New York Yankees are fools for getting rid of manager Joe Girardi. For some reason Girardi was never fully appreciated by the Yankees or its fans. All Girardi did for New York was win a World Series, go to the playoffs six times in 10 years and compile a record of 910-710. He never won fewer than 84 games and his Yankee teams finished first or second in seven of 10 seasons. Girardi, don't forget, had to deal with the Yankees' transition from the Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada years to the current Aaron Judge-Gary Sanchez era. In between he had lineups that included broken down stars like Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez and lineups that included Lyle Overbay, Yangervis Solarte, Brian Roberts, Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells and Jayson Nix. Girardi is one of the top five managers in baseball.

Go back to article