Nevada-Boise resembled an NHL all-star game | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada-Boise resembled an NHL all-star game

Joe Santoro

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

The Wolf Pack football team is going to be faced with an interesting problem next summer. Who is going to be the starting quarterback? Nick Graziano or Colin Kaepernick? And will the loser of that battle be content to stand on the sidelines waiting for his teammate to get hurt? Both Graziano and Kaepernick — two young quarterbacks with a world of talent and heart — have earned the right to start next year. One of them, short of coach Chris Ault putting both of them on the field at the same time (imagine the endless possibilities), is going to start the year on the bench. This is a good problem for Ault and the Pack – not such a good problem for Graziano and Kaepernick.

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The Wolf Pack’s 69-67 overtime loss to Boise State certainly was good theater. But it wasn’t good football. It was an NHL All-Star Game. At any moment you expected someone to toss a dead octopus onto the blue field at Boise.

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The NCAA really needs to look at its football overtime situation. The Pack-Boise game was getting ridiculous with both defenses physically exhausted, unable to make even the simplest plays. Why force college players to play until they barely have enough strength to break the huddle? Both teams were fortunate more players didn’t get injured in that marathon. Is overtime just for entertainment value and TV ratings in an attempt to fatten the NCAA wallets? What’s wrong with a regular season college football game ending in a tie? The Pack didn’t deserve to lose that game. And neither did Boise. But the NCAA rules required that one team go home with a loss.

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Kaepernick is like the basketball player who can’t shoot all that well, can’t run fast or jump high. And he never really looks all that smooth doing it. But after the game when you look at the stat sheet, he has his 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Kaepernick, who just might be the best running quarterback in Pack history, is the football version of a basketball scorer. He’s just a flurry of gangly arms and legs, always making something out of nothing and filling up the stat sheet. One of these days – we’re betting on this Saturday at Utah State – the defense is going to help him fill up the win column, too.

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The Wolf Pack has scored 108 points combined in its last two games and has two losses to show for its efforts. When was the last time the Pack scored at least 100 points combined in back-to-back games and lost both games? Never. When you score 67 points like the Pack did last week, you should win the game. Heck, you should win three games. All we can say is that Utah State, Idaho and New Mexico State are coming at just the right time on the Pack schedule.

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Despite all of the frustrations of the past two weeks, nothing is really lost for this Pack football team. Oh, sure, a WAC regular season title might be stretching reality a bit. But, assuming the defense makes a tackle or two, this team has the ability to win its final six games and go to a bowl game. Hawaii is 7-0 but the Warriors haven’t played anybody yet. Fresno still has to play San Jose, Boise and Hawaii. Boise, now that its defense has been exposed on national television for all to see, could struggle away from its blue turf at Fresno, Louisiana Tech and Hawaii. The Wolf Pack, with its pinball game offense, could be an attractive bowl team if it runs the table the last six weekends.

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The New York Yankees showed how classy they are by asking Joe Torre to take a cut in pay. Couldn’t they just fire the guy? Why did they have to try to embarrass him by offering him less money? Backup middle infielders who hit .265 get pay raises when its time to negotiate a new deal. Torre, one of the best managers in baseball history, was asked to take a cut. Who is going to be fool enough to take that job?

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Where is Torre going to end up? The Kansas City Royals need a skipper. OK, there’s more of a chance of the Wolf Pack using Graziano and Kaepernick in the same backfield next year than Torre sitting in the Royals dugout. But just imagine for a moment the Royals with Torre in the dugout, Alex Rodriguez at short, Jorge Posada at catcher, Johnny Damon back in center and Mariano Rivera in the bullpen. Yes, they’d still finish fifth but it sure would send a message to New York, wouldn’t it?

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The Colorado Rockies in the World Series is all the proof you need that money is not the only ingredient needed to field a winning team in baseball. So forget all that big market, small market garbage. It’s about scouting and putting a team together that does what it takes to win. It’s not about putting together the best fantasy team money can buy. The Cardinals, White Sox, Angels, Marlins, Diamondbacks all have won the Series since 2001 with payrolls in the middle of the pack or lower. Maybe Torre to the Royals isn’t such a weird idea after all.

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Without Barry Bonds to baby sit, the Giants have an extra $12 or $15 million a year to spend. Hmm, let’s see. What can they do with that extra cash? Spend it on free agents like Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones or Aaron Rowand? Hire some of those Rockies scouts? Put another one of those goofy giant baseball gloves in right field? Sign Roger Clemens for three months? Build a life-size statue of Bonds and put it in the press box so it can haunt the media? Give it to the 49ers so they can afford to paint Candlestick Park?

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Isn’t it amazing how many horrible quarterbacks are drawing paychecks in the NFL? Vinny Testaverde comes off the golf course and buffet lines to win a game at 43-years-old. Trent Dilfer is starting. So is Brian Griese, Tim Rattay and Gus Frerotte. Elvis Grbac must not have a cell phone because it’s obvious nobody has been able to reach him. What’s Doug Flutie doing these days? Certainly someone could use a 5-foot-nothing QB to run around for a while. It’s no wonder Brett Favre is still out there. When Ault retires from the Wolf Pack (2025 sounds about right) he can always go into private practice as a quarterback tutor. Testaverde will be with his 28th franchise about that time.

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Dusty Baker as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds can mean only one thing. Kenny Lofton in center field at Great American Ballpark in 2008.That sound you just heard was Tom Goodwin, Calvin Murray, Marvin Benard and Shawon Dunston getting ready for Reds’ spring training.

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Has anybody noticed that the Wolf Pack football team has lost six of its last eight games dating back to last November? The last time the Pack lost six games in an eight-game stretch was 2001. Relax. There is no need to worry. This is not a repeat of that horrible stretch from the end of 1999 through the 2001 season when the Pack lost 21 of 25 games. The 2-6 record since last Nov. 18 is just a reflection of the schedule. When you play Boise State twice and Fresno State, Northwestern, Nebraska and Miami once in an eight-game stretch, well, you don’t worry about your record. There is no reason to panic, Pack fans.