Sports Fodder: Pack chasing 2-0 start
September 10, 2010
Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .
Expect the Nevada Wolf Pack football team to beat Colorado State on Saturday night to improve to 2-0 on the season for the first time since 1995. Yes, it’s been 15 years since the Wolf Pack was 2-0. Bill Clinton was in the White House, the Wolf Pack was in the Big West Conference, Mackay Stadium had real grass and Colin Kaepernick was just 7-years-old.
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How rare is it for the Pack to go 2-0 to start a season? Well, this is the Pack’s 104th season of football and they’ve started 2-0 just 27 times. Ault has done it just 11 times in his 25 previous seasons as head coach. And he’s the only Pack coach to do it more than twice. Jerry Scattini (1970, 74), Joe Sheetketski (1948, 49) and R.E. Courtright (1920, 22) also did it two times. Going 2-0, especially against Eastern Washington and Colorado State, is not a reason to hold a parade down Virginia Steet. But it should be enough to sell out all of Mackay’s 30,000 or so seats for the Cal game on Sept. 17.
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The Wolf Pack is not going to turn the ball over five times this Saturday night like they did last year in a 35-20 loss to Colorado State. They aren’t going to have seven false start penalties. Kaepernick isn’t going to be responsible for three turnovers (two interceptions and a fumble) all by himself. The Pack won’t go scoreless in the first half. And the game is not in Colorado. Wolf Pack 48, Colorado State 17.
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If the San Francisco 49ers are indeed serious about getting back to the playoffs, then a victory on Sunday over the Seattle Seahawks is mandatory. No more excuses. The Seahawks wouldn’t finish as high as third in the Western Athletic Conference. Pete Carroll, the Seahawks new coach, had more NFL talent at USC. 49ers 27, Seattle 14.
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The Oakland Raiders do have a legitimate chance at an 8-8 season. And that’s not bad considering this once-proud franchise is currently sitting on a NFL-record seven consecutive seasons with 11 or more losses. But Tennessee, with running back Chris Johnson, might be the worst place for the Raiders to open the year. The Raiders haven’t stopped the run in almost a decade. Johnson and quarterback Vince Young could combine for 250 rushing yards. Titans 24, Raiders 17.
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There has been some talk of major league baseball adding another wild card team to each league. That would be a great idea for two reasons. The first reason is because it would add another deserving team to the postseason. This year, for example, there are seven deserving National League teams fighting for just four spots. The other reason it makes sense is because you could give the team with the best record in each league a bye in the first round. Everybody would have something to play for through the end of the regular season.
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The Western Athletic Conference had a great first week of football last week. Boise State beat Virginia Tech in what might be the best game all season in college football. Nevada, Idaho and Louisiana Tech all won games they were supposed to win. Fresno State beat Cincinnati. Hawaii made USC sweat and Utah State put a scare into Oklahoma. And San Jose State held Alabama under 60. Awesome week for the WAC. It’s too bad the conference is the football version of the Titanic looking straight ahead at an iceberg.