Friday Fodder: Pack enjoying stay at health spa | NevadaAppeal.com

Friday Fodder: Pack enjoying stay at health spa

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning … What, exactly, did we learn about the Nevada Wolf Pack after its 37-0 victory over UNLV last Saturday? Absolutely nothing. What team, other than UNLV, can force five turnovers and still lose by 37? Well, the New Mexico Lobos, that’s who. So we won’t learn anything about the Pack this week either after they pound the Lobos. But that’s fine. These two weeks are nothing more than the Wolf Pack’s reward for going on the road for four games to start the year. Think of UNLV and New Mexico as nothing more than the Pack’s two-week getaway to a health spa, complete with horseback riding, nature hikes, rounds of golf in the morning followed by relaxing afternoons in the sauna and heated pool. The Pack is getting its mind and body well after four grueling weeks of airports, hotels, boos, short weeks of practice and chasing Broncos and Ducks around the field. The real season starts up again next week against Fresno State.

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Pack head coach Chris Ault is doing the right thing by sticking with Cody Fajardo as his starter at quarterback and Tyler Lantrip as his reliever. Fajardo, a red-shirt freshman, needs to be handled with care. Lantrip, the sixth-year senior, can handle coming off the bench. This is the rotation that Ault needs to stick with the rest of the year if, for no other reason, because it will end the quarterback controversy and questions.

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The NFL wiped out all of its off-season workouts because of its labor problems and now, four and five games into the season, the 49ers, Lions, Redskins, Bills, Bengals and Raiders all have winning records. Yes, of course, nobody expects any of those teams to reach the Super Bowl but the league should skip its off-season workouts every year. It makes for a much more competitive league.

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There is a professional basketball team in Italy that is willing to pay Kobe Bryant $1 million or more to play one game. It supposedly would become a major television event in Europe and the United States. Really? Who would watch it? Who would care? I’d watch LeBron James try to do his Christmas shopping in a shopping mall in Cleveland before I’d watch Kobe sleep-walk through an exhibition game against a bunch of Italian basketball players.

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Can we finally put to rest the notion that Michael Vick is a quarterback that can lead a team to a Super Bowl title? Vick wasn’t a Super Bowl caliber quarterback before he abused and killed dogs for sport and he still is not a Super Bowl caliber quarterback. Forget dogs, Vick also tortures coaches for sport. Jim Harbaugh is 4-1 with Alex Smith at quarterback and Mike Shanahan is 3-1 with Rex Grossman. Andy Reid is 1-4 with Vick.

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Will anyone east of the Mississippi River and west of El Paso watch a Texas Rangers-St. Louis Cardinals World Series? Say what you want about the over-hyped New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. But a baseball postseason without either the Yankees or Red Sox is sort of like a golf tournament without Tiger Woods.

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The Chicago Cubs have no idea what they are getting with Theo Epstein. Epstein, who is just another overrated Billy Beane clone with a bigger bank account, put together a dysfunctional, selfish, lazy team in Boston this past year and that organization is now in chaos. This is the guy you want to lead you out of a century of darkness? General managers don’t win World Series titles. They just take the credit when you do win.

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The Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball team was all smiles and full of optimism this week when it met the media for the first time. And for good reason. This is a team that returns all five of its starters and 11 players overall from a year ago. There’s a chance all five starters — Deonte Burton, Dario Hunt, Malik Story, Jerry Evans and Olek Czyz — will be among the top 10 players in the Western Athletic Conference this year. The Pack, which went 13-19 a year ago and didn’t go to a post-season tournament, could be the most improved team in the nation this year. Expect 20-plus wins and an appearance in some sort of post-season tournament.