Monday, November 30, 2009


Well, yours truly had the chance to drive up to Boise on Friday morning for the (unofficial) WAC championship game. On top of seemingly everything else that didn't go according to plan -- getting pulled over for speeding in Oregon, having to explain to the hotel desk clerk that I didn't, in fact, cancel my reservation, tailgating in the rain -- the Wolf Pack came up short in its bid for an outright title. The winning streak is over. Sunrise, sunset. Sigh.

The aforementioned rain lasted up to halftime, and as a result, I was reluctant to whip out my digital camera as often as I usually do for road games. After seeing how quickly my group's white foam board signs became soaked, I think you would've reached the same conclusion (Hence why the above photo is not from me, but Liz Margerum at the RGJ).

With that said, some of my parting thoughts from this bittersweet game include:

  • I'm proud of how the team played. Say what you want about the obvious need to not spot the Broncos 20+ point leads early in the game, but there was absolutely no quit in this team. In a situation when others would roll over and accept their fate, the team raised its collective head and soldiered onward.
  • The secondary didn't get beat on deep passes. You read that correctly. Kellen Moore and his receivers got their yards and points on short to moderate routes, yes -- the fact is they're just too good not to. But for an area that has consistently and thoroughly plagued the greenhorn secondary since Coach Burton's arrival last year, they didn't yield the 40- and 50-yard bombs we're accustomed to seeing a few times every game.
  • The defense was not fooled by trick plays. The two-point conversion in the first quarter -- unusual for most teams, but not for Boise State -- and the halfback pass in the third quarter were both snuffed out.
  • The defense, as a whole, played well enough to win. Both defenses, in fact, made some good adjustments in the second half, each forcing a turnover and only surrendering 17 points apiece. Unfortunately...
  • Nevada's offense and special teams did not play well enough to win. Colin played noticeably better than last year's 19-of-50 showing, but got less effective protection as the game wore on. And any time the team is held to about 100 yards less than their rushing average on the season, a tough task is made even tougher. The word "frustration" will one day show up in Webster's with a picture of Boise State's opening kick-off return for a touchdown. The one touchdown special teams surrenders all year long, and it comes at the worst possible time!
  • Boise State's fans -- in person, at least -- were exceptional. I experienced nothing firsthand that would change my belief that they are some of the best you will find anywhere. Some of their Internet fans will continue to get a bad rap, but you're in the wrong place if you expect me to pile on the criticisms of them (of which I still have several, make no mistake). Instead, consider something the author Michael Crichton once said. When explaining the conclusions he ultimately drew while researching for his book State of Fear, Crichton said "The world changes. Ideologues and zealots don't."
  • The Pack fans who made the trip were also exceptional. What they lacked in quantity they made up for in quality. They made more than their share of noise and seemed to relish being greatly outnumbered. But what made me the most optimistic was their average age: looking around me, the majority of them were either current students or recent graduates. They were fans who probably have little to no familiarity with the Tormey years and -- dare we say it -- can actually see how bright the future is for this team and want to be a part of it. Even as the clock wound down and the loss began to sink in, I still smiled a little and felt a twinge of pity for the Renoites who still insist on sitting at home because of their myopic disdain for one guy on the sidelines. I'll say this about my fellow diehards: we don't always come out on top, but we always have more fun! And on that note...
  • The people of northern Nevada have a team they can be proud of. We're all disappointed the team still can't seem to get that signature win it needs. But if that's the reason why you might be hesitant to come out and support these guys, you're still missing out on something really special. Look at Packfan7's entries on the history this team continues to rewrite. Listen to anyone who goes to the games tell you how dynamic and exciting this team is to watch in person. Pencil in some season tickets for next year. Do something -- anything -- to show this team how much you appreciate their hard work and sweat translating into great things on the field! Be the positive change you want to see at Mackay. Be the fans that help the team get to the next level.

If you didn't already notice, I'm not bummed about this loss -- at least, not that much. It was an unfortunate end to the regular season, but it's not the end of the season. Now the hard part will be waiting one more week as the Pack's bowl fate is left in the hands of the college football gods.

Or Commissioner Benson...


On second thought, I've always been meaning to start praying more.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Interview with OBNUG

Since OBNUG wasn't really doing the whole "blog bets" thing this year....WHEW, we did a little Q and A with them instead.

