Joe Santoro | Expectations for Wolf Pack a mixed bag
Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .
What should we expect out of the Nevada Wolf Pack football team this year? The answer to that loaded question probably depends on how much silver and blue apparel is in your closet. There are five games — UC Davis, Hawaii, Air Force, UNLV and Colorado State — that the Nevada Wolf Pack football team should absolutely win this season. And there are five games — on the road at UCLA, Florida State, Boise State, San Diego State and Fresno State — where they will likely be the clear underdog. That leaves two games — San Jose State and BYU at home in the final two games of the year — that will make or break the Wolf Pack’s bowl chances under new head coach Brian Polian.
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The expectations surrounding this Pack football team are all over the road. Anywhere from five to seven wins is a reasonable guess for Polian’s first season. That’s the sane, logical and safe prediction for a rookie head coach with a new staff competing in a league they know nothing about and doing it with the previous head coach’s players for the most part. Anything less than five wins you have to give Polian the Chris Tormey Award. Anything more than seven wins and Polian can run for mayor.
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Polian might not know it yet, but the biggest game on his first Wolf Pack schedule is not Florida State, UCLA, BYU or Boise State. It’s UNLV. Tormey never figured that out and he was run out of town after four seasons. Chris Ault, who won his last eight games against UNLV (and nine of his last 10) never lost sight of the fact that UNLV was the prize he had to get every season. Tormey was 0-4 against UNLV so he was fired despite the fact that his teams always won more games than the year before. The Pack could go 4-8 or 5-7 in Polian’s first year and nobody will be calling for his job as long as one of those four or five wins is against UNLV.
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A couple of former Pack players not named Colin Kaepernick have an excellent chance at considerable playing time this NFL season. Tight end Zach Sudfeld is practicing with the New England Patriots’ starters and defensive back Isaiah Frey is in the running to be the Chicago Bears’ fifth defensive back. Sudfeld, who wasn’t even drafted last spring, is already earning the nickname “Baby Gronk” in honor of injured tight end Rob Gronkowski.
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Bishop Gorman graduate Shabazz Muhammad was sent home recently from the NBA’s four-day Rookie Transition Program because he brought a woman to his hotel room. The program, which warns NBA rookies of all the evils to look out for in the NBA, only lasts four days and Muhammad, now the Minnesota Timberwolves’ problem, couldn’t last the 96 hours without breaking the rules. Bringing a woman to the NBA rookie seminar is sort of like sneaking a six-pack into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Muhammad is a wonderful talent but it seems he can’t go six months without some controversy. He would have to be the next Michael Jordan to make all the trouble worth it to the Timberwolves.
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Johnny Manziel, it seems, is doing everything he can to put Texas A&M in his rear view mirror. He now is being investigated for allegedly accepting payment for his signing his name on hundreds of items. If you were waiting for Texas A&M to remember it is an institution of higher learning with the goal of turning impressionable young adults into responsible adults, well, forget it. This is the same football factory that didn’t even make Manziel miss a game after he was involved in a fight outside a bar and was caught with two fake ID’s. And that was before he was Johnny Football. Manziel is further proof that Division I universities all over the nation — yes, even on north Virginia Street — have sold their soul to the great money making machine that is college football. Texas A&M is not going to discipline Manziel. Their only goal is to squeeze every dollar it can out of its bad boy quarterback.
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The New York Yankees’ organization should be ashamed of itself for playing Alex Rodriguez. Just because Rodriguez is allowed to play while he appeals his suspension doesn’t mean the Yankees have to play him. The Yankees are a mediocre team with or without him. This would be the perfect time for the Yankees, as one of the most respected organizations in all of sports, to send a message that cheating will not be tolerated. It would also be a great message for the Yankees to send to America’s youth. The Yankees, though, are knowingly playing one of the biggest performance enhancing cheaters in baseball history.
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