Fodder: Senior night should only be for seniors | NevadaAppeal.com

Fodder: Senior night should only be for seniors

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . Why is the Nevada Wolf Pack honoring Ramon Sessions on Saturday night? Do the Minnesota Timberwolves have a long layover at Reno-Tahoe International Airport on Saturday? Don’t get me wrong. Sessions deserves to be honored for what he did in a Wolf Pack uniform. Put him in the Wolf Pack Hall of Fame once he waits the required 10 years. Retire his jersey number. Name a street after him. But giving him a “Senior Night” (the Pack’s words, not mine) is not the right way to do it. Nobody blames Sessions (except maybe Mark Fox) for bolting for the NBA after his junior year. But when you do choose the NBA instead of staying in school you are giving up a few things. And one of those things is a Senior Night. It might not sound like a big deal but don’t tell that to the guys (like Nick Fazekas, Lyndale Burleson, Gary Hill-Thomas and many others) who were honored on their Senior Night. Sessions simply does not deserve a Senior Night. He was never a senior at Nevada. What’s next? A Senior Night for JaVale McGee?

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Jim Caldwell was totally outcoached by Sean Payton in the Super Bowl. The Colts didn’t lose because Peyton Manning choked. The Colts lost because their rookie head coach was not ready for the biggest game of his life. Payton, on the other hand, was locked in. The Saints’ onside kick to start the second half changed the game. His decision to go for a TD instead of kicking an easy field goal late in the first half set the tone. It showed that the Saints weren’t afraid of the mighty Colts and Manning. Caldwell, like his decision late in the regular season to throw away a perfect season in order to shield his team from injury, coached the whole game in fear.

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The biggest mistake Caldwell made was sending 42-year-old Matt Stover out on the field to attempt a 51-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter with the Colts ahead 17-16. Stover, keep in mind, was just 13-of-32 from 50 yards or longer in his career. He hadn’t made one that long in three seasons. Sending Stover out to kick a 51-yarder is like entering your Prius in the Daytona 500. He missed and the Saints suddenly had the ball at their own 41 and they scored nine plays later to take a 24-17 lead. The Colts never recovered. Caldwell should have put the ball in Manning’s hands on that 4th-and-11 call from the Saints’ 33-yard line. A punt would have been better than a field goal try. You just don’t give the Saints’ offense a short field. Ever. The only two touchdowns the Saints’ offense scored were on a short field (after the onside kick and the missed field goal).

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Las Vegas is excited about UNLV Runnin’ Rebels men’s basketball again. A crowd of 18,044 showed up at Thomas & Mack Center on Wednesday night to watch the No. 25th-ranked Rebels lose to No. 23 New Mexico. The crowd was bigger than each of the Rebels’ last two home football games this year.

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If you are a Wolf Pack fan, you have to feel good about the Pack’s one-point victory at Idaho on Wednesday. Yes, the Pack played horribly in the second half. The game shouldn’t have been that close. And, yes, Idaho did its best to give the game away with a dumb timeout and an even dumber foul in the final six seconds. But the Pack also went out and took it. On the road. It’s the type of win that this team needed. Armon Johnson and Luke Babbitt put the team on their backs in the second half and willed their teammates to a victory. Now they need to go out and blow a bad Boise State team off the floor Saturday night at home.

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There is talk about the Pac-10 expanding in the near future and Utah and BYU of the Mountain West are supposedly on their shopping list. If that happens the Pack needs to be proactive and knock on the Mountain West’s door the minute Utah and BYU leave. Another rumor has Boise State and Fresno leaving the WAC to join the Mountain West should Utah and BYU go to the Pac-10. That would be disastrous for the WAC and the Pack. You don’t want to be in a WAC without Boise and Fresno.

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The Mountain West also needs to be proactive. It can’t just sit around and wait for the Pac-10 to pick it clean. Imagine, for example, the MWC and WAC combining into one super conference. It would be a better conference than the Pac-10 in almost every sport. Call the new conference the Mountain Western Athletic Conference (the MWAC). The new rivalries would be incredible with Utah State going up against Utah and BYU. Imagine Nevada-UNLV games that mean something. Boise, Nevada and Fresno State against BYU, TCU and Utah in football. Every year. There would be six or seven bowl teams out of the new MWAC every year. If you come out of that conference with an unbeaten record they have to put you in the BCS title game. Right?

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The best thing about the Super Bowl is that it means pitchers and catchers are about to report in Arizona and Florida. The NFL and the Super Bowl is a party. Baseball is life. End of sermon.