FRIDAY FODDER: Can Pack earn a top 10 BCS ranking? | NevadaAppeal.com

FRIDAY FODDER: Can Pack earn a top 10 BCS ranking?

Sports fodder for a Friday morning … How high can the Nevada Wolf Pack football team climb in the Bowl Championship Series standings? Well, a spot in the Top 10 is not out of the question. The Pack, currently ranked 18th, could move to 14 or 15 after this weekend. And then, after a victory over Boise State on Nov. 26, it will only be a short hop, skip and a jump to the Top 10. The key is moving up at least three spots this week. That will take a blowout victory over New Mexico State and a loss by four or five teams just ahead of them in the BCS standings. The win over New Mexico State shouldn’t be a problem. The second part of that equation is a little more cloudy. But it could happen. Virginia Tech, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Michigan State and Oklahoma State all could lose this weekend.

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The problem with the BCS is that nobody truly knows what anything will mean from week to week. If the Pack beats Boise will it jump ahead of Boise in the BCS standings? Nobody knows. If Boise beats Fresno this week will the Broncos jump over TCU? Nobody knows. The frustrating thing is that the Pack can win out, finish 12-1 in the regular season and find itself ranked in the BCS Top 10. And they will still likely go to one of three bowl games (Boise, San Francisco or New Mexico) that they would have gone to if the Pack finished 8-5 or 7-6. That’s the beauty of the BCS system.

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It still is way too early to come to any definitive conclusions about this Wolf Pack men’s basketball team. Now 1-2, the Pack has three very winnable games next week on the road against Boston, George Washington and South Dakota State. The Pack could be 4-2 when it returns home to face UNLV on Dec. 4. But be satisfied with 2-4. The winning and losing of games is not as important right now as coach David Carter finding eight or nine key players that he trusts every single night. That point might not happen until late January.

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How did Bruce Bochy not win the National League Manager of the Year award? Bud Black’s San Diego Padres choked away the National League West title – to Bochy’s San Francisco Giants. We also have a problem with Felix Hernandez winning the American League Cy Young award with just 13 victories. A famous coach once said, “You play to win the game.” And Hernandez just didn’t win enough of them. The award should have gone to Tampa’s David Price. Price, who went 19-6, was every bit as dominant as Hernandez (against the tougher A.L. East) and he did it for a team that was fighting for a pennant. Hernandez didn’t throw one single pitch this year in a pressure situation.

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Luke Babbitt might not be very happy sitting on the Portland Trail Blazers’ bench this year. But if he wants to feel good about his lot in life all he has to do is look at his bank account. Sitting on the bench in the NBA is not a bad job for a kid without a college degree. But if that doesn’t work he can always look at teammate Greg Oden. Oden, the former No. 1 pick out of Ohio State, is going miss yet another season with yet another knee surgery. Oden is now mentioned in the same sentence as Sam Bowie when it comes to listing the worst draft picks in Trail Blazers’ history. Portland passed over Kevin Durant to pick Oden and passed over Michael Jordan to pick Bowie. All the Blazers did to get Babbitt was deal Martell Webster. Babbitt, unlike Oden, has time to learn his craft.

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The only thing Troy Smith has ever done in his football career is win. He won at Ohio State, even winning the Heisman Trophy. And now he’s winning games for the San Francisco 49ers. But, still, the first thing critics will point out with Smith is that he’s just 6-feet tall. That’s too short to be a NFL quarterback, right? Who says? Drew Brees is 6-feet tall. Steve Young was about that same height (he was listed very generously at 6-2) and he won a ton of games. Smith is a winner. It’s been a long time since the 49ers had a winner at quarterback. They also had a lot of very tall losers.

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Since we’re on the subject of winning, the Oakland Raiders are fast becoming the story of the year in the NFL. The Raiders have won four of their last five games and are now 5-4. But, like Smith and his critics, the Raiders don’t have a lot of believers yet. It will take a victory at Pittsburgh this week to start to convince most Raider haters that the Raiders are indeed worth hating again. The next three games, at Pittsburgh, home against Miami and at San Diego, will define this Raider season.

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Let me see if I have this straight. Tiger Woods cheated on Eva Longoria with a Swedish model who used to work at Denny’s and Brent Barry cheated on his professional golfer wife with Tony Parker’s Swedish live-in maid who used to be married to Ernie Els. Right? Or did Parker sleep with Tiger Woods’ Swedish model wife who was a former Los Angeles Laker girl after Eva Longoria was caught in a romantic hideaway with Rick Barry? Or was it Scooter Barry? All of these celebrity sports sex scandals have me confused. Sports was easier to understand when all we had to do was memorize the statistics on the back of baseball cards.