Joe Santoro: Kenta over Kershaw? Give me a break
November 2, 2017
Please stop all the talk about this being the greatest World Series in baseball history. It doesn't even rank in the Top 10, maybe not even in the Top 20. There were two great games (2 and 5) and overall it was an entertaining and competitive seven games. It was indeed a great World Series. But there have been a lot of great World Series. Last year (the Chicago Cubs) was better. Go back and look at 2014 (San Francisco Giants), 2011 (St. Louis Cardinals), 2001 (Arizona Diamondbacks), 1997 (Florida Marlins), 1991 and 1987 (both Minnesota Twins), 1975 (Cincinnati Reds), 1971 and 1960 (both Pittsburgh Pirates), 1956 (New York Yankees) and 1955 (Brooklyn Dodgers). And that's just in the television age. All were as good or better than this year.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, it turns out, lost this World Series on Sunday. The Dodgers had Clayton Kershaw — the greatest pitcher in the sport — on the mound with a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning and ended up losing 13-12 in 10 innings. Kershaw blew that four-run lead in the fourth but the Dodgers then took a 7-4 lead in the fifth and wasted that, too. Kershaw got the first two outs in the fifth but then walked two and was taken out in favor of Kenta Maeda. Yes, Kenta Maeda. Maeda then gave up a 3-run homer to Jose Altuve to tie the game. That was the turning point of the Series. Why take Kershaw out with a 3-run lead in the fifth inning? It's Kershaw, not Brandon McCarthy. He's earned the right to get out of a minor jam in the fifth inning of a crucial World Series game. Dodger manager Dave Roberts didn't use his pitching staff well in this Series.
The Nevada Wolf Pack and Boise State Broncos will meet on the football field on Saturday for the first time in two seasons. Shame on the Mountain West. Nevada-Boise State is, without question, one of the greatest rivalries in this meaningless football conference. It's one of the best rivalries west of the Mississippi in all of college football. The schools need to play each other every single season from a financial standpoint alone. All the Mountain West needs to do is put Hawaii in the Mountain Division and Boise State in the Pack's West Division. Boise in the West gives the attention-starved conference great rivalry games up and down the schedule. It's a simple fix.
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How forgiving is Mountain West football? Well, the 1-7 Wolf Pack still has a chance to win the West Division and go to the conference title game. All the Pack has to do is win its final four games (not as ridiculous as it sounds) to make it possible. Fresno State would have to lose its final three league games (a likely scenario, given the Bulldogs' loss to UNLV last week). The Pack and San Diego State would finish in a tie at 5-3 in conference play atop the division and the Pack, because it would've beaten San Diego State on Nov. 18, would win the tie-breaker. You have to love Mountain West football.
Of course, the Wolf Pack winning four games in a row would be a minor miracle. The Wolf Pack going on the road and beating Boise State and San Diego State, two teams who have beaten the Pack in 19-of-21 games since 1999, would also likely signal the end of the college football world as we know it. So nobody is saying it will happen. But Boise State and San Diego State are looking fairly mediocre this year. Neither team has an offense that scares anybody. If the Wolf Pack offense can put 35-40 points on the board, well, anything is possible.
The Oakland Raiders are quickly becoming the most disappointing team in the NFL this season. The Raiders are now 3-5 and have lost five of their last six games. After scoring 71 points combined in the season's first two games, the Raiders have scored a grand total of 67 points in their five losses. Derek Carr has looked like an average quarterback but he doesn't have a lot of help. Wide receiver Amari Cooper looks bored and running back Marshawn Lynch seems more worried about breaking up fights. There's a good chance the Raiders will struggle to finish even .500 this year with games against the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles on the horizon.
The San Francisco 49ers might have made the best NFL trade in years by stealing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this week from the New England Patriots for a second-round pick. Garoppolo could become the next Matt Cassel, Ryan Mallett or Jacoby Brisett but he's certainly worth a second-round pick to find out. The 49ers still have a ton of draft picks in this year's draft and now they don't have to worry about picking an unproven quarterback. Getting Garoppolo now also gives head coach Kyle Shanahan a head start in grooming his franchise quarterback for 2018. This is how you rebuild a franchise. You go out and get a franchise quarterback as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
The future home of the Raiders in Las Vegas is already paying dividends for UNLV. The Rebels this week announced a four-game series against Cal. Two games will be played at UNLV in 2020 and 2026 and two will be played in Berkeley in 2022 and 2025. The Raiders' new stadium in Las Vegas is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2020 season. The Rebels likely won't win any of the four games but what happens on the field doesn't matter to UNLV. The Rebels will be big winners off the field with the four big-money games against Cal. Expect the Rebels to attract more big-time programs to UNLV to play in their new big-time stadium.
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