Friday Fodder: Will Saturday be party time for the Pack? | NevadaAppeal.com
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Friday Fodder: Will Saturday be party time for the Pack?

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning…Is the Nevada Wolf Pack going to party on Saturday night like it’s 2010? Not quite. Oh, the Wolf Pack can certainly beat the Boise State Broncos Saturday night at Mackay Stadium and the celebration will likely last until Sunday morning. But it’s not 2010 anymore. The 2014 Wolf Pack and Broncos teams would lose by three touchdowns to their predecessors in 2010. The 2010 game had national implications. Boise was still a BCS buster back then and the Wolf Pack was the best kept secret in the nation. Saturday’s game won’t be felt outside of the mediocre Mountain West. So don’t go comparing a Wolf Pack victory on Saturday to the Pack’s epic 34-31 overtime win over Boise four years ago.

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Boise State comes limping into Mackay Stadium like a three-legged dog who is blind in one eye. Yes, it will be mad after losing to Air Force but there’s only so much you can do with one good eye and three working legs. The Broncos have been ravaged by injuries, their quarterback (Grant Hedrick) was benched in the second half at Air Force and the Broncos defense doesn’t scare anyone anymore. Air Force, which runs a 1958 offense with 1948 athletes, ran for 287 yards on them a week ago. The Broncos clearly have more uniform combinations than answers right now. It’s a home game for the Pack. The Pack should have beaten Boise the last two years. The Wolf Pack will have the better quarterback on Saturday. The Pack really doesn’t have any excuses for losing to Boise this week. Wolf Pack 31, Boise State 28.

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There’s a real possibility the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers will meet in the postseason this year for the first time in baseball history. They met in a pair of National League three-game tie-breaker series in 1951 and 1962 and those two series produced some of the greatest moments in baseball history. Imagine the intensity, passion and drama (and fights in the stands and parking lots) a seven-game series with a World Series berth on the line could produce. The Dodgers-Giants rivalry is arguably the best in sports, despite what ESPN and Yankees, Red Sox fans think.

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Don’t blame the Oakland A’s loss to the Kansas City Royals in the American League wildcard game on A’s general manager Billy Beane and his Yoenis Cespedes-for-Jon Lester trade back on July 31. Blame it on Lester and the A’s bullpen. If somebody would have told you the A’s would have a 7-3 lead in the eighth inning of the wild card game with Lester on the mound, wouldn’t you take it? You can’t just run out the clock, take a knee or hold the ball in baseball. You have to get all 27 outs — or 36 as was the case in Tuesday’s epic game — to win the game. It’s what makes baseball the best sport ever invented.

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You do have to feel for Beane and the A’s. How much longer can he keep banging his head against the wall with no resources in Oakland? They are now even losing in the postseason to other teams (Royals) with no resources. The A’s really had no right to even be in the postseason. They were just 31-41 after July 8. They were worse with Jeff Samardzija and Lester than they were without them. Go figure. That’s not Beane’s fault. Beane, though, gambled the A’s future with the Samardzija and Lester trades. It was almost as if he was giving his dream of bringing a World Series title to Oakland one last, final chance. It didn’t work. It might be time for him to leave Oakland if, for no other reason, than to simply change his (and the A’s) luck.

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Once again, you have to wonder just how much patience the UNLV Rebels will have with football coach Bobby Hauck. Hauck and the Rebels went 7-6, beat the Wolf Pack and went to a bowl game last year. It looked like the former Montana head coach had finally breathed some life into the stagnant program after three miserable years. But the Rebels and Hauck are back to their losing ways this year with a 1-4 record. Hauck now has a record of 14-42 at UNLV. He’s making Brian Polian and his 7-9 record look like Nick Saban. There’s still time to turn it around this year — the Rebels play an extremely weak schedule — but how can you justify not firing a coach who has four losing seasons in his first five years on the job? Well, there’s one way to justify it. You simply don’t care about football.

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There’s a real possibility UNLV’s football problems run much deeper than the head coach. The Rebels, after all, have had just two winning seasons in the last 19 years. They have lost five or more games every year since 1985. It just might be possible that no coach in America can turn the Rebels around. But if the Rebels do dump Hauck after this year there’s one guy they need to call. If anybody could win at UNLV, it would be Chris Ault. Ault turned football around at Nevada four decades ago (and again in 2005) and he could do the same at UNLV. UNLV needs Ault and it’s likely Ault needs UNLV right now.