SANTORO: Nevada doesn’t deserve bowl bid
December 7, 2012
Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . . The Nevada Wolf Pack football team doesn’t deserve to go to a bowl game. The Wolf Pack lost four of its last five games. They did not beat a team all season that has more than four victories right now. They lost to all of the competent teams (Air Force, South Florida, Boise State, Fresno State, San Diego State) on their schedule and beat all the horrible teams (Cal, Northwestern State, Hawaii, UNLV, New Mexico, Wyoming and Texas State). This is a team that deserves a reward? But they will be in Albuquerque, N.M. (OK, maybe reward is too strong a word) against another team (Arizona) that also doesn’t deserve to go to a bowl. But that is the current plight of college football. It’s a glorified 9-year-old kid soccer league where everyone gets a trophy and a pizza party at the end of the season. College football has made going to a bowl game meaningless.
If the Pack beats Arizona it will be their best win of the year. And it°Øs not even close. Cal was nice when it happened but the Golden Bears won just three games this year and fired their coach. And, yes, the Pack can beat Arizona. Arizona, also 7-5, is one of the few teams in the nation that might actually have a worse defense than the Wolf Pack. The smart money, though, has to go on Arizona. The Pack and its pistol offense rarely plays well in bowl games. Arizona°Øs high-powered offense could put 60 on the Pack. Expect 100 points to be scored in the New Mexico Bowl. And if it goes to overtime, it might be 150.
The New Mexico Bowl is one of 10 bowls that doesn’t have even one team with as many as eight wins. The bowl games, though, have absolutely nothing to do with football and winning games. They are just holiday programming for ESPN. If it wasn’t for ESPN, we’d
see almost half the 35 bowls immediately disappear. There really is no incentive for the vast majority of college football programs — the Pack is in this mediocre group — to ever win more than seven or eight games. And you can thank ESPN.
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Since we are on the subject of undeserving bowl teams – about a third of the teams going to the postseason fit in this category — probably no team is more undeserving of its postseason position than Northern Illinois. The Huskies deserve to go to a bowl game but they certainly have no right being in a BCS bowl against Florida State in the Orange Bowl. They didn’t beat anybody all season long. Their 12-1 record is filled with victories against the likes of Buffalo, Ball State, Akron and every directional Michigan school you can think of. When you start handing out BCS bowl spots to Northern Illinois, well, this just might be the most watered down season in the history of college football.
The Wolf Pack basketball team is a disappointing 4-4 right now and is lucky they aren’t 1-7. But better days are coming. The Pack is heading into a stretch of nine games in 43 days where they could emerge with an 11-6 record that includes a 3-0 start in the Mountain West. The schedule is just that soft. Then again, as we’ve seen, there are no easy opponents on the schedule for this Pack team. When you can’t score or defend in the paint nothing is a sure thing.
The San Francisco Giants are letting their second World Series title in three years go to their heads. How else can you explain giving a three-year deal to a 37-year-old Marco Scutaro and a four-year deal to Angel Pagan, a 31-year-old journeyman outfielder? Pagan and Scutaro are serviceable major leaguers and are nice complementary parts to a winning team. And they played like Joe Morgan and Pete Rose for the Giants last year. But that’s not going to happen again.
The California Golden Bears made an excellent hire this week when they named Sonny Dykes their new head football coach. Dykes’ Louisiana Tech Bulldogs this year might have had the best offense in the nation, averaging 52.5 points and 578 yards a game. Cal will now have an offense to compete with Stanford, USC, Oregon and, yes, the Wolf Pack. Dykes, who learned his craft under Mike Leach and Mike Stoops, is a brilliant offensive coach. And this is not good news for the Pack, who now have to compete with Cal and Dykes for quality northern California recruits on offense.