Fodder: WAC not much help to Boise State

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . The Western Athletic Conference sure didn't do Boise State's Bowl Championship Series hopes any favors last weekend. Boise State, as usual, held up its end of the bargain by whipping Oregon. But then Nevada got rolled over by Notre Dame, San Jose State was embarrassed by USC, Louisiana Tech got beat by Auburn and Utah State fell to Utah. That's not how you get one of your own into the BCS title game, fellas. Boise State could go unbeaten this year and they will need every other team in the nation to lose at least two games before they get a sniff at a BCS title game invite. And you know what? They only have the WAC to blame.

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 Hey, Pack fans, if you are feeling a little down this week and are already wondering when basketball season starts, stop being so hard on yourselves. The Pack will be just fine this year. Don't forget that they are not going to play Notre Dame and Jimmy Clausen every week. This is a team that could still win 9 or 10 games (stay positive, my friends). So take heart, Pack fans. Yes, it was a disaster of an opening weekend. But, hey, at least you are not New Mexico State fans. The Aggies' season, which started with a WAC loss to Idaho, is already over.

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  The Wolf Pack, though, does have a lot of questions to answer before taking the field again next weekend at Colorado State. Those questions are the same ones we were left to ponder at the end of the 2008 season. Will this defense ever improve? Are there any playmakers at wide receiver? Will Luke Lippincott find a role on this offense? Will Colin Kaepernick's accuracy improve? Will the Pack ever beat a big-name non-conference opponent on the road? After one game we still don't know the answers to any of those questions.

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 If Notre Dame's Clausen stands up in front of the microphones in December to collect his Heisman Trophy he better thank the WAC. It is the WAC, after all, that made Clausen a legitimate Heisman candidate. In his last two games (both against the WAC in the Hawaii Bowl after last year against Hawaii and against the Pack) Clausen has looked like Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Sammy Baugh, John Elway and Johnny Unitas all rolled into one super-human QB. In those two games Clausen is a near-perfect 37-of-44 for 716 yards and nine touchdowns. You couldn't get those types of numbers on a video game playing against your three-legged pet hamster.

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 Charles Barkley is going to present Jerry Sloan and Isiah Thomas is going to present John Stockton at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame ceremonies on Friday night. Isn't that sort of like AC/DC and The Sex Pistols presenting Dick Clark and Simon & Garfunkel at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Who is going to present Karl Malone next year? Shawn Bradley or Greg Ostertag?

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 In case you were at the Sollenberger Classic last month at Mackay Stadium and saw Peoria (Arizona) Centennial slam McQueen, we have an update. Centennial destroyed Chandler last week, 61-38, in their first Arizona game of the year and is now No. 8 in the nation in the USA Today Super 25 rankings. That Centennial team could have played with any of the great Wooster teams of the 1980s or McQueen teams of the 1990s. They wouldn't have beaten any of them -- Centennial is a little suspect on defense -- but they could have played with them.

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  The Douglas Tigers and Carson Senators football teams are two of the better teams in the Northern 4A this year. But both teams have brutal non-league schedules. The University of Florida gets Charleston Southern and Troy to start its season but Douglas and Carson have to deal with McQueen, Las Vegas, Reno and Reed. That's a tough challenge for anyone so early in the year. But don't worry. The Tigers and Senators will survive this tough stretch and both make the playoffs this season.

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 What can we expect out of the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders this year? The Raiders look like a 7-9 team but the 49ers could win the NFC West at 10-6. The only thing standing in the way of the 49ers' first division title since 2002 is a tough non-league road schedule that sees them going to Philadelphia, Green Bay, Indianapolis and Minnesota. The Raiders? Well, 9-7 and a playoff spot is not entirely out of the question. But that's probably more likely a year from now. The first three weeks of this season against San Diego, Kansas City and Denver could tell the story of the entire Raiders season.

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 The average ticket price in the NFL is $75, according to an annual survey taken by Team Marketing Report, a company in Illinois. A family of four can expect to spend an average of $412 at a NFL game. And you wonder why young kids grow up today playing video games and staring at a computer 12 hours a day.

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