Here is what they had to say before the game, and here is our postgame reactions to that.

1. We've read a lot of Boise fans stating that the 4-2-5 is Boise's base defense and is the "spread killer". Recently it was pointed out that against Oregon this year and against Nevada last year, the Bronco defense did not use it's base defense and that instead ran a lot of 6-1 cover zero. Do you think that is true and what do you expect them to do this year? Also, why do you think fans say that the Pistol is a spread offense? A lot of Nevada fans feel that it has evolved into a power running game with Wing-T and triple option principles.

I have not heard anything about the Broncos playing a 6-1 against Oregon and Nevada. Lies! Lies, I tell you. Who are the six and who is the one? It might seem like a 6-1 since the linebackers are so sold out to the run, but that is nowhere near the alignment. Also, the Broncos rarely play a cover zero defense. It is more often a combo zone based upon the short and wide sides of the field. I could see a single-safety zone against Oregon or Nevada with everyone else playing short zones underneath, but a cover zero? Rarely.

Don't get me wrong. The idea of a 6-1 is very intriguing to me, but if the Broncos were to have played a 6-1 against either Oregon or Nevada, I would have known about it because the Idaho Statesman would have written about it. Oh wait. I'm confusing the Idaho Statesman with the imaginary newspaper that writes about things I care about. And has Sally Forth cartoons.

Today, I covered a new wrinkle that the Broncos might use on Friday ( It's a base 3-4 look or, as your friends might call it, a "6-1 cover zero." The Broncos play a defensive end at outside linebacker, bring their nickelbacker into the box at the other OLB, and move a defensive tackle out to defensive end. It is the same personnel as the 4-2-5 but a different alignment based on what the offense shows.

No matter how the Broncos line up, I think that a lot of elements from last year's defensive strategy will remain in play. I see Boise State putting a defensive back on Kaepernick. I see the Broncos pinching the interior lineman and flooding linebackers up the middle to take away the dive. I see TFLs and sacks and turnovers. I have 40/80 vision and may need corrective lenses.

As far as Nevada's spread goes, here's the deal: How do you define a "spread" offense? If we are being really particular about it, a "spread" offense is simply an offense that spreads its players across the line of scrimmage. As such, any three-WR base offense is a "spread" offense, and Nevada runs a "spread" offense. Boise State's 4-2-5 works against the "spread" because it replaces a slow linebacker with a faster linebacker/safety hybrid who matches up better with a third receiver without giving much away in run support.

What Nevada does from the spread is where the real debate lies. I would totally buy into the power running game angle because I think that is really the intent and purpose of the Pistol and it is the M.O. of this Nevada team. To be considered a power running team, it doesn't matter what formation you run from so long as you can run at will over an opponent. Ipso facto, Nevada's a power running team.

(I'm not quite sold on the "Wing-T" theory since it is a formation rather than a play. The triple option I'll buy, provided there are indeed three options on a particular play.)

Post game response:  Boise is who we thought they were.  As many times as we saw Iloka firing up from the safety position to make a tackle on Taua (like the first two plays of the game) and saw safety Jerone Johnson and corner Kyle Wilson up in Kaep's gril on run support, it was obvious that Boise sold out to stop the run and the read option.  Nevada looked good for a little bit in the first half throwing the ball and it lead to a couple of 2nd quarter scores.  In the end, a team who's only thrown 37 times in it's last 3 games combined isn't likely to come out slingin it consistently for 4 quarters of football against the leagues best defense.

2. Someone recently pointed out that they felt Boise was actually better last year than this year and used WAC points allowed as their basis. The numbers are 22 ppg this season vs. 12 ppg last season. Do you think that last years defense was better or is this years WAC better from top to bottom?


I think both are true. Last year's defense was an all-time beast of a unit that was more dominant than any Bronco defense in school history. Don't bother checking that statement with facts; I didn't. The WAC teams on the Broncos' schedule this season are some of the best opponents that the conference has ever had. I think this is a direct correlation to the fact that Brent Guy, Tom Brandstater, and Taylor Bennett are no longer in the conference.

