Friday Fodder: How big would a Pack win over Cal be? | RecordCourier.com

Friday Fodder: How big would a Pack win over Cal be?

by Joe Santoro

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

This is the victory Nevada Wolf Pack football fans have been waiting for. A victory over Cal Friday night at Mackay Stadium would energize all of northern Nevada. Wolf Pack football would suddenly be the hottest ticket in town. It would be the Pack’s most significant victory since it beat 16th-ranked Fresno State in 2005. It would be its most significant non-league victory since it beat Washington on the road in 2003. It would be its most significant non-league home victory since it beat BYU in 2002. It would be Chris Ault’s most important non-league victory of his 26-year career as head coach. If the Pack wants to grow up to be Boise someday, this is the day to start.

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The good folks who hand out the Heisman Trophy did the right thing by taking Reggie Bush’s 2005 trophy away from him this week. But they didn’t complete the process by giving the award to somebody else. Bush doesn’t deserve the award because he should have been ineligible to play that season. No argument here. But if he was ineligible, someone else would have won it, right? Vince Young finished second that year to Bush in the voting (79 voters actually gave him a first-place vote) so it should go to Young. If the Heisman folks leave the ’05 award vacant, as they plan to do, it’s as good as honoring Bush. But if somebody else’s name was listed that year, Bush would be completely wiped away. Isn’t that what they want to accomplish?

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The Bush scandal has actually given the Heisman Trophy its most publicity in decades. The Heisman Trophy has gone the way of the circus, drive-in movies and heavyweight championship fights. Nobody cares anymore. A series of ridiculous winners (Danny Wuerffel, Chris Weinke, Jason White, Troy Smith, Eric Crouch, Gino Torretta, Rashaan Salaam) the last 20 years in addition to countless other awards handed out to college football players every year, have dulled the Heisman’s shine.

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The Western Athletic Conference, which is currently in a fight for its life, wants Fresno State and Nevada to stay through the 2011-12 season. The penalty for leaving the WAC after this season would be $5 million, not to mention getting dropped from the Christmas card list of the six remaining WAC members. OK, easy decision. The Pack should stay in the WAC another year. What’s one more year? The longer this drags on and the more lawsuits that come forth from the WAC lawyers, will only tarnish everyone’s image. There’s no reason to bring lawyers into this. Pack fans can wait another year to join the Mountain West.

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The San Francisco 49ers season is not over. It’s only going to take nine victories to win the division anyway. But with the New Orleans Saints coming to Candlestick on Monday night the 49ers are looking at an 0-2 start. That means the 49ers will have to go at least 9-5 to make the playoffs the rest of the way. That’s tough for a team which has yet to learn how to win on the road. But don’t worry about the defense. They’ll be fine. It’s Alex Smith that you should be worried about.

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The Oakland Raiders are facing a must-win game this week. It’s the Rams. The game is in Oakland. No excuses. The Raiders lose this one and they are looking at another six-win season.

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This is another interesting week of WAC football. We all know about the Cal game at Mackay Stadium. It could be a program-changing game for the Wolf Pack. But that’s not the only interesting WAC game this weekend. Fresno State is at Utah State in the first league game of the year. Don’t, by the way, be shocked by a Utah State upset. Hawaii is at Colorado and UNLV is at Idaho. Navy at Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State at UTEP are also interesting games. And, oh yeah, Boise will destroy Wyoming. Give the WAC credit. The conference knows how to schedule interesting non-conference games.

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If the NFL used the Bowl Championship Series system, the 49ers, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers would already be out of the Super Bowl picture.