Sports Fodder: Nevada stars get red-carpet treatment | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Sports Fodder: Nevada stars get red-carpet treatment

Joe Santoro
Special to the Tribune

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Colin Kaepernick, Dontay Moch and Virgil Green are now full-fledged rock stars. They have been on a three-month non-stop tour of NFL training camps, college all star games, private workouts and television network studios and are now hotter than Justin Bieber, Beyonce and Charlie Sheen all rolled into one. What has the last three months of the Kaepernick-Moch-Green Look at Me Live Tour taught us about the Nevada Wolf Pack football team of 2010? Well, it has taught us three things. The first thing it taught us is that we just might have seen the greatest collection of talent to ever wear a Wolf Pack uniform in one season. The second thing it taught us is that 13-1, despite a gift from the football Gods that mysteriously sailed to the right of the goal post on the night of Nov. 26, wasn’t a fluke. And the third thing it taught us is that we might not see a repeat of 2010 for a very long time.

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Don’t get me wrong. The 2011 Wolf Pack football team is going to win a ton of football games without the likes of that amazing recruiting Class of 2006. But to just assume that 2010 can be repeated over and over again, well, don’t forget that it took a century to get here. And don’t, even for a moment, take for granted just how special Kaepernick, Moch, Green and fellow seniors like Vai Taua, John Bender, Jose Acuna, Doyle Miller, Ryan Coulson and Kevin Grimes truly were. Even the goofballs that run the NFL realize that now.

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Kaepernick has gotten a lot of publicity, fanfare and love the last few months. But you know what? He is still underrated. The NFL scouts and so-called experts who churn out a new mock NFL draft every 12 hours or so still have no clue about just how special a player Kaepernick can become. Kaepernick remains ranked behind the likes of fellow quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallett and even Christian Ponder and Rickey Stanzi on some mock drafts. There is obviously still a bias against schools like Nevada. Put Kaepernick in a BCS jersey and he’d be picked in the top 10 on April 28. He’s the fastest quarterback in the draft. He’s the smartest. He has the strongest arm. And he had the best college career of all of them. But, still, he’s the fifth or sixth best QB in the draft? Yeah, right.

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All I can say to those NFL goofballs is, “Good luck with Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett and Andy Dalton.” Christian Ponder and Ricky Stanzi have Arena League written all over them. Cam Newton has JaMarcus Russell written all over him. And Blaine Gabbert is a Chase Daniel wannabe. Kaepernick is a once-a-generation talent, competitor and person.

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The Pack player that has gotten the least love from NFL scouts, though, is Taua. There are at least two dozen running backs in this running back-poor draft better than Taua, if you believe all the useless information out there on the internet right now. Taua deserves better. All he did was explode into the end zone repeatedly in his college career. Yes, OK, he’s not the fastest guy out there. But did you ever see him get caught from behind at Nevada? All I saw was Taua bursting through the line of scrimmage (nobody hits a hole harder and faster) and beating everyone to the end zone. Some team is going to get a heck of a free agent running back after the draft.

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Is Manny Ramirez a Hall of Famer? If you let Ramirez into the Hall of Fame then you have to let all of the performance enhancing cheaters into the Hall of Fame. Ramirez, though, was more than just a cheater. He was the laziest, dumbest and least caring player of his generation. He quit on four teams in the last four years of his career (the Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox and Rays). You want that guy in your Hall of Fame?

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The University of San Diego college basketball point-shaving scandal is just the tip of the college sports betting iceberg. Betting on college athletics is one of the top pastimes of college students at just about every campus in the nation. The Nevada sports books are a minor league operation compared to what is happening on campus these days with student bookies. There would be no college sports as we know it, with its multi-million dollar television deals and multi-million dollar coach contracts, without college sports betting (legal and illegal). How did you do on your NCAA Tournament bracket, by the way?

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The NBA usually gets what it wants And we all know it wants a Los Angeles Lakers-Miami Heat championship series. The last thing the NBA wants is a slow-down, methodical defensive seven game snooze fest between the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls. Yes, it would be the best pure basketball series. But television ratings and, more importantly, advertising dollars aren’t about pure basketball. It’s about showtime, baby. So, the first time you see Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, LeBron James or Dwyane Wade get called for an offensive foul in the playoffs, let me know. I won’t be holding my breath.

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Bryant should have received at least a one-game suspension for his off-color gay slur to a NBA official that was caught on national television. Even commissioner David Stern, who fined Bryant $100,000 for the remark, said it was “offensive and inexcusable.” But we shouldn’t be surprised that Bryant won’t miss any playoff games because of it. You don’t want to jeopardize that Lakers-Heat title series, after all.


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