Sports Fodder: Boise-less MWC not an attractive place
October 28, 2011
Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .
Property values in the Mountain West Conference’s neighborhood might decline rapidly in the coming weeks. By the time the Nevada Wolf Pack unloads its moving van and takes up residence on Mountain West Boulevard in 10 months, its new street might be filled with For Sale signs, abandoned Toyotas on every other lawn and neighbors peering out behind torn curtains and holding a shot gun. Boise State, which seemingly shops for new conferences as often as the rest of us shop for new cell phones, is being wooed by the Big East. Moving to the Mountain West after Boise moved out would be like moving to Anaheim, Calif., after Disneyland relocated to Phoenix. Instead of Mickey Mouse knocking on your door with a welcome-to-the-neighborhood gift basket it would be Mickey Rourke.
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A Mountain West without Boise (and possibly Air Force, another Big East target) isn’t anything to get excited about if you’re a Wolf Pack fan. It would basically be the Western Athletic Conference as it stands now with a couple minor tweaks. And nobody is excited about that, as last weekend’s disappointing crowd of 15,113 at Mackay Stadium with Fresno in town with first place on the line proved. If Boise moves east, the Wolf Pack should seriously consider staying in the WAC. They could always play all the Mountain West schools in their non-conference schedules. The Pack in the WAC would win the league title every year in every sport and go to a football bowl game, the NCAA basketball tournament and the baseball regionals 19 years out of 20. What’s wrong with that?
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The San Francisco 49ers should bring back Terrell Owens. OK, stop laughing. Owens would be the perfect fit for the Niners, a team that needs a go-to wide receiver almost as much as the Mountain West would need a go-to anchor store football school if Boise left. Owens will be 38 in December but he can still be productive. The guy did catch 72 passes and nine touchdowns last year from Carson Palmer. Don’t forget that Jerry Rice caught over 300 passes and nearly 30 touchdowns after the age of 38. The Niners are going to make the playoffs. The next 10 games will be nothing more than a tune-up for the postseason. That’s more than enough time to get Owens acclimated to his new teammates. He could be exactly what the 49ers need to get to the Super Bowl. Why not give it a try?
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Sorry, Chicago Cubs fans, you are not going to win a World Series with Theo Epstein. And stop reminding everyone what Epstein did with the Boston Red Sox. The organization Epstein inherited in Boston after the 2002 season is not the same as this Cubs mess he has inherited. What do the Cubs have? Starlin Castro and ivy on the outfield walls? If not for a colossal collapse by the New York Yankees in 2004 and the chance to play the Colorado Rockies in the 2007 World Series, Epstein’s Red Sox would still be haunted by the curse of the Bambino. Epstein put together a dysfunctional, heartless, soft, aging, overpaid, over-hyped team in Boston this past season. Players, from all reports, were getting drunk in the clubhouse (and possibly the dugout) during games. Actually, come to think of it, Epstein should fit in quite well at Wrigley.
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Epstein’s frat-boy clubhouse in Boston last season is the reason why major league baseball is considering a ban of alcoholic beverages in the clubhouse. Why is this even an issue? Unless you are Don Draper in a 1960’s Madison Avenue advertising agency, you don’t need alcohol at your disposal in your workplace. What other profession has free alcohol available during the workday? Get the booze out of the clubhouse. Is baseball so boring that players need to drink during the games? Major leaguers can afford to go to a bar after work like everyone else.
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The Indianapolis Colts (0-7), St. Louis Rams (0-6), Miami Dolphins (0-6) and Minnesota Vikings (1-6) are leading the Andrew Luck Derby. If the Colts end up with the top pick in next spring’s draft, they should do the honorable thing and trade Peyton Manning. The Baltimore Colts traded Johnny Unitas, the New York Jets traded Joe Namath, the Indy Colts can certainly deal Manning. The owe Manning a chance at another Super Bowl. He’s certainly not going to get it in Indy. You also don’t want to have an ugly Aaron Rodgers-Brett Favre situation on your hands, with Manning (in the role of Favre) refusing to ever retire and making things uncomfortable for everyone. When you get a chance to get a young franchise quarterback, you take it.
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Carson Palmer and Kyle Boller combined to throw six interceptions last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. All that proves is that in the NFL you simply cannot play quarterback without talent or ample practice time. Now, the lack of talent issue with Boller is something the Raiders can’t fix. They knew that already or else they wouldn’t have sold their soul to get Palmer last week. But they can get Palmer more practice time. They’ll be fine.