Let French, Italian judges pick national champ | NevadaAppeal.com

Let French, Italian judges pick national champ

Joe Santoro

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

Are you excited about the Wolf Pack football team playing in the New Mexico Bowl? Really? We’re happy for the players, who get to play another game. But does this football team really deserve to go to a bowl game? This is a team that went 6-6. The last time the Pack finished 6-6 in the regular season, it fired the head coach. This is a team that played just three Division I-A teams with a winning record. This is a team that went 5-6 against Division I-A teams. This is a team that did not beat a Division I-A team with a winning record. This is a team that deserves to be sitting home during the bowl season.

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Yes, the Wolf Pack lost four Western Athletic Conference games by a total of 15 points. And, yes, it was fun to watch. Frustrating, but fun. But bowl game invitations should not be given out based on woulda, coulda and shoulda. There are simply too many bowl games when they have to go looking for .500 teams to fill the schedule. The 456th running of “A Christmas Story” will have more meaning than the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 22.

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The Wolf Pack coaches, players and administration said all the right things after announcing that the school accepted the New Mexico Bowl invite. Hey, it’s not polite to turn down party invitations and gifts during the holiday season, right? But you can be sure that Chris Ault is not satisfied with this season of near misses. You don’t get elected to the College Football Hall of Fame by getting a warm and fuzzy feeling about a 6-6 season. Ault didn’t come back to coaching to churn out six and seven-win seasons year after year.

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The best thing about the Wolf Pack getting to play in the New Mexico Bowl has nothing to do with the New Mexico Bowl. The best thing is that Ault and his coaching staff get to work with this team on the field for another month. All of these practices are not for winning a bowl game nobody cares about. They are for making this team better for 2008. Ault knows that as well as anyone and that is why he is a Hall of Famer.

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Is this Wolf Pack football program stagnating? Well, not yet. But it is time to be concerned. The Pack’s record has gotten worse in each of the past two seasons. The Pack is 0-6 over the last two years against Boise State, Fresno State and Hawaii, the top three teams in the Western Athletic Conference. Since joining the WAC in 2000, the Pack has gone 4-19 against Boise, Fresno and Hawaii. Hey, but what does it matter when you can finish .500 and still go to a bowl game?

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It is time we get rid of the bowl games. If teams feel the need to have a season-ending party (Albuquerque sure is wonderful this time of year), then they can just go find a good caterer. The BCS is a mess. College football’s system for finding a champion right now is a joke. They’d be better off having a German, Italian and French judges hold up cards after every game with scores to determine who wins. Computers are OK for finding the best fare on a flight, for keeping track of your fantasy sports team and for watching video of morons making fools of themselves. But they should have nothing to do with determining a college football champion.

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How can you respect college football when the only remaining unbeaten Division I-A team in the nation isn’t allowed to play for the national title? Hawaii should be in the BCS title game. It hasn’t lost a game. It has one of the best offenses – led by a Heisman Trophy finalist, by the way – in the nation. Hawaii – just like Boise State a year ago – could beat any team in the nation on a given day. Give Hawaii the same schedule that Ohio State played this year and it would still be undefeated.

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The whole strength of schedule argument in college football just doesn’t hold water anymore. It is time to eliminate opinion from the formula to determine a national champion. Let teams win it on the field. Who’s to say that the Big 10 or the Big 12 or the ACC or any conference is tougher than the WAC? Have we learned nothing from all of the hundreds of so-called upsets the past few years? The WAC has the toughest travel of any conference in the country. It has the toughest, wildest and craziest offenses with which to deal with on a weekly basis. It has some of the best and creative coaches in the nation. If you go unbeaten in the WAC, you’ve earned it. Hawaii should be playing LSU for the national title.

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If the NFL had the same system as college football, the New England Patriots would be ranked fourth in the league this week after almost losing to the Baltimore Ravens a week ago.

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Barry Bonds informed the world this week that he definitely wants to play in 2008? Do they use the designated hitter on prison softball teams?

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Those Miami Dolphins sure are serious about that winless season, aren’t they?

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Florida quarterback Tim Tebow deserves to win the Heisman Trophy. If Colt Brennan would have stayed healthy, he would have deserved it. Tebow, though, became the first player in NCAA history to pass for 20 touchdowns and run for 20 touchdowns in the same season. Wolf Pack quarterback Colin Kaepernick, by the way, has a real good chance to become the second guy to rush for 20 and pass for 20 next year.

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We can just see the “Tale of the Tape” for Tom Brady versus Tony Romo in this year’s Super Bowl. The categories will be height, weight, yards passing, touchdown passes and to-die-for girlfriends.

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Here’s hoping Reno High graduate David Padgett gets back on the floor for Louisville this season. Padgett, who is battling back from yet another injury, has suffered enough for five players in his basketball career. No matter what happens the rest of this year, Padgett should be proud of himself for exhibiting an amazing work ethic, character, determination and heart over the years to play as well as he did despite all of his injuries. The young man, if he so chooses to follow in his grandfather’s and father’s footsteps, would make an incredible coach.

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The Florida Marlins’ payroll, as it stands, will be under $10 million this year. Alex Rodriguez will make more than that by the Fourth of July. Andruw Jones will make almost double that for striking out 150 times and hitting .225 for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season. Jose Guillen will make more than that for being the best HGH distributor in the Kansas City Royals clubhouse.