Joe Santoro, Tribune News Service columnist

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December 17, 2010
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Some reward for being No. 13 in nation

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

OK, we understand that everything in Nevada Wolf Pack football world, to borrow a line from acclaimed philosophers Ren & Stimpy, is happy, happy, joy, joy. Go Pack, baby! The Kraft Bowl rocks! We get it. Enjoy the moment, Pack fans. You deserve it. But, admit it, playing Boston College is, well, about as exciting as getting a pair of brown socks from your uncle on Christmas morning. Wow, gee, thanks. I needed socks. How did you know? Nothing against Boston College, a proud football program with a fine tradition. Just not this year. Doug Flutie or Matt Ryan won't be at AT&T Park on Jan. 9. The Eagles won't be coached by Frank Leahy, Tom Coughlin or Jack Bicknell. Is getting to play a 7-5 team that finished fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference really all the reward the Pack gets for going 12-1 and being ranked 13th in the nation?

. . .

The Wolf Pack is in a no-win situation on Jan. 9. They are expected to beat Boston College. Heck, they are expected to trample the Eagles. The Pack is 13th in the nation. Boston College isn't even 13th on the east coast. It's practically a home game for the Pack. Boston College's fans have already turned their attention to Tom Brady, Rajon Rondo, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. The Pack simply has to win on Jan. 9 or else the nation will perceive their No. 13 BCS ranking as a joke. Beating Boston College does nothing for the Pack. A loss, though, will be like stepping out of a warm shower into the Minnesota Metrodome during a snowstorm.

. . .

We also understand that the three-hour infomercials known as the college football bowls have silly tie-ins with certain conferences that dictate most of the opponents and prevent interesting, worthy match-ups. But let's dream a little. The Pack should be playing someone like an 11-1 Michigan State, a 9-3 Alabama, a 10-2 Missouri, a 10-3 Nebraska, a 10-2 Utah or even a 9-4 Florida State. A win over one of those teams would mean something and a loss wouldn't put a damper on the entire season. Any of those teams would be a worthy opponent for this Pack team. It would be the brass ring this Pack team deserves. And if you want to stick them with a 7-5 opponent, how about Florida, Penn State or Notre Dame? Beating any of those big-name programs would be the perfect way to end this Pack dream season. But, no, the Pack gets a pair of brown socks as a bowl gift.

. . .

Can Olek Czyz save this Wolf Pack basketball season? Definitely. Czyz is everything this young Pack team needs - a dynamic athlete who can jump out of the gym who isn't afraid of the spotlight. But give him time. He could come out Friday night at Lawlor Events Center and score 20 points in 20 minutes or he could go 1 for 8 from the field. Just be patient. He's played just 112 minutes of basketball in the last two-plus seasons since leaving Reno High. We don't know what the results will be like the rest of this Pack season. But there is one thing we do know. It won't be boring.

. . .

Coming back this season to the Minnesota Vikings has to rate as the biggest mistake Brett Favre has ever made in his career. It cost coach Brad Childress his job, and it left Favre looking beaten, battered and bruised. But give Favre credit for going out with class. He didn't fight coach Leslie Frazier last week about playing against the New York Giants. I'm sure if Favre pressed the issue, if he was that crazy about his consecutive games streak like his critics have always claimed, he could have been out there throwing wobbly ducks, getting picked off five times and generally getting mauled. You know, like we've already seen six or seven times this year. But Favre didn't whine about not playing last week. And it looks like he's not going to whine about not playing the final three weeks. He's handling the end much better than anyone imagined he would.

. . .

What, exactly, are the Oakland A's doing? Why would they trade Henry Rodriguez, a kid who throws 100 mph, for outfielder Josh Willingham? Don't they already have three or four Josh Willinghams? They are called Coco Crisp, David DeJesus and Ryan Sweeney, right? Rodriguez, as Reno Aces fans know all too well, has an electric arm. You don't trade an electric arm for an outfielder that runs on batteries.

. . .

New York Jets' strength coach Sal Alosi obviously had a brain cramp when he tripped Nolan Carroll of the Miami Dolphins last weekend. He deserves to be fined and suspended. No question. But this entire incident is also getting blown totally out of proportion. No, Alosi isn't a member of Tony Soprano's mob. He's not going to slide into Whoville on Christmas Eve and steal all of the toys, tong-tinglers, floo-flounders, jang-jinglers and roast beast. He's just a guy doing what he's told (no matter what the Jets are saying), doing the dirty work all teams do. It's just that he got caught. So, yes, fine him, suspend him, whatever. But this guy isn't evil. Does anybody really believe coach Rex Ryan had no clue what Alosi and his crew were doing?


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Dec 17, 2010 01:30AM Published Dec 17, 2010 01:26AM Copyright 2010 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.