Boise State's defense would have challenged the 2008 version if it had been able to play up to the potential it showed in this year's Oregon game. Obviously, that has not happened. Whether it be mental lapses, breakdowns in fundamentals, or whatever, this year's defense just hasn't been as out-of-this-world good as last year's. How much worse have they been? Marginally. And let me be clear that being worse than last year's defense is not that bad. The defense that takes the field against Nevada on Friday night will be, in my estimation, the best one that the Wolf Pack have seen this year.

Post game response:  Boise's defense may well have been the best we faced this season.  For Nevada to have scored 33 points against them in their house is a solid guage of just how far the offense had come from the 35-0 shutout at Southbend to start the season.  Up next:  Work on the passing portion of the pistol offense to compliment the dominating run game it generates. 

3. Kellen Moore is having a fantastic season for you guys but recently got left off of the Davey O'Brien finalists. Boise State is in a position that even with a win this Friday they may find themselves left out of the BCS picture, again. How frustrated are you with the hideous orange and blue colors your team wears that prevents you from being the chic pick in any event? And also how frustrated are you with your AD for not scheduling at least one more Oregon quality opponent this season? Are you in favor of the 2-1 games (whatever it takes to get us in the ring with the big boys) or are you in the "we've proved ourselves and why should we have to settle for anything other than 1-1 deals" camp? It was rumored that BSU wanted $1M recently to play someone big. True? Thoughts?

College football is the devil, and no matter how Jesus films I ship to its address, it will always be the devil. I have given up trying to find a way for the Broncos to succeed in this backwards-thinking mess of a sport. If Boise State schedules tougher opponents, the BCS will find new ways to screw the Broncos over. It is a never-ending cycle of disappointment, anger, and depression, followed by my running giddily into the open arms of the NHL playoffs.

Instead, I've chosen to focus on the virtues of the Boise State football team and celebrate the privilege of rooting for one of the best all-around teams in the country. That's why a Bronco loss on Friday will pretty much end me. Until the NHL playoffs, that is.

Post game response:  The Bronco's may well just slide into the BCS as an at-large with the no show that Oklahoma St pulled today.  It will be interesting to see how things shake out.

4. You have an interesting situation brewing that you might not be aware of. Earlier this year you picked ESPN's Graham Watson as your public enemy number one. You had Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick as a close second. Graham Watson is picking you guys to win this game. Colin Kaepernick is playing you in this game. If Kaepernick has a monster game and Boise St doesn't win.....Do you fault the person who jinxed you or the person directly responsible? Does Watson remain your #1 enemy? Does Kaepernick take over? What if Ault pulls a Blount and sucker punches Pete after the game? Does he take over?

My site has been about one or two years behind in each of its Public Enemy choices. The first one was Dan Hawkins, well after he had already spurned the Broncos for greener pastures. The Graham Watson choice would have been much better in 2008, rather than in 2009.

Officially, Watson retains her title until the new PE#1 is crowned next spring. Unofficially, I've been hating Craig James pretty bad for about a month or two. If Kaepernick has a monster game and then votes the Broncos No. 18 in his poll, he might give James a run for his money.

Post game response:  We were  honestly just hoping and praying that it would be the Ault punch to Peterson's face that happened.  There's always next year.

5. Speaking of Kaepernick; he along with Vai Taua and Luke Lippincott became the first trio of players ever in the NCAA to rush for 1,000 yards in the same season on the same team. They did it in 11 games. How impressive of a stat is that and what do you set the over/under for rush yards allowed by Boise in order for Boise to win this game? What do you think the over/under for Boise State's pass yardage is in order for Nevada to win this game. What is the over/under on number of "trick plays" (I.E. half back pass, fake punt/fg, onside kick, etc) attempted in this game?

Congratulations! You did it! World's best backfield! Good job, everybody. [/Elf'd!]

Here are my predictions.

Over/under on rush yards allowed for Boise State to win: 250. Nevada got under 150 last year and came close to pulling out the W. I've seen the Broncos withstand some pretty big ground games this season, so I'm thinking this defense (and offense) can handle at least 250.

Over/under on pass yards allowed for Boise State to win: 200. If Kaepernick gets hot, I think Boise State is in trouble. Passing yards can keep the Wolf Pack in the game, provided they don't turn the ball over. If Kaepernick gets over 200, a game we shall have.

