Joe Santoro: Expect Hawaii Bowl to turn into a and#8216;pistol partyand#8217;
Sports fodder for a Friday morning
Expect the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve to be a Wolf Pack pistol party, something along the lines of Nevada 52, SMU 35. The Pack offensive line, which averages about 6-foot-5, 300 pounds, will manhandle a small SMU defense, which uses just three defensive linemen and four small (about 6-1, 218 pounds) linebackers. SMU will have all the intangibles. It’s their first bowl game in 25 years, head coach June Jones is returning to Hawaii and they’re coming off a 1-11 season in 2008. But the Pack has the biggest intangible. Anger. They are tired of losing spotlight games. See the last three bowl games, the last 10 Boise State games, the Nebraska game in 2007, Texas Tech in 2008, Missouri in 2008, 2009, Arizona State in 2006, Georgia Southern in 1990 (it still hurts). The Hawaii Bowl cannot be one continuous beach party, filled with fancy dinners, candlelight cruises and Hawaiian shirts for the Pack. This needs to be a serious business trip and the Pack desperately needs to take care of its business for once and set the tone for 2010.
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The Wolf Pack has a lot to play for in Hawaii. No current player on the roster has ever played in a winning bowl game. There is also the little matter of a three-game losing streak in bowls. That has to stop before the Pack turns into the Buffalo Bills of the 1990s. And, oh yeah, the guy on that other sideline on Christmas Eve wearing the ugly Hawaiian shirt will be none other than Jones, the ex-Hawaii head coach. Jones is 4-0 against the Pack in Honolulu and he would like nothing more than for his outdated run-and-shoot offense to upstage Chris Aultand#8217;s new-fangled pistol for the entire nation to see.
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Barry Bondsand#8217; agent, Jeff Borris, says it is likely that his client is now officially retired. Shortly after that statement, Borris told us that the BCS system is a joke, every coach in America other than Urban Meyer and Bob Stoops is interested in the Notre Dame job and that Joe Paterno was shocked to hear that a youngster like Bobby Bowden was ready to retire. Thanks, Jeff, for the update on Bonds. Now go find a few clients who donand#8217;t believe the strange little voices in their heads are out to get them.
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Shaquille Oand#8217;Neal is convinced LeBron James could coach in the NBA right now. This is the same LeBron James that showed a lack of sportsmanship by walking off the floor at a playoff game without congratulating the winners and who showed no class by turning into the NBAand#8217;s version of Ochocinco and dancing during a timeout when his team was whipping the Chicago Bulls. The sad thing is that Shaq is probably right. How difficult is it, after all, to diagram a play where four guys scatter to the far corners of the court while one guy goes one-on-five?
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The University of Tennessee football program is under investigation by the NCAA because of possible questionable recruiting practices by its Orange Pride football hostesses. It seems some of those “hostesses” allegedly traveled as much as 200 miles to attend the high school football games of some Tennessee recruits. Thereand#8217;s no truth to the rumor, by the way, that Tiger Woods was seen wearing Tennessee orange recently.
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Michigan State has had to suspend eight football players and kick two others off the team for an altercation in late November. The players reportedly planned the altercation after one of their teammates got into a fight the night before at a nightclub. Donand#8217;t even think of commending coach Mark Dantonio for kicking those players off the team. The same player that was involved in the nightclub fight was also involved in another incident the year before that earned him some jail time. If Dantonio would have kicked that player off the team when he should have, the incident in November likely never would have happened.
and#8212; Joe Santoro writes a weekly sports column for the Sierra Nevada Media Group.