FODDER: Expectations hard to gauge for 2012 | NevadaAppeal.com

FODDER: Expectations hard to gauge for 2012

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .Don’t know what to expect out of this year’s Nevada Wolf Pack football team? You’re not alone. No Colin Kaepernick, no Dontay Moch, no Vai Taua, no Virgil Green. No home game until October. It’s enough to make even the most loyal Silver & Blue backer a bit uneasy. But how does a 10-2 or 9-3 season with a Western Athletic Conference title and bowl game sound?

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We’ll find out everything we need to know about this Pack football team before it even steps onto the Mackay Stadium turf on Oct. 8 against UNLV. They open the season at Oregon, at San Jose State, at Texas Tech and at Boise State. That would have been a grueling stretch even with Kaepernick, Moch, Taua and Green. So, yes, be prepared for a 2-2 or 1-3 start. But this Pack team won’t lose a game after that. The Pack plays six of its last eight games at home and the two road games (Utah State and New Mexico State) are games they could win with Chris Ault at quarterback.

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Christian Lopez, the New York Yankee fan who caught the baseball Derek Jeter smacked for his 3,000th hit, must be hoping to one day grow up to be a Disney character. A million dollar baseball falls from the heavens onto his ample belly and all he wants is a couple season tickets and some autographed Yankees memorabilia in return? In this economy? In any economy? Unless Christian’s last name is Steinbrenner, he deserves to be rewarded for his good fortune. He owed it to every poor fan who has had to fork over $8 for a beer, $6 for a hot dog, $35 for a bleacher ticket and $20 for a parking spot to get every last penny he could out of Jeter and the Yankees.

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How does Jeter repay Lopez for his generosity? He scribbles his name on some Yankee jerseys and hats and says thank you. Big deal. And then he repays all baseball fans a few days later by not showing up at the All Star game. Jeter said he skipped the All Star game because the chase for 3,000 hits left him tired and exhausted. Yeah, right. He was so exhausted he flew down to Miami for the three days. He couldn’t fly down to Phoenix for a few hours, tip his cap to the fans and then go to Miami?

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It is time major league baseball finds a new national TV voice. Joe Buck and his monotone, computer-generated, robot tones are sapping the life out of the sport. The guy has no emotion, no insight. Buck makes the second out in the second inning of a Saturday game in May sound the same as the final out in the seventh game of the World Series. All of the great baseball announcers now are local guys. It’s time to rotate the big events (World Series, All Star game) among the guys who won’t put us to sleep.

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It’s almost time for the annual Oakland A’s summer clearance sale. And this year the A’s might actually have some items other teams might actually pay for. Hideki Matsui might be attractive to a team looking for a left-handed bat. Brian Fuentes would be a nice addition for a team looking for some bullpen help. Conor Jackson could help someone off the bench. Same with David DeJesus. The Oakland A’s have become the 1995 Toyotas of major league baseball. You know, something to keep in the garage for spare parts.

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Once again, the ESPYs have gotten it wrong. They couldn’t figure out a way to honor the Nevada Wolf Pack’s incredible victory over the Boise State Broncos last November? Really? All of those ridiculous categories and no Wolf Pack love? The Wolf Pack’s win over Boise was the greatest college football game of the year. It was the most meaningful college football game of the year because it blew Boise out of the BCS water. It was the single greatest upset of the year for any sport. Kaepernick should have gotten consideration for Best Male College athlete. But we shouldn’t be surprised by the lack of ESPN respect for the Pack. The Western Athletic Conference, after all, is merely late night programming to fill the gap between the Super Bowl XXIV highlights and SportsCenter.