FODDER: It’s tough being an ex-Pack coach
For the Nevada Appeal
Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . Do you think Trent Johnson and Mark Fox now regret their decision to leave the comfort of the Nevada Wolf Pack and the Western Athletic Conference for the bright and shiny lights of the Southeastern Conference? OK, silly question. But guess which team among Johnson’s LSU Tigers, Fox’s Georgia Bulldogs and David Carter’s Wolf Pack, has the best chance of playing in the NCAA tournament this March? That’s right. Carter’s Pack. Fox’s Bulldogs and Johnson’s Tigers are in a free-fall right now and are the only SEC teams that currently do not own a conference win. Unlike Fox and Johnson, Carter will be coaching a team that is going to play meaningful games in March.
Outside of Chris Ault, though, Johnson just might be the most important and influential coach in the history of the Wolf Pack athletic department. It was Johnson who gave the Wolf Pack its greatest sports moment, taking the Pack to the Sweet 16 in 2004. And it was Johnson who put together what just might be the greatest coaching staff in school history. Johnson, Carter and Fox were together for four seasons (2000-01 to 2003-04), put Pack basketball on the national map and will likely keep it there for two decades — or until some SEC school starts to flash dollar signs in front of Carter’s eyes.
OK, I admit it. I want to see a Peyton Manning-Brett Favre Super Bowl. Mark Sanchez is, well, Mark Sanchez. And Drew Brees will have other chances. But this could be it for a Favre-Manning dream game. It could be a game between the two greatest quarterbacks in history. Which Super Bowl had a better QB matchup? Joe Montana-Dan Marino in XIX? Favre-John Elway in XXXII? Montana-Elway in XXIV? Maybe. Terry Bradshaw vs. Roger Staubach in the 1970s? Neither one has Manning or Favre numbers. Something tells me we’re going to get Sanchez-Brees.
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A Jets’ victory over the Colts on Sunday would be one of the greatest upsets in NFL history. But we’ve seen it before (Super Bowl III). But Sanchez is no Joe Namath. Brees, though, is better than Favre right now. The Saints are at home and, well, Favre has a tendency to throw balls to guys in the wrong jersey when he gets excited. I’m picking an all-Manning Colts-Saints (Peyton Manning vs. Archie Manning) Super Bowl but hoping for Colts-Vikes.
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Do you think JaVale McGee regrets his decision to leave the comforts of the Wolf Pack for the dollars of the NBA two years ago after his sophomore year? OK, another silly question. But McGee can barely get off the bench with the Washington Wizards this year. He’s played in just six of his team’s last 21 games and has become the Adam Carp of the Wizards. Imagine, if you will, a Pack team this year with the senior McGee at center, Dario Hunt at power forward, Luke Babbitt at small forward, Brandon Fields at shooting guard, Armon Johnson at the point and Joey Shaw and Ray Kraemer coming off the bench. That team might be 18-2 right now and ranked about No. 10 in the country. And Fox never would have left for Georgia so soon.
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You have to love Carlton Fisk and Jack Clark. Fisk and Clark ripped into Mark McGwire and all of the steroid abusers over the last two decades this week. Fisk said McGwire’s assertion last week that steroids didn’t help his performance “a crock.” And Clark said all steroid users are “creeps, liars and should be banned from baseball.” You have to admire their passion. But both of them are a little out of touch. Yes, of course, everyone knows that what McGwire said was a crock. And there is no need to call performance enhancing drug users a bunch of creeps and liars. They are just baseball players trying to get an edge, maximize their careers and extend their earning windows. Cheaters, yes. Creeps, no. It’s time the old guys stop criticizing the players of the 1990s.
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The Basketball Hall of Fame is going to induct the entire 1992 Olympic men’s basketball Dream Team. Bad move. All the Dream Team accomplished was the complete destruction of Olympic basketball. Does anybody even watch Olympic hoops anymore? A Clippers-Thunder game in March has more drama. The Dream Team coach Chuck Daly didn’t even call a single timeout in the entire Olympics. The Dream Team and its blatant marketing, promotion and hype goes against everything the Olympics stands for and ruined Olympic basketball forever. Give me a team of college kids any day over a team filled with bored and spoiled millionaires.