Saturday, September 18, 2010


"And all I gotta say to you
Wannabe, gonnabe, cock-suckin', pussy-eatin' prankstas

'Cause when the fire dies down what the fuck you gonna do

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta"

~Geto Boys, "Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta"

A poignant and stirring message to our friends in the community who didn't think Coach Ault could ever win "the big one" (and my second reference to "Office Space" in less than a week). But ignoring my obvious lack of street cred, it does beg a couple of good questions: where exactly does this win rank in Wolf Pack history? And what does it mean for the program and community?

The answer to the first question is that we don't really know, and probably won't for at least a few weeks. I respectfully disagreed with fellow fans who insisted it was the biggest win in program history, and my reasoning for it is simple: it's too soon to tell. Just like with U.S. Presidencies or episodes of "The Simpsons," we have to let a certain amount of time pass in order to place a game like this in its proper context. Additionally, in the here and now, we still have no idea how Cal will play the rest of the year. If they pull a Colorado State and completely tank the next nine games, would anyone be able to look back on it so fondly? We've also shared a conference with Fresno State long enough to know that how you finish the season matters a lot more than how you start.

On that note, given the circumstances of the win, one could argue that we're not totally sure how good Nevada is right now, either. The Cal game was the beneficiary of a perfect storm of conditions that made it ideal for the Pack to finally shed its big-game bad juju: sold-out home crowd, national TV, a short week for the opponent to prepare, two previous home games to work out all of the kinks and an offense laden with seniors who were mad as hell and weren't going to take it anymore. In particular, three straight home games to open the season is a luxury even many BCS-conference teams don't often enjoy. What are they going to do when they eventually have to go back out on the road to open the season?

The second question, however, is much easier to answer: Friday night's win was nonetheless ENORMOUS for Nevada football and the Truckee Meadows in general. From a public opinion standpoint, the signature win that armchair fans, skeptics and general malcontents were waiting and pining for is finally reality. No "moral victory" or close call has one tenth the power of persuasion that a 21-point win over a Pac-10 opponent on national TV has.

And from an actual wins-and-losses standpoint it's obviously enormous, too. It wasn't that long ago that Nevada was 0-3 and starting to get acquainted with's Bottom 10. Now that record is reversed, both on paper and in the hearts and minds of Nevada fans. For a team that until Friday had only 2 wins against BCS-conference opponents in the last decade, the possibilities seem endless after a win like Friday's.

Recruiting-wise, it's a tremendous coup. Now, Nevada will be able to not only get into the living rooms of many recruits who might not have given them a second thought otherwise, but even go head-to-head with much bigger programs and use wins like Friday's as leverage to steal a couple from them each year. Instead of having one or two Brandon Wimberleys or L.J. Washingtons slip through the cracks to Nevada every year, the win could be used to pull in three or even four a year. Bit by bit it could add up until Nevada has built up a bona fide mid-major powerhouse program setting out on the same trail Boise State blazed years ago.

But that's the macroscopic (and potential) impact of this win. Ultimately, Friday's win is a beginning -- a fantastic and impressive beginning, yes, but a beginning all the same. Nevada has to prove it has staying power if it wants to convert the rest of its naysayers into true believers. And that can happen next week with the trip to Provo to face the Fighting Brighams.

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