Over/under on trick plays: 70. I consider every play run from the Pistol formation a "trick play."

Post game response:  OBNUG called this one pretty spot on.  We were just under 250 rushing (242) and Kaep was under 200 (141).  It was still a game, regardless but we could have used a little more of both in the second half and the turnover that OBNUG so kindly mentioned was a momentum changer.

6. One last question: When you look back on the season, where do you feel this game ranks in order of difficulty and importance? Some were calling the Oregon game the biggest in Bronco Stadium history. Does this one surpass that?

The Oregon game will always remain the biggest game of the season. Pat Forde was there. Duh.

However, I think that this game might be the most important WAC game at the stadium in several years. The Wolf Pack will be the most serious threat to Boise State's conference reign since Colt Brennan's Hawaii teams. Those games always had a special feel. This one does, too.

Post game response:  Although it was a huge game and turned out to be fairly close in the second half, the initial down pour of Boise points gave the game a feel of it never really being the battle it was billed to be.  It's too bad.  Had Nevada kicked off and forced them to earn the points through a long drive like they did on Boise's second scoring drive, it may have given the entire game a different feel.  Instead it just gave it a hopeless feel.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


The Nevada Wolf Pack has become the first team in NCAA football history to have three different players rush for over 1,000 yards in the same season.

Think about that.

No seriously.  THINK ABOUT THAT!

The first recorded game took place in 1875 between Tufts University and Harvard University.

We know that Tufts vs. Harvard really isn't the same thing as todays game.  It is safe to say that they've been doing the college football thing for a solid 100 years now.  And with 120 teams in todays game, you figure Nevada is the first team out of somewhere around 10,000 previous teams to accomplish the feat.

Pistol Whipping the WAC wanted to give a shout out to the following:

Chris Ault - inventor and implementor of the offense that made it happen and the coach of one of the guys who did it.

Chris Klenakis - the guy calling the plays.

Jim Mastro - the guy coaching the other two guys who did it.

Cameron Norcross - the guy coaching the guys who blocked for all those yards.

Scott Baumgartner - the guy coaching the guys who had to block downfield to make this happen.

Ken Ackerman, Jose Acuna, Chris Barker, John Bender, Alonzo Durham, Mike Gallett, Steve Haley, Joel Bitonio, Aaron Huck, Stephen Jeffers, James Laughlin, Jeff Meads, Jeff Nady, Alex Pinto, Jon Rabe, Jack Reynoso, Steve Werner, Kevin Bohr, Virgil Green, Talaiasi Puloka, Zack Sudfeld, Kelton Hall, Josh Morrow, Shane Anderson, Joseph Huber, Kyle Larimer, Darvin McCauley, Moe Patterson, Zack Quilici, Dwayne Sanders, Tray Sessions, Malcolm Shepherd, Shea Slayton, Jeffery Taylor, LJ Washington, Chris Wellington, Brandon Wimberly, Michael Wyman, Luke Collis, David Fales, David Fisher, Tyler Lantrip, Emir Lopez, Mason Magleby, Mike Ball, Brandon Fragger, Stephon Jefferson, Cameron Loeffler, Lampford Mark, Courtney Randall - every single offensive player on the roster who blocked for these guys in a game, scrimmage, or practice.  Who hit them with the bag and challenged and pushed them each and every day to get better on the practice field and in the weight room.

Vai Taua, Colin Kaepernick, Luke Lippincott - they guys who allowed themselves to be pushed to be the best they could be all year and were able to stay healthy and unselfish long enough to accomplish such an amazing feat.

Monday, November 16, 2009

3 X 3000?

Earlier this year, Nevada became only the second team ever in college football to have three running backs reach the 2,000 career yards mark in the same season.

And everyone knows that this year Colin and Vai have crossed the 1,000 yard mark and if Luke gets just 154 yards in his last 3 games, they will become the first team in NCAA history to have 3 different players rush for over 1,000 yards in the same season.

Now here's another little nugget of info we thought about:

With Luke at 2,846 career yards running, Kaepernick at 2,738, and Vai at 2,692 the Wolf Pack could have three players go over the 3,000 career rushing yards mark in the same season.  We believe that would be a second "never been done" accomplishment for the Pack.

