It’s UNLV and it’s a MUST win for Nevada | NevadaAppeal.com

It’s UNLV and it’s a MUST win for Nevada

Joe Santoro

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

Now it’s time to get serious. The first three weeks of the Wolf Pack football season were all well and good. Nebraska was an eye-opening taste of big-time college football. Northwestern was a nice way to visit a real city and dine on real pizza. And Nicholls State was a way for the university to turn back the clock and remind us what the Division I-AA days were all about. But none of it meant anything. The Pack season starts Saturday. The next three games against UNLV, Fresno State and Boise State will tell us all we need to know about this football team. Two wins in the three weeks are mandatory to give the final six weeks some meaning.

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One of those two or three wins needs to come this week. Beating UNLV is always priority No. 1 in Pack Land. The Pack has had two weeks to prepare for this. UNLV is 6-21 in the coach Mike Sanford era. Chris Ault hasn’t lost to the Rebels in Reno since the disco era (1979). And disco is not going to make a comeback this weekend. Pack by 15.

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OK, why, exactly, did Hawaii play Charleston Southern last week? It’s the sort of scheduling, especially in the third week of the season, that gives the Western Athletic Conference a bad name. If you want the rest of the country to take you seriously as a big-time program, you have to get rid of the Charleston Southerns – and Nicholls States – off your schedule three weeks into the season.

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Say what you want about Barry Bonds – and it’s likely you already have a thousand times over – but the San Francisco Giants are going to miss him. The Giants without Bonds are sort of Paris Hilton without the money and Pamela Anderson without the, uh, yeah those. Nobody is going to give them a second look. The Giants, unless they wake up and finally spend some money this winter, will be Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain and pray for rain.

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Will Bonds play next year? Well, you know he wants to. But who is dumb enough to take him? The Oakland A’s seem to be the best bet. Bonds will go there because he’ll still be able to live in the Bay Area. He can be a designated hitter and he’ll probably be able to avoid being booed at home games because Giant fans will go to the East Bay. And what do the A’s have to lose? The only team more boring in major league baseball than the Giants is the A’s. The window of World Series opportunity for that franchise is now officially closed. It needs to give its few remaining fans some reason to go to the ballpark.

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The ball that Barry Bonds hit for home run No. 756 will be branded with an asterisk and placed in the Hall of Fame. We’re happy that the ball will be in the Hall. But the asterisk is a bad idea. Why ruin a historic piece of memorabilia like that? The Hall of Fame, though, doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. It is just happy to have the ball. Now we know that sportswriters voting for Hall of Fame members is not the only thing wrong with Cooperstown.

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As long as we’re marking up Hall of Fame memorabilia, when are they going to slap asterisks on all of the Mark McGwire items? And what about all of the stuff that entered the Hall before 1947? Shouldn’t they paint asterisks on all that stuff because only white players were allowed to play?

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Wasn’t it fitting that Milton Bradley was injured by his own manager this week? You can be sure that Bud Black wasn’t the first manager that wanted to put Bradley on the disabled list.

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You’d have to say that the New York Yankees signing Roger Clemens two months into the season was a good deal for the Yankees. Before Clemens joined the team, the Yankees looked like a train wreck. And now they are headed to the playoffs. Good deal for the Bronx Bombers. And when the Yanks win the World Series, it will be a great deal.

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Is Brett Favre the greatest quarterback of all-time? You’d have to say yes. The man is going to have all the important records before he retires. He was the ultimate warrior and team leader. He stayed loyal to his organization even when the wheels were falling off. He’s an amazing person who has battled through tough times on and off the field. Yeah, he’s the greatest.

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It’s now perfectly fine to compare Tom Brady with Joe Montana. Yes, we admit it. We were always a bit reluctant to buy into the Montana-Brady comparisons. They always seemed a bit contrived. But not anymore. Brady finally has his own Jerry Rice in a rejuvenated Randy Moss. And, like Montana, he knows what to do with his talented receiver. The comparisons now make perfect sense.

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Brady’s New England Patriots are going to give the 1972 Miami Dolphins some sleepless nights. That old Dolphins team has always reminded everyone that it is the only unbeaten, untied team in NFL history. It always pops the champagne corks when the last unbeaten team goes by the wayside every year. This year, the Dolphins might not get to pop those corks.

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What is the over-under on Brady incompletions this year? How does 100 sound? Brady has been nearly perfect this year. The guy is 70-of-88 for 887 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception. Those are video game numbers. Reminds one of a 1989-90 Montana.

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The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association knows its needs to change the way it aligns schools into its four classes based on enrollment numbers. We’ll save them some time. Class A should be all schools up to 199 students (it is now up to 169). Class 2A should be from 200-749 kids (it is now 170-460). Class 3A should be 750-1,499 (it’s now 461-1,200) and Class 4A should be every school with 1,500 or more students (it’s now 1,201 and above). The four-class system doesn’t work the way it is currently arranged. Class 2A and 3A are a mess right now and many 4A schools can’t compete at that level. The state has changed. It’s time to change the system.

LaDainian Tomlinson, Steven Jackson and Larry Johnson – arguably the top three running backs in the NFL – are killing fantasy football players this year. So if you see a bunch of fat, pasty guys with cookie crumbs on their shirts wandering the streets in a daze and mumbling to themselves on Monday mornings this fall, now you know why.

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Can you imagine the prison football team that has Michael Vick at quarterback and O.J. Simpson at running back? I’d pay to see that game before I’d pay to watch a Carolina Panthers-Tampa Bay Bucs thriller. Vick and Simpson can always recruit Mike Tyson to play on the offensive line.

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Now that Vick has tested positive for marijuana, it’s looking more and more doubtful that he’ll ever play in the NFL again. Who would want him? First of all, he’s not even that good. Imagine what he’ll be like with three or four (or seven or eight) years of rust. About the only job Vick will be able to get is as that bunny who speeds along the rail at dog tracks.