Next up for Nevada: Washington Generals? | NevadaAppeal.com

Next up for Nevada: Washington Generals?

Sports fodder for a Friday morning… The Nevada Wolf Pack football team’s cupcake tour is now in full swing. The Harlem Globetrotters had a tougher schedule than the Pack somehow lucked into this year. Former heavyweight champ Joe Louis had his Bum of the Month Club. The Pack gets to play in the Mountain West for the rest of the year. The Wolf Pack whipped New Mexico last week and this week they get to play winless Wyoming. And after Wyoming the underwhelming challengers will be Hawaii, Fresno State and San Jose State. The Wolf Pack has no right to even think about losing a game before it heads out onto the road the final two weeks to meet Utah State and San Diego State.

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It’s not, however, the Pack’s fault the schedule is so easy. They did, after all, play Arizona and Texas A&M in non-conference games. It’s the Mountain West that has turned the Pack’s schedule into a patsy parade. Fresno State is in a free fall. Wyoming doesn’t even have a win yet. Everybody else outside of Boise State is bad to mediocre. But even the Broncos aren’t what they used to be. The Pack doesn’t even have to play Boise State, Colorado State and Air Force this year. Since joining the conference in 2012 the Pack is a combined 1-7 against Boise State, Colorado State and Air Force. This season is just the perfect storm for the Pack. They have to take advantage of this golden opportunity.

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Did the Wolf Pack play much better in their victory over New Mexico than they did in their loss to UNLV the week before? Well, the defense played well in both games. This is a solid Pack defense, especially when the opposition can’t throw the ball like UNLV and New Mexico. The offense played much better against New Mexico but that’s because the Lobos couldn’t tackle your grandmother as she squeaks and wheels her walker to the slot machines in her favorite casino. So we’ll see if last week was real improvement or simply New Mexico playing like New Mexico. But last week is how we expect the Pack to play against all of these doormat teams in the Mountain West. Running backs Don Jackson and James Butler are good enough to simply chew up these teams. All you have to do to win in the Mountain West is not turn the ball over. The other team will eventually self destruct.

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The Oakland Raiders are finally becoming competitive and now their head coach is rumored to be on the short list of candidates for the USC job. Jack Del Rio has only been the Raider coach for less than two months but he would be silly to turn down the Trojans if offered the job. Oakland is the place where coaching careers go to die. USC, despite its rash of bad coaching hires in recent years, is still one of the 10 best jobs in college football. You don’t pass up a chance to coach USC. Del Rio has done a solid job in Oakland so far, taking over a team in disarray and making it respectable. He would do the same at USC.

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Former Wolf Pack linebacker Brandon Marshall just might find himself in the Pro Bowl at the end of this NFL season. Marshall, a fifth-round draft pick out of Nevada by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012, is the top middle linebacker in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. He has 41 tackles this year after getting 113 a year ago in his breakout season. The Cimarron-Memorial High graduate out of Las Vegas has always beaten the odds. He was released three times by the Jaguars and even had to overcome his lack of size (he’s just 6-foot-1) with the Wolf Pack. But all Marshall has ever done is make play after play.

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The Wolf Pack might not be the only ones who turned their season around last week. Former Pack quarterback Colin Kaepernick might have done the same thing. Kaepernick, the quarterback everyone outside of northern Nevada has loved to criticize, passed for 262 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-27 loss to the New York Giants. He looked like the guy who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl after the 2012 season. But, like the Wolf Pack, the problem with Kaepernick has always been consistency. His positive momentum, though, should continue this week against the struggling Baltimore Ravens. Three years ago the Ravens and 49ers were in the Super Bowl. Now they have two wins between them five weeks into the season.

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Don’t tell the city of Chicago baseball is boring and nobody cares about the sport anymore. Cubs fans are going crazy right now and their team is still four wins away from even playing in the World Series. Kansas City Royals fans have been in a two-year frenzy. We have also seen the same excitement this year from New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros fans. Go ahead, tell San Francisco Giants fans their three World Series seasons meant nothing because baseball is a dying sport. Baseball is no longer our national pastime but it still touches us deeper than any other sport. If the Cubs do the impossible and win the World Series, the city of Chicago will never be the same.