Luke will need 154 yards (there's that number again!) which would mean 52 per game including the bowl game.  That's 35 yards below his season average per game.  And when you consider he didn't carry against Notre Dame then you have to believe he'll get there.

Kaep will need 262 yards which will mean 88 per game including the bowl game.  This is 13 yards below his season average per game.  This will probably be the most difficult one for the Pack to achieve as you know teams will be gunning to keep Kaep in check.

Vai will need 308 yards which will mean 103 per game including the bowl game.  Vai has ran for over 100 yards in 6 consecutive games.  That number is 15 yards below his season average, and considering he did not carry against Missouri then you to believe he'll get there as well.

This pistol offense that coach Ault has firing sure has been exciting to watch.  There are a lot of very interesting and historic things taking place right now on the field for the Nevada Wolf Pack.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In Memoriam

Every fan of Wolf Pack football lost a dear friend this weekend. A man who never failed to make us smile, lift our spirits or brighten our day with his sense of humor and general outlook on life. A man who quite literally had a hand in helping to bring pride and dignity back to college football in Reno. The phrases "class act" and "credit to his profession" are thrown around a lot these days, but in this case both are completely justified. I'm speaking, of course, about UNLV head football coach Mike Sanford.

Yes, loyal reader, I'm afraid it's true. In two weeks, after what will have been five seasons of completely and utterly sub-par football, our friend Mikey will be shown the door. In his place another ambitious rube will commit another five years to continuing the Rebels' long and proud tradition...of completely and utterly sub-par football. The Circle of Life is beautiful in its simplicity.

Oh Mikey! You graced the Pack with your presence once a year for five years, and provided us with many happy memories which will not soon fade from our hearts. Who could forget the 2005 game in which you so graciously returned the Fremont Cannon -- all critical pieces intact and accounted for -- to Reno? Or your tireless efforts to help bring the largest crowd in rivalry history into Sam Boyd Stadium in 2006, and quickly out again after the second half began? There was the 2007 game, and your refusal to plan for another scoring drive even as the Pack scored the winning touchdown (you were always such a kidder, Mikey!). Remember the 2008 game, and all your hard work getting your players to believe their own hype just so Nevada's players could appreciate dropping 49 points on them that much more? We do, too. And what about Mike Ball? He and his mom both swear up and down they think you're a nice guy. Honest.

And let us not forget any of the smaller, but no less poignant reminders we'll always have of why we love you. Little things like...

  • Giving Nevada students an excuse to rush the field.
  • Giving Nevada students an excuse to rush the field in Las Vegas.
  • Rocky Hinds, and how he could've walked on water if he'd only stayed healthy.
  • Kicking a field goal with less than five minutes left in the game to courageously prevent a shutout.
  • Snapping a field goal over the holder's head.
  • Seeing you claim -- with a straight face -- that you beat the "school up north" in head-to-head recruiting.
  • Frank "The Tank" Summers and his rolls of neck fat.
  • T-shirts that said "It Takes a Tank to Win a Cannon."
  • The pleasure of seeing your players bite on the same fake hand-offs over and over...and over...and over...and over...and over...and over...and over...
  • Taking time out of your busy schedule in order to help rewrite Nevada's record books for rushing stats.
  • Listening to Rebel fans sitting around us wonder out loud -- without a clue or a trace of humility in their voices -- "How did this quarterback end up in Reno?!"
  • Rebels2k3, and the wonder that is The Beatdown thread on Silver and Blue Sports.
  • The one time Colin held out the ball on a read option, and his running back accidentally ran behind him...and Colin still picked up five yards on the play. Seriously Mikey, it takes a special kind of defense to bite on a fake hand-off to an invisible running back!
  • Giving Nevada punter Brad Langley a breather for the entire 2009 game.
  • ...and over...and over...and over...and over...and over...and over...and over...and over...

But as warm and fuzzy as all of those memories will continue to be, nothing -- absolutely, positively, Scout's honor, no bull, NOTHING -- can top the Iowa State Meltdown:

Yes, we're aware that Sanford wasn't told the play had already been reviewed and confirmed...but therein lies the beauty/comedy/tragedy of it all. The cluelessness, the trip and fall, the insistence upon making a scene in order to get what you want -- that, in a nutshell, is UNLV football.

