FODDER: Is Carter to blame for weak schedule | NevadaAppeal.com

FODDER: Is Carter to blame for weak schedule

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning … Should we blame coach David Carter for underestimating his Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball team this year? Is the marshmallow schedule that Carter put together this year the reason why the Pack is supposedly already out of the running for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid? Carter was very defensive this week when asked about the softness of the Pack’s schedule. He said that when he put together the schedule, he expected some of the opponents to be a little better than they turned out. He said he would have liked to play tougher teams but that those teams wouldn’t play the Pack.

Well, OK. Whatever.

The bottom line is that this was a ridiculously soft schedule and, yes, it is the reason why the Pack is probably already out of the running for an at-large bid. When you schedule the likes of Prairie View A&M, UC Riverside, Portland, Cedarville, Missouri State, Montana, Nebraska-Omaha, Bradley, Longwood and Cal State Bakersfield, on top of a terribly weak conference schedule, well, that doesn’t happen by accident. But there’s nothing wrong with Carter’s scheduling this year. It is exactly what this Pack basketball program needed. He shouldn’t feel defensive about it at all. This schedule pumped life – not to mention a bushel load of victories – into the program. It was a masterful job of scheduling a young team into a 25-5 record heading into the postseason.

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Since we are on the subject of masterful scheduling jobs, we also need to give the Pack football program and head coach Chris Ault a pat on the back. How does a 10-2 regular season sound? Even the so-called big-name schools on the schedule (Cal and Boise) aren’t all that scary anymore. Cal was a powerhouse in the 1920s, but nobody plays in leather helmets anymore. And Boise is going to drop back down to earth this year now that Kellen Moore will be off selling insurance. There are also four games the Pack can’t possibly lose (Northwestern State, UNLV, New Mexico and Texas State) and six that merely require that the Pack plays reasonably well and doesn’t lock quarterback Cody Fajardo in the men’s room at kickoff (South Florida, San Diego State, Wyoming, Fresno State, Hawaii and Air Force).

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Wolf Pack center Dario Hunt should be very upset with the WAC coaches who pick the All-Conference team. Hunt, clearly one of the best players in the league, was placed on the All-WAC Second Team this week. Hunt deserved to be on the first team. You could make the argument that Hunt was the Most Valuable Player on the best team in the conference this year. Hunt led the conference in blocked shots and offensive rebounds, was second in rebounding overall and 10th in field goal percentage. He was clearly the best center in the WAC. He always put his team’s performance and success ahead of his own glory. Hunt was the heart and soul of the Wolf Pack this year. It’s a shame the coaches couldn’t see that.

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The Indianapolis Colts are making a huge mistake by getting rid of Peyton Manning. What would have been so wrong about allowing Andrew Luck to learn from one of the greatest quarterbacks in history? And if Manning can never play again because of his neck injury, well, then you can move on. But not now. That ridiculous press conference with Manning and Jim Irsay fawning over each other and telling the world that their breakup was not about the money was a joke. Luck will be fortunate to survive the season in one piece. Think Jim Plunkett running for his life and getting beat up with the New England Patriots. That will be Luck for the next two or three years. Manning, if he’s healthy, would have gotten the Colts to seven or eight wins this year and back in playoff contention in 2013.

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Where will Manning end up? The early reports have the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals expressing the most interest. Among those teams, the best fit would be the Dolphins. Great weather, solid young team, new coaching staff. The Dolphins would be right in the playoff mix with Manning. Why would Manning want to join the Rex Ryan circus in New York or the Redskins’ mess with Daniel Snyder? And nobody wants to play for the Cardinals and Seahawks. But what about the Tennessee Titans? They certainly love Manning in Tennessee. Kansas City would also be an interesting fit. Put Manning on the Chiefs and they would be the favorites to win the AFC West.

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Should the San Francisco 49ers go after Peyton Manning? Of course they should. Put Manning on the 49ers and they would immediately be the favorite to win the Super Bowl. The NFL, though, is not about doing everything you can at every possible moment to win the Super Bowl right now. It’s about managing contracts and expenses to maximize your profit. And Manning’s contract just wouldn’t make sense for the 49ers right now. The 49ers were a couple of Kyle Williams fumbles away from possibly winning the Super Bowl last year. They don’t need to sell their soul to Manning. Alex Smith is your quarterback, 49er fans. Deal with it.

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What is all the fuss about the New Orleans Saints giving players a little extra in their paycheck for making big hits on opposing players? Isn’t that what NFL players are supposed to do? The NFL, though, wants everyone to think that its players aren’t violent, that the game is a battle of wits and strategy and elegance and not physical force and brutality. Yeah, right. There is nothing wrong with professional players getting a little extra motivation for playing the game hard. Nobody in the league goes out on the field and deliberately tries to hurt another player. If you look at an opponent the wrong way you get fined. The NFL is a man’s game. It is a physical game. It is a brutal game. The players are paid gladiators. It’s why we love it.