FRIDAY FODDER: Wolf Pack deserves rebuilding year (or two) | NevadaAppeal.com
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FRIDAY FODDER: Wolf Pack deserves rebuilding year (or two)

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning … The Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball team is seemingly headed to its worst season in a decade (10-18 in 2000-01). The Pack’s streak of seven consecutive 20-victory seasons (and nine consecutive over .500) will probably end in March. This team, now 3-9, would have to go 13-5 the rest of the way just to finish over .500 in the regular season. That’s not impossible but I wouldn’t bet all of my Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl winnings (gladly give the 7-9 points to anyone who will take it) on it happening. This is a rebuilding year at Nevada. Heck, next year might be a rebuilding year, too. But after seven great years in a row, they’ve earned the right to rebuild for a year or two. So, no, don’t put all of your Wolf Pack gear in storage when you get home from the Kraft Bowl on Jan. 10. This basketball team might not win every game (or most of them) but they will never be boring. Frustrating, yes. But boring, no.

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Olek Czyz went 3-of-4 from the floor and scored 10 points in 24 minutes off the bench in his Wolf Pack debut last Friday against Arizona State. Coach David Carter then immediately stuck Czyz into the starting lineup the next two games and the Reno High graduate responded by going a combined 3-of-14 from the field and scoring 11 points over 55 minutes against Portland State and Washington. The worst thing Carter could do now, though, would be to put Czyz back on the bench. This Pack team needs Czyz in the starting lineup and they have to learn how to play with him. Remember, Pack fans, the theme this year is rebuilding. Be patient.

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Both Boise State and Utah played Wednesday night in the Las Vegas Bowl like they wanted to be somewhere else. A bored Boise team turned the ball over three times and gave up a sack in the early going and Utah wasn’t even excited enough to build anything more than a 3-0 lead. Boise then woke up and whipped the apathetic Utes, 26-3. It was nice victory for the new Mountain West Conference (Boise joins up in the fall) over the old Mountain West (Utah is headed to the Pac-10), but it was just a horrible game between two teams who never dreamed before the season started that they’d have to settle for playing in the Las Vegas Bowl.

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How good will Boise be next year? Wide receivers Austin Pettis and Titus Young, defensive lineman Ryan Winterswyk and safety Jeron Johnson will be gone, as will a couple offensive linemen among others, but you can expect the Broncos to compete for the Mountain West title right away. Quarterback Kellen Moore and running back Doug Martin will be back as will most of their standout defense. They’ll still be solid. But this was their year to do something special. And the Wolf Pack destroyed it all on Nov. 26.

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The Pack, which has one more year in the Western Athletic Conference, has to go to Boise State next year for a non-league game. We’re not saying the Pack can’t possibly win at Boise but this has to be the dumbest scheduling decision the Pack has made in recent memory. Why go to Boise when you don’t have to? Why go to Boise in a season when you’ve also chosen to go to Oregon and Texas Tech? That’s not how you protect your program’s signature sport.

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Five Ohio State players have been caught trading autographs for tattoos and selling items for money. Three of the Buckeyes even sold their 2008 Big Ten Championship rings. The good news is that the NCAA isn’t likely going to start a Cam Newton-like investigation at Ohio State anytime soon. The Buckeyes clearly aren’t paying their players. At least not enough.

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OK, please stop comparing the Connecticut women’s basketball team’s winning streak (now at 89) to the 88-game streak of the 1971-74 UCLA men’s team. Both are impressive, both are amazing and both were accomplished with a basketball, a hoop and shorts. But that’s the end of the similarities. Men’s basketball and women’s basketball are almost as different as baseball and softball. A softball is bigger than a baseball and the men’s basketball is bigger than a women’s basketball. Comparing men’s hoops with women’s hoops is just silly. The NCAA doesn’t even lump the records for Division I with Division II or III, let alone men’s records with women’s records.

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Hey, San Francisco Giants fans. Are you happy that the Giants are sitting on their hands this off-season? Switching Juan Uribe for Miguel Tejada doesn’t count. That’s about as earth shattering of a move as the Wolf Pack and half of the WAC moving to the Mountain West. But when you win the World Series, you shouldn’t make a lot of moves. Still, there was one move the Giants should have considered. Can you imagine a starting pitching staff of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner and Zack Greinke?