And while the meltdown in Ames will never be topped, at a press conference yesterday our friend Mikey tried his hardest to do just that. And frankly, he almost succeeded:

After outlining the choice we all have between being a victim and using circumstances to help make one's self a better person...he then throws his entire athletic department under the bus for not giving him enough time and resources. That's not very nice, Mikey! We do appreciate what you said about Nevada's facilities being better than yours, though -- you're honest about one thing, at least.

So goodbye, Mike Sanford. Goodbye to your quick smile, your quicker excuses, your naive optimism and your totally unjustified confidence. Enjoy your fate as a skid mark on the underwear of college football coaching, and please let all of us here at Pistol Whipping the WAC know how "out-recruiting" the "school up north" is working out for you.

Cause If You Don't Know, Now You Know

Oh yeah baby.  One of the smack talkinest fan bases in the WAC saw their team go down HARD this weekend at the hands of the #1 rushing offense in the country as the Wolf Pack exerted their dominance over the Fresno State Bulldogs by a score of 52-14 in front of a good crowd at Mackay Stadium.

The win takes the Pack to 7-3 on the season and 6-0 in the WAC.  Next up is a little payback trip to the New Mexico St Aggies.  A game that is being shown on ESPNU at 7:30 pacific time next Saturday.

Now, next weeks game is great and all, but we aren't finished with rubbing a little salt in the wound of our other red wearing friends from the south.

Yeah, we heard it all this week.  Won't be able to stop Mathews.  Gonna find which team in the WAC really knows how to run the ball.  Hands down Fresno is better than Nevada, etc, etc, etc.  You remember last year we did a story comparing the Bulldogs of Fresno to Uncle Rico?  Listening to their fan base you would think they could throw the ball over a mountain.  Or at least run all over Nevada while stopping the Pack rush attack.

Let us tell you something boys and girls:  Before Mathews got hurt, Mathews was getting STUFFED.  He had one memorable carry for 20 yards on Fresno's second drive.  Subtract that and his remaining 7 carries netted him 12 yards.  In fact, checking the play-by-play, he had 3 carries of -1 yard each.  But that's right.......Nevada only has a good run defense because they haven't played anybody.  Their stats are inflated.  They aren't that good......We hope Ryan Mathews is ok.  That was a nasty collision with safety Jonathon Amaya.  We just wish he could have finished the game so his 100 yards rushing streak could have been broken without the excuse of the injury.  At the 4ypc he was averaging before the injury, he would have had to carry 17 more times with his team being behind 10 points at the time he left the game.

You want to keep talking ooc games?  Who cares.  0-3 vs. 0-3. 

So you played Wisconsin in Wisconsin to a 34-31 game.  And Cincinatti in Cincinatti to an 8 point game.  You played Nevada to a 52-14 whipping in Reno is what you did there.  Who cares if Nevada got drubbed in week 1 at South Bend.  Like that really has anything to do with Nevada in Reno in week 11.  Get over yourselves already.  La Tech played LSU to a 24-16 score tonight in one of, if not the toughest stadium to play in in college football.  La Tech is 3-7.  It means NOTHING!  We're sick and tired of the whole, "boo-hoo, Nevada embarassed the WAC in ooc.  We hate you because you make our conference look bad."  Oh yeah?  Well guess what....We hate you because you melt down in our conference every year and never live up to the self made hype you project all season.  Or maybe we love that about you.  We aren't sure yet.

And as for ourselves.  Well it looked to us like you knew what was coming and you were powerless to stop it.  Lippincott had 14.9 per carry and a buck fifty.  Taua at 10.5 per and a buck seventy five.  Kaepernick chipped in 95 and, well, we guess you could say you were mildly successful in that you held him to 7.9 per which is actually below his NCAA leading 8.3 per.  We didn't even have to wear you down.  We were getting playstation numbers on the ground during the first quarter.

BTW, since we return most everyone as does Boise St next year.....and with Idaho getting better and Utah St and La Tech being young, well coached programs.....enjoy your stay at "middle of the WAC team" for the next couple of seasons.

We'll stop there.  It's pretty harsh but that's what happens when you run off at the mouth all season.  It gets slapped.  All those Fresno fans walking around Reno this weekend who would stop and bark at fans wearing the silver and blue all the sudden got real quiet Saturday afternoon.  Just like we like em.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Undoing History is Hard Work

Just a quick entry today on the eve of what should be an epic showdown with Fresno State tomorrow afternoon.

