Wolf Pack warm, but not quite 'white-hot'

By Joe Santoro

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

If you are a Wolf Pack fan, there were a lot of things to be excited about with Nevada's 49-13 victory over Grambling State last Saturday night. Nice win, nice crowd (it looked much nicer than the announced figure of 20,078), nice halftime show. It was a nice way to open a season. But that's all it was. Nice. It really didn't mean anything. Mediocre Division I-AA teams are a nice way to open a season. The Pack season, though, starts Saturday.

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Does the Wolf Pack have a chance against No. 12 Texas Tech? They have a great chance. The Pack could shock the nation this Saturday. Why? Well, Texas Tech gave up 24 points at home to Eastern Washington. Texas Tech led Eastern Washington just 35-24 after three quarters last weekend. Texas Tech committed 18 penalties last week. Eastern Washington passed for 341 yards against Texas Tech. You also better factor in the fact that the Pack offense will have a chip on its shoulder this week. Texas Tech's spread offense has become a national phenomenon. Nobody outside the Western Athletic Conference and east of Winnemucca has heard of the Pack's Pistol offense. You bet the Pack has a chance.

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There were a few Wolf Pack red flags that poked their ugly heads out of the FieldTurf last Saturday against Grambling. The Pack turned the ball over three times. That can't happen against Texas Tech. Also, how does a team that outgains its opponent 426-5 on the ground somehow lose the time of possession battle? That also just can't happen against Texas Tech.

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The Wolf Pack, for some reason, wants its fans to come to Mackay Stadium Saturday night dressed in white. Are we missing something? The school colors, last time we checked, are navy blue and silver. Pick one. Did the athletic department get a good deal on the 15,000 white Thundersticks it is going to hand out to fans entering the stadium? While we applaud the effort to color coordinate the fans (there's nothing, after all, more annoying than fans' outfits clashing with each other in the bleachers), the color scheme is a bit random. It made sense for the Miami Heat a few years ago in the playoffs with their white-hot Heat theme. White-hot Wolf Pack? It doesn't have the same ring to it.

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Former Kansas Jayhawks basketball players Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur were caught with marijuana in their hotel rooms recently at the NBA's Rookie Transition Program. The NBA, obviously, doesn't teach rookies how to stash their weed where nobody can find it. Something tells me that is a skill that rookies can actually use as they made the transition to a life of too much money and too much free time on their hands. By the way, it might also be time for the University of Kansas coaches to make a few surprise visits to a few dorm rooms during the season.

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On another story from the "Sports Builds Character, Doesn't It?" file, running back Tatum Bell stole luggage belonging to the Detroit Lions' Rudi Johnson out of the locker room this week. Johnson was in the Lions' offices signing his contract when Bell, the guy Johnson was replacing on the roster, was in the process of leaving the team. Bell got about $200 and some credit cards. Maybe Bell was just trying to add something to his resume to try and fill Johnson's old roster spot with the Cincinnati Bengals, a team that knows a thing or two about guys who run afoul of the law. Hey, you can't fault a guy for trying to make himself attractive to a prospective employer, can you?

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Since we mentioned the subject of the white-hot Miami Heat and former Kansas players, former Reno High School center David Padgett will be in the Heat's training camp next month trying to make his first NBA regular season roster. Padgett, who has battled injuries since his sophomore year in high school, has done a remarkable job of just making sure he is healthy as he enters the NBA. Padgett, who is going to make a great coach someday like his dad and grandfather, has a good chance of sticking with the Heat in some sort of capacity. Miami only has Jamaal Magliore and Mark Blount ahead of Padgett on the roster (Alonzo Mourning is also just a phone call away) but there is always room for a smart, hard-working 7-footer in the NBA.

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The New York Yankees are not going to make the playoffs this fall. What in the world is ESPN going to talk about in October? Well, there is always the Red Sox and those 55 segments about what the Yankees are going to do this off-season. But other than that, they might have to actually talk about something interesting for a change. Here's an idea, since Yankee Stadium is going to sit vacant this October, why not stage the World Series in the House That Ruth Built one last time? You know, for nostalgia's sake?

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Official scorer Bob Webb, as well as Major League Baseball, robbed Milwaukee Brewers pitcher C.C. Sabathia of a no-hitter this week. Pittsburgh Pirates hitter Andy LaRoche was credited with the only hit in the game last Sunday on a slow roller to the mound. All Sabathia had to do was bend over, pick up the ball between his legs, make an easy throw and he would have retired LaRoche by 10 feet. That's a hit in Tee Ball where it is considered bad form to give an error to a 6-year-old who has his or her glove on the wrong hand but it is an obvious error in the big leagues even for a 300-pound pitcher who can't bend over. It was a horrible ruling that robbed Sabathia, the Brewers, major league baseball and the fans in the stands of a nice moment. Where's instant replay when you need it?

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The Chicago Cubs didn't think that a century of mediocrity was going to be easy to wipe away, did they? The Cubs, in case you are a Giants fan and stopped paying attention to baseball in May, are remembering that they are the Cubs. Pitchers Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden are currently hurt and the offense is drying up. The Cubs will still make the playoffs but without a healthy Zambrano and Harden, the streak will go to 101 and counting.

 

 

   

 

 

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