by Joe Santoro

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February 3, 2012
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Sports Fodder: Pack's signing class looks pretty good on first blush


Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

Trying to predict the success or failure of a college football recruiting class is silly on the first day recruits can sign a National Letter of Intent. But it looks like the Nevada Wolf Pack might have hauled in its best recruiting class since 2006. The Pack might have found no less than a half dozen guys who could be starting in the fall and another half dozen who will play significant roles. The names that stand out are wide receiver Nigel Westbrooks, defensive tackle Cortez Woods, defensive back Markus Smith, defensive end Shane Pennix, the two freshman quarterbacks (Hasaan Henderson and Tyler Stewart) as well as defensive back Nigel Haikins and running backs Xavier Stephens and Chris Solomon. But all 22 seem like they will find an important role in this program at some point in the near future. This was a good time for the pack to sign a strong and deep class because this class will determine how successful the Pack's first four or five years will be in the Mountain West Conference.

. . .

Head coach Chris Ault went heavy on offense with this recruiting class as 13 of the 22 are on Ault's favorite side of the ball. What does that tell us? Well, if Ault learned anything last year, it's that when his offense stumbles or is simply mediocre, this football program does not win. The losses to Utah State, Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss showed that. The Wolf Pack needs an outstanding offense -- and not just a good one -- to play with the elite teams and win championships. That's what this class tells us.

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The signing of both Henderson and Stewart, though, gives the Wolf Pack a very interesting and, possibly, controversial quarterback situation over the next five years. With Cody Fajardo seemingly headed to three more seasons as the starter, its highly unlikely that Tanner Roderick (a red-shirt freshman in 2012), Henderson and Stewart will all remain at Nevada throughout their college careers. There just aren't enough snaps and starts to go around. Don't blame Ault for stockpiling talented quarterbacks. But, if all these quarterbacks are as talented as he says they are, you have to wonder how all this will play out in the coming seasons.

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It's the Super Bowl and, well, it's not like America isn't going to tune in on Sunday. But does anybody west of Cleveland really care who wins this game? Does anybody really want to see a New York or Boston team win another championship? Neither one of these teams is great. Neither one, in fact, even deserves to be in the game. They both should have lost in the conference title games. I think I'll watch the Puppy Bowl and check back at halftime to see if Madonna's top falls off.

. . .

It is my duty as a sports writer, though, to give a Super Bowl prediction. Well, the sports writer in me says the New York Giants by 10. The Giants always beat the Patriots lately, they have the better defense and the better running game. They beat a better team to get to the Super Bowl. So my official Super Bowl prediction is Giants by 10. But the fan in me would love to see Tom Brady win a wild shootout, something along the lines of 38-35. A Brady victory, after all, will prevent all the idiots at ESPN from anointing Eli Manning as better than his brother Peyton because he will have more Super Bowl rings. That alone is reason enough to pull for the Patriots.

. . .

It is time the NFL does away with the Pro Bowl. That game last week was a disgrace. First of all, the best players on the best teams were not there. How can you have a so-called All-Star game without the best players on the best teams? Does anybody really believe that Cam Newton and Andy Dalton are Pro Bowl quarterbacks? And, second, nobody was playing hard. The defensive lineman barely got up out of their three-point stances. There was no pass rush, nobody wanted to make a tackle. There is more defense now in the NHL All Star game.

. . .

This has to be the most meaningless NBA regular season in history. The schedule is a joke, with teams playing back-to-back-to-back games thanks to the holdout. Injuries are piling up faster than you can say Bismack Biyombo. No team, it seems, ever has its true starting five on the floor. The players never should have agreed to a 66-game season in four months. The grind is ruining the game.


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The Record Courier Updated Feb 3, 2012 02:21PM Published Feb 3, 2012 02:17PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.