By now I’m sure you’ve heard the big news out of Legacy Hall: Nevada and Cal will play a three-game series in football, and the Golden Bears are coming to Reno next year for the first third of the series.

In the last four years alone, Nevada has secured home-and-home series with the likes of Northwestern, Texas Tech, Missouri, Oregon and Arizona and two-for-ones with UCLA and now Cal, all while playing a paltry number of FCS opponents. Furthermore, as per the athletic department’s press release announcing the series, Nevada is seeking out one last game to complete what would be a 13-game schedule for next year, and the program’s first seven-game home slate in nearly twenty years!

I’d like to be the first – and if not the first in general, then at least the first to do it in cyberspace – to declare that Nevada’s senior associate athletic director, Rory Hickok, deserves a raise. Yes, times are tough and money is tight everywhere you look, but this guy deserves a lot more praise and positive attention than what he’s currently getting. He’s done nothing but work minor miracles with Nevada’s football scheduling, and this recent agreement with Cal is perhaps his finest achievement to date. Because of his efforts, Nevada has finally orchestrated a series with one of the two BCS teams in its backyard that has inexplicably avoided it on the gridiron for more than sixty years. Yes, Cal and Nevada played in Berkeley in 1996, but only because the team originally slated to visit – Pacific – dropped its entire football program beforehand, and the Pack answered Cal’s call for a replacement opponent.

Whether Cal’s athletic director strong-armed Bears coach Jeff Tedford into this series or if he finally gave his own consent is unknown, and frankly, doesn’t matter. The fact that it’s a two-for-one and not a home-and-home series? Fuhgeddaboudit! Berkeley is the easiest football road trip a Pack fan could possibly ask for – even easier than San Jose – and in the next six years you can look forward to making it twice. Doublemint was right: double your pleasure, double your fun.

And to those of you who believe Nevada is "settling" for a two-for-one series here, in the immortal words of my best friend from high school: don't get your panties in a bunch. As my twin friends here illustrate, two really is better than one in this case. Besides, I seem to recall the men’s basketball team “settling” for a two-for-one series with Kansas a while back…

So if you ever happen to see Mr. Hickok in person, be sure to thank him for everything he’s done to elevate Wolf Pack football. Heck, take a few minutes out of your day and send him an e-mail to let him know just how freaking sweet this all is. A pat on the back or a handshake is easy compared to reversing sixty years worth of history.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guest Poster Get's in the Mix

And recaps the beatdown of San Jose that was doled out on Sunday.

An Introduction, and a Road Trip Report from San Jose

Before I begin, an introduction is in order. I am a recent Nevada graduate, a current season ticket-holder for Wolf Pack football and men’s basketball, and an aspiring blogger who has (perhaps foolishly) decided to apply for work in this monkey organization Packfan7 is running. In addition to attending as many home games as I can manage, I’ve traveled all over this great land of ours to watch the Pack play. Seattle , San Jose , Stockton , Fresno , Las Vegas , Boise , Logan , Chicago and South Bend have all bared witness to my borderline clinical obsession with the Pack, and I vow to add even more locales to that list in the coming years.

I’m looking forward to my future contributions, and to dialoging with any and every reader who happens across this blog. Packfan7 has granted me the ability to blog about basically whatever I want regarding the Pack – a decision he will come to regret.

With that throat-clearing out of the way, here are my observations (and pictures) from the beatdown that was San Jose 2009:

The tailgating scene next to Spartan Stadium. Give the Spartans this much credit: their fans throw a pretty good party. And consider this the next time you want to complain about parking at Mackay: a space in this lot? $30.

Vai Taua's dad and grandfather were kind enough to offer us some of the fantastic BBQ they were serving up, along with this all-important checklist.

How quant!

Not so quant.

You can barely see him, but the guy standing behind the girl on the right is wearing a Michael Vick jersey. Classy.

His career with the Raiders winding down, Tom Cable decides to try his hand at DJ. What loyalty he continues to show his (future) ex-team!

Bay Area sports fans...snooty? Surely you jest! Now pass me another merlot.

The proper way in which to settle any tailgating dispute -- dance-off!

