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Williams should be in Hall of Fame

Joe Santoro
Nevada Appeal Columnist

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

If I was fortunate enough to have a vote for the major league baseball Hall of Fame, my 10 votes would go to Rickey Henderson, Bert Blyleven, Tommy John, Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, Lee Smith, Tim Raines, Harold Baines, Mark McGwire and former Carson Senator Matt Williams. All 10 of them were among the best players in their respective eras and the game misses them all. The first seven are obvious choices. Baines is a Hall of Famer because the voters need to realize that designated hitter is an actual position in baseball. McGwire is a Hall of Famer because it is not up to the writers to determine who used performance enhancing drugs and who didn’t. Matt Williams is a Hall of Famer because he put up solid numbers as a third baseman and because nobody played the game with more class.

Everyone connected with the Nevada Wolf Pack football program should send Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick a Christmas card this holiday season. The first year Irish A.D., did the Wolf Pack a huge favor this week by keeping Charlie Weis as his underachieving, arrogant, I-coached-Tom-Brady, look-at-my-Super-Bowl-rings head football coach. The Wolf Pack opens up Notre Dame’s football season next Sept. 5 in South Bend. Expect Weis’ head to be back on the head coach’s chopping block by the time the Pack is flying over Omaha on its way back to Reno the night of Sept. 5 after whipping the Irish by two touchdowns.

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 If the Wolf Pack is looking for motivation ” as if winning in South Bend isn’t motivation enough ” all they have to do is read and listen to all of the talk surrounding Weis and the Irish football program this week. It was mentioned, oh, a million or so times that Weis will do just fine next year because the Irish have a soft schedule. That so-called soft schedule, by the way, includes games against Stanford, Connecticut, Navy, Washington, Washington State, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Boston College, Pitt and, yes, the Pack. Expect Weis and Swarbrick to be fired at the end of the season after another six-win season.

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Pack football coach Chris Ault said last week that he wouldn’t have been comfortable accepting a bowl invitation if his team was 6-6. Well, what changed in the last year? The Pack was 6-6 last year and went to a bowl. Is it because somebody was afraid of finishing with a second consecutive losing season? Turning down a bowl game is silly in these days of economic struggles. It is simply not an option for a school like Nevada. The money, the national exposure, the recruiting benefits, the reward for your seniors are all reasons why Nevada should never, ever turn down a bowl invitation.

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OK, it is now official. The Pack football team’s 48-45 loss to New Mexico State on Oct. 11 at Mackay Stadium is the program’s worst loss since a 24-17 loss to UC Davis at home in 1989. New Mexico State won just one conference game this year. It never won another game after beating the Pack, losing its last seven games. And, by the way, it fired its head coach after the season. How can the same team go toe-to-toe with Texas Tech and Boise State, beat Fresno State, UNLV and Louisiana Tech on the road and also lose to New Mexico State at home? Now you know why Ault has so many gray hairs.

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The San Francisco 49ers need to offer Mike Singletary a four-year contract to be their head coach. Now.

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Lane Kiffin called the Oakland Raiders “a dysfunctional franchise” this week during the press conference announcing him as the University of Tennessee’s new head football coach. The Raiders might indeed be dysfunctional. But they are our dysfunctional franchise. Kiffin needs to just go to Tennessee, show some class, stop taking stabs at his former employer and be thankful somebody was dumb enough to hire him as their head football coach again.

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Nobody should have any problem whatsoever with Sports Illustrated naming Michael Phelps as its Sportsman of the Year. There really wasn’t even a second choice.

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If the San Francisco Giants would have added Jeremy Affeldt, Bobby Howry and Edgar Renteria last July, they might have ended up winning the National League West. But it’s December and, well, those three guys aren’t going to make anyone rush out and buy season tickets to put under their Christmas tree. Still, as we sit here today, the Giants are the most improved team in the division since the end of the regular season. 

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Oklahoma lost to Texas in October. Missouri is arguably the fourth-best team in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech. But Oklahoma and Texas Tech will meet for the Big 12 title. Boise State, Ball State and Utah are all unbeaten but none of them can possibly win a national title. Tell me again how every game in the regular season in college football is so meaningful?

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This Saturday, on the campus of the University of Nevada, will be the greatest day of the 2008-09 sports year in the state of Nevada. McQueen high will play for the Class 4A prep football state title at Mackay Stadium against Palo Verde of Las Vegas and a few yards away at Lawlor Events Center that same night the Wolf Pack men’s basketball team will meet UNLV. The state’s bragging rights on the line, two great games, four awesome teams, one parking space. The perfect day.