Fodder: Win could change Nevada's fortune

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . This is the moment Chris Ault has been waiting for his entire coaching life. It's the moment the Nevada Wolf Pack football program has been longing for since the first brick was put in place at Morrill Hall. Beating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, especially in South Bend, would change football up on North Virginia Street - and in the entire state of Nevada - forever. The Wolf Pack (and Ault) would no longer be the Biggest Little Secret west of Denver. Beating Notre Dame is the type of victory that is a program-changing, we-have-finally-arrived event. The American Football League needed to beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. The USA hockey team had to beat Russia in 1980. The American colonists had to defeat the British. And, yes, Y.E. Yang had to stun Tiger Woods. This is your moment, Wolf Pack.

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Everything is set up perfectly for a Wolf Pack upset. It's the first game of the season so nobody really knows what the other guy is going to do. This is the biggest game in the history of Wolf Pack football. The Notre Dame players probably couldn't find Reno on a map. The one head coach on the sidelines Saturday that is in the College Football Hall of Fame will be wearing Silver & Blue. The best player on the field (Colin Kaepernick) will be coached by that Hall of Fame coach. The ghost of the Gipper won't be able to save the Irish. All of the pressure (the Irish alumni will call for Charlie Weis' job by Saturday night if the Pack wins) will be on Notre Dame. The Irish had one Rudy 30 years ago. The Wolf Pack will have a team of Rudys on Saturday.

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Notre Dame's season will be ruined with a loss to the Wolf Pack. This is a program that expects to breeze through all of its non-USC games and slide into a BCS bowl game. This is the year that is supposed to validate Weis as a head coach. What would a loss do to the Wolf Pack? Absolutely nothing. Nobody expects the Pack to win Saturday. This is a program, after all, that never beats big-name, non-conference foes on the road. Remember Cal in 1996? Oregon State in 1998? Oregon in 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2003? BYU in 2001? Washington State in 2002? Arizona State in 2006? Nebraska and Northwestern in 2007? Missouri last year? OK, they did beat Cal in Berkeley in 1903, Oregon in Eugene in 1947 and Stanford in Palo Alto in 1900 but anything before the birth of cell phones, television timeouts or Kirk Herbstreit doesn't count, right?

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The Wolf Pack is a two-touchdown underdog this weekend. First of all, Notre Dame shouldn't be a 14.5-point favorite against anybody. Have you seen that team the last two years? And, second of all, have you seen that team the last two years? If you can get more than 14 points, take them, Pack fans.

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Danny Sheridan of USA Today made Florida a 73-point favorite against Charleston Southern this week. Now, Sheridan doesn't take anybody's money, so it really doesn't matter. But it's about time somebody told the world how much of a joke it is for a team like Florida to even entertain the idea of playing a Charleston Southern. If a team like the Wolf Pack played Charleston Southern, the national media would use it as an example of why a school like Nevada could never win a national title even with an undefeated record. The Gators shouldn't even allow Tim Tebow to play against Charleston Southern.

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The NCAA wants football teams to shake hands before games now. Are they kidding? A bunch of 6-year-old Little Leaguers who wear their hats, pants and their athletic supporters backwards and their shoes on the wrong feet don't even shake hands before the game. What, exactly, is the point of five- or six-dozen football players on each team shaking hands before the game? We understand how the NCAA is required to treat every sport exactly the same. But football is not women's tennis. What do you think would have happened if the Wolf Pack was forced to shake hands before the game with UNLV at Mackay Stadium in 1995? We probably would have found out if the Fremont Cannon could fire a real cannonball.

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If the Los Angeles Dodgers fail to make the playoffs this season, Joe Torre needs to disappear. Torre is already the author of the biggest choke in pro sports history (the 2004 ALCS against Boston). If the Dodgers' season ends short of the post-season this year, it is time for Torre to go play golf and clear his calendar for appearances at the new Yankee Stadium on Old Timers' Day.

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