McGee looking ready for primetime | NevadaAppeal.com
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McGee looking ready for primetime

By JOE SANTORO

 

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

Now that the Wolf Pack football team is in the middle of its three-game Western Athletic Conference Get Healthy Tour, it’s time to focus on what is truly important. The Pack’s season comes down to three games — at Hawaii on Oct. 25, at Fresno on Nov. 7 and Boise State at Mackay Stadium on Nov. 22. A win in one of those games will likely guarantee another bowl game. A win in all three and the WAC title comes to Reno and they start building another wing onto Legacy Hall.

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 The Pack football team hasn’t won a game at Hawaii since Harry Truman beat Thomas Dewey for president, John McCain was 12-years-old and Citation won the Triple Crown of horse racing. The Pack hasn’t beaten Boise anywhere or won at Fresno since Bill Clinton was president. The Pack is a combined 4-19 against Boise, Fresno and Hawaii since joining the WAC in 2000. Don’t be shocked if you wake up on the morning of Nov. 23 and find that record is no worse than 6-20. This program is ready to take the next step.

 JaVale McGee also appears ready to take the next step. The best shot blocker in Wolf Pack basketball history came off the bench Wednesday night for the Washington Wizards and turned in 20 points, eight boards and three blocks against the Memphis Grizzlies in a mere 27 minutes. On Tuesday he stole the ball from Dirk Nowitzki. Ex-Pack guard Ramon Sessions has averaged 37 minutes a game and eight assists in two preseason games for the Milwaukee Bucks. The better guys like McGee and Sessions perform in the NBA, the easier it will be for the Pack to recruit impact players.

 Lou Piniella is now 0-6 in playoff games since he became manager of the Chicago Cubs. If George Steinbrenner were still his boss, Piniella would already be back at ESPN. In all six of those postseason losses, the Cubs have looked tight, nervous, fidgety and scared to make a mistake. You know, just like Lou. Look at the managers in the championship series — Joe Maddon, Joe Torre, Terry Francona and Charlie Manuel. They are all laid-back, easygoing, go-out-there-and-have-fun managers who give off an air of confidence and calm. The days of the yelling, screaming, my-head-is-about-to-explode manager like Piniella doesn’t work any more in the postseason.

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 The New York media and fan base is trying to sell the idea that Eli Manning is the best Manning quarterback in the NFL right now. Let’s not get crazy. He’s the best quarterback named Eli but that’s as far as it goes. If Peyton was the quarterback in the Super Bowl, David Tyree wouldn’t have had to put Velcro on his helmet in order for the Giants to win. Peyton is a Hall of Famer. Eli’s only claim to fame is that he has as many Super Bowl rings as Mark Rypien and Trent Dilfer.

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 The hype surrounding a Red Sox-Dodgers World Series would definitely rival that of a Super Bowl. Manny Being Manny in Boston. Joe Torre making Red Sox fans miserable once again. Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Lowe back in Boston. Tommy Lasorda being interviewed 1,345,256 times before Game 1. And that’s only on ESPN. Hank Steinbrenner wondering who he hates more, Torre or the Red Sox. The two best stadiums in baseball. Dodger Dogs versus Fenway Franks. East Coast versus West Coast. Through-the-roof TV ratings. A Rays-Phillies World Series? WAC football games against New Mexico State and Utah State in the middle of October would attract more interest.

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 When the Detroit Lions finally win a game, will the surviving members of the 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs pop the champagne corks and celebrate? Just asking.

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 Our nation’s economic crisis is even starting to affect the NFL. Teams are now eliminating the quarterback position by snapping the ball directly to running backs. Don’t worry, Niner fans. J.T. O’Sullivan will still be on the field this Sunday. But it is refreshing to see NFL teams dusting off those old 1925 playbooks. What’s next? The Statue of Liberty play? A Jim Thorpe drop kick? Leather helmets? Al Davis keeping a head coach for more than 15 minutes?