The drunken dancing aside, this guy was terrible. Here he is trying to "rock tha mic" as you kids call it.

The view from what would've been my seat if I'd stayed put. Oddly enough, this is also what the stadium looked like for most of the night.

The closest the Spartans would ever get all night.

The Spartan Marching Band enters.

Downtown San Jose from the top of the east bleachers.

And this is how the Spartan defense felt for the entire game. Quick aside: why is Wolfie wearing pants, but Alphie isn't?

Drake's opening kick-off.

Our new seats afforded our group a better view of the players. Even while we made general fools of ourselves throughout the game, the players stayed focus. What troopers we cheer for!

Alonzo Durham had some cheerleaders of his own. What are the chances the athletic department could start a "'Zo Knows" ad campaign?

Good view of the players. Better view of the cheer and dance teams.

How good is Colin at running the Pistol? Even my highly trained (translation: not trained whatsoever) eye can't tell who has the ball on this play.

Coach Ault and Colin discussing something after another score.

In San Jose this is considered over 11,000. And I'm not making that up.

One of the cheerleaders who so kindly put up with our group repeatedly butchering the fight song that night.

Arguably the most underrated assistant coach in the WAC, running backs coach Jim Mastro.

The offense prepares to take the field again.

Given how often this offense scores, these cheerleaders probably ran several miles worth of end zone that night.

Even opposing band members like our cheerleaders.

The PAT that followed Vai's long TD run. Crushing spirits is fun!

Pulled out in the third quarter, Colin's greatest enemy for the rest of the game was boredom.

Tyler Lantrip prepares to lead the second-team offense.

Courtney Randall prepares to take a hand-off and remind us why he's the team's short yardage back.

Kevin Basped: "I dunno, we're just awesome, I guess!" (Disclaimer: I don't know what Kevin actually said, but pretending is fun)

For the sake of getting home earlier, we decided to head out right here. The team must've sensed we had left, because they didn't score again for the rest of the game -- how nice of them!

Thanks to all of my friends for taking part in what was a great experience. And great job, Pack -- keep the good times rolling all the way through Boise and whichever bowl game you end up in!


Hey, thanks a lot of the pics and thoughts PBAM.  If you keep doing more, we'll keeping posting them up.

Friday, November 6, 2009

No Forgiveness

So how many of you remember this image?  Apparently it's the only one the rest of the college football world remembers when the words Nevada Wolf Pack are mentioned.  Or so it often feels that way.

For whatever reason Nevada stumbled out of the blocks.

A team that was thought to be a BCS buster type was shut out on opening day against a Notre Dame opponent it was supposed to give a run for it's money.  It was then embarrassed two weeks later by a Colorado State team that has proved to be anything but spectacular.  And a week after that on national television once again, it looked like perhaps Nevada was finally going to get a win against an undefeated Big 12 opponent....only to stumble late to a team that has since lost 3 of it's last 4.

Going into this game Sunday night with the struggling San Jose St Spartans, Nevada needs to make a statement on national TV.  The Wolf Pack needs to stop the whole business of going into the half up or down by a score.  We need a good old fashioned "taken them to the woodshed" type of game out of the gates.  It won't be easy.

San Jose has played two of the top Pac 10 teams on the road (USC and Stanford), a ranked Utah team, and three of the top 4 WAC teams with two of those (Fresno St, Boise St) being on the road as well.  And if you didn't watch that game at Boise, then we'll fill you in.  It should have been a 10-7 game at the half in Boise.  A bizarre series of events that began with a poor call (resulting in a WAC official being suspended this weekend) and ended with 14 unanswered points in under a minute made it a much different ball game.

The last time Nevada was at Spartan Stadium it looked like the Pack was going to cruise to a victory up 24-10 at the half.  Two quarters, 17 unanswered points, and a missed 37 yard field goal later and the Pack had to make the long bus ride home as 27-24 losers.

That simply can't be the case this year.

Our message to the team for this weekend is this:  Don't leave your hearts in San Jose.  If you get your foot on their throats early, step down hard.  Keep blitzing.  Keep scoring.  Don't let up.  You are capable of it and you'll need all the momentum you can muster for the short week of practice heading into the final home game against Fresno St.

Good luck and Go Wolf Pack!