Fodder: Pack in line for inane bowl

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . It would be silly to call Saturday's game at Colorado State a must-win moment for the Nevada Wolf Pack football team. The Pack's season, after all, hinges on beating UNLV, winning the Western Athletic Conference and winning enough games (seven should do it) to get to another meaningless bowl game. Nothing that happens Saturday at Fort Collins will affect any of those goals. Think Cactus League game for the San Francisco Giants.

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Starting off a season slow is a by-product of being a middle-of-the-road, mid-major football school. Mid-majors have to schedule bigger, faster, stronger, richer teams from more prestigious conferences on the road to start the year just so they can pay the bills. Since jumping to Division I-A (now the FBS) in 1992, the Pack has started 2-0 just twice in 18 years. That was in 1994 and 1995 when Chris Ault was the coach, athletic director, chief fundraiser, politician, baby kisser and hand shaker and understood how important it was for the football team to start 2-0. So don't give away your tickets to the Missouri game to the mailman if the Pack comes home Saturday night at 0-2. It doesn't mean a thing.

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Everything is in place, however, for the Wolf Pack to come home 1-1. Colorado State, after all, was extremely lucky to beat Weber State a week ago. All we heard from Pack coaches after the Notre Dame disaster was how the Irish had a bunch of five-star athletes beating up on the Pack's three-star guys. Well, the only five-star athlete in Fort Collins on Saturday will be Cam the Ram. The Pack wins this one easily, 34-21.

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How does the Los Angeles Jaguars sound? The Jacksonville Jaguars could be in serious financial trouble by the end of the year and L.A. still doesn't have an NFL franchise. The Jaguars saw their season ticket base drop from 42,000 to 25,000 this year and are in jeopardy of having most of their games blacked out on local TV this year. Of course, we all know that each team shares the TV revenue and the NFL could survive even if they played their games at three in the afternoon on a Tuesday with only four pigeons, a couple mice and a guy with a Twitter account in the stands. But the NFL has always been about public perception and it doesn't look good to have thousands of empty seats, as if we were looking at a grainy photo from a 1962 AFL game.

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Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young has my vote for NFL Man of the Year. Young, who is just 26 years old and is coming off the most difficult year of his life filled with emotional problems, surprised the children of slain former Titans QB Steve McNair on Wednesday and took them to their school's father-son pancake breakfast in Nashville. Young is a class act in a league filled with selfish, spoiled idiots.

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San Francisco Giants fans are going to see Jorge De La Rosa in their nightmares this winter. De La Rosa, since coming to the Colorado Rockies and the National League in 2008, is 6-0 (3-0 this year) against the Giants in seven career starts. Even when they hit him they lose to him (14-11 on Aug. 22). Enough is enough. It's time the Giants go out and get a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat and stop wasting Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.

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Shaquille O'Neal needs to stop conducting ridiculous home run hitting contests against Albert Pujols. He needs to stop swimming races against Michael Phelps. Nobody needs to see Shaq in a Speedo ever again. In case you are lucky and have a real life, the show is called "Shaq Vs.," and features the big guy taking on accomplished athletes in the sport that made them famous. What's next? Shaq vs. hot dog eating contest legends Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut? OK, I'd watch that. I don't have a life. This is what sports has become, one made-for-TV prime-time joke after another. The NFL has been doing it for years.

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OK, forget what I wrote above. The Pack has to beat Colorado State. It's a must-win game. The season hinges on beating the mighty Rams. The third season of starting 0-2 in the last four years after so many high expectations will make my head explode. No more excuses. No more five-star athletes beating the Pack's three-star guys. Who gives out those stars anyway? Don't tell me how the kids prepared so well during the week, were ready to play and, gosh, we don't know what happened during the game. Enough of that. To steal a line from a great man, just win, baby.

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