Resolutions for the New Year, decade
New Year’s resolutions date back about 4,000 years to the Babylonians. It is unknown if there were quarry workers who pledged to find a better career in the New Year or if housewives and old men alike resolved to trim their waistline.
But while those remain popular resolutions in this day and age, I want to propose a different set of pledges for the New Year.
No, not for me (although I could lose a bit of this sports writer weight). These resolutions are for five groups/people that desperately need to make some changes in the upcoming year.
1. Carson High football
Please keep the Senators’ football team relevant.
Carson won its first league title since the late ’90s and fell just two games short of the state title game. The Carson-Douglas rivalry became relevant again after seven years of dominance by the Tigers. It was a sight to see more than 5,000 people pack the stands and nearly every student actually be into the game rather than trying to score a hot date with a girl at the snack bar.
So what the Senators lose 24 seniors to graduation. They still have, in my mind, the best high school football player in Northern Nevada in Dylan Sawyers for not just one more year, but two.
The defense was the best in the North this season and the remaining players know what it takes to maintain that level of intensity.
While Carson has enjoyed success in cross country, swimming, soccer and track, all that pales in comparison to what it means to have a successful football team. Almost everyone likes football and the city is better off having a team they can root for.
2. Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association
Realign, realign, realign.
Go ahead, upset some people in order to do what is right. Hug, Wooster, South Tahoe, Elko and Fallon are not good enough school-wide to compete in the 4A anymore and it’s not going to get better for those schools – ever. With respect to the kids and teachers at Hug, the area zoned for the school is not a desirable area to live – trust me, I’ve lived there.
Wooster is holding on to memories long since past. A baseball state title in 2001 and softball titles from 2000-03 are not enough to keep you in the 4A. The Colts are best compared to Dayton, who while it is able to stave off being an embarrassment to the league it is not on the same level as Truckee, who can actually compete on some level in the 4A. There is nothing wrong with being a mid-level 3A team who can once in a while, when a cycle of good athletes come through, compete for league titles.
The best athletes zoned for South Tahoe don’t even go to the school. Unfortunately for the Vikings, most skiers and snowboarders are home schooled. Nearly every sport outside of soccer and cross country have a hard enough time competing with 3A schools, but a move to 2A wouldn’t be fair to anyone.
Taking Elko out of the 4A is a resolution for nearly every coach in the league. Not having to endure the road trip alone is reason enough to take them out of the league.
When has Fallon ever been good enough to compete in the 4A? Enough with letting schools into the Big Boy League just because they have a big enough student population.
3. College football
Down with the BCS! Off with its head!
After years of complaining our Senators and Representatives have finally heard the cries. Sure it’s poor timing considering the country’s economic state, but look how long it took for them to pass the Civil Rights Bill.
Everyone with two brain cells (aka, everyone not receiving money from the BCS on a yearly basis) knows that a playoff system would be great for college football. The NCAA tournament is a huge moneymaker and captivates everyone from the basketball purist to the secretary who picks teams based on colors.
If the money holders don’t want to open it up to everyone, then give the Mountain West rights to the BCS, bump every conference up to 12 teams and close it off to everyone else for good by making those seven conferences the new FBS. Have a 12-team playoff in the existing bowl sites and rotate the title game to the different venues.
And quit allowing BCS title contenders to destroy glorified high school teams. Perfect seasons should mean something, instead they are diluted because teams want to schedule guaranteed wins.
Also, the season would have be cut down to 10 games and the athletes would have to learn to be STUDENT-athletes and take their classes while prepping for games instead of taking a month to have mundane practices while wrapping up finals. If kids can work two full-time jobs, have personal life and get their degree, so can you.
4. Pro sports in Northern Nevada
After a 21-year absence of affiliated “pro sports” in Northern Nevada, we now have the Reno Bighorns and Aces.
The Bighorns tipped off their first season in November 2008 and the Aces threw out their much anticipated first pitch a few months later in April 2009.
But in order for these teams to stay in the area, they need fan support and that’s something that this area struggles with. The Nevada basketball team, despite all of its success in this past decade, is lucky to get 4,000 fans out a night. The Bighorns, which had more than 3,000 fans a game last season have had less than 1,500 several times this year.
Area fans need to stop being fair-weather fans and support your teams in thick and thin. If you feel you need to wear a paper bag over your head, a la Detroit Lions fans, go ahead. Just come to the games.
5. Cary Groth
Take notes from Florida State.
The end of the Bobby Bowden era could be seen years ago but the man who built that program didn’t want to admit to it. But FSU Athletic Director Randy Spetman pulled the trigger and forced Bowden out, upsetting some but ultimately giving the program a chance to succeed.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Sure Chris Ault has led the Wolf Pack to five consecutive bowl games, but it doesn’t matter how many bowls you go to if you don’t win them, just ask Lloyd Carr and Mike Leach.
Ault made this program what it is, but it’s time to move on. His success is largely based in I-AA and the Wolf Pack can’t afford to be a I-AA team trying to compete in the Western Athletic Conference, which has already sent teams to BCS bowls three times. Nevada is on the verge of joining the elite non-BCS teams but it is clear that the defense is keeping it from reaching that level. Ault is able to grab some talented players, but not enough to compare with Boise State, TCU or even Utah.
I’ve talked to plenty of people in this area who are tired of Ault. Some complain about his coaching, others just complain about him in general. I don’t know Ault well, but I can tell you from what I’ve seen it’s time for this program to go in a different direction.
I’ll even throw out a name that isn’t too far away: Bryan Harsin. The Boise State offensive coordinator, who if Nevada doesn’t tap as the next coach could be on the opposing sideline in a few years handing Ault another loss.