Sunday, October 31, 2010

Utah State vs. Nevada recap

National Champs?

In the first half of last night’s game, I saw a team that could be BCS national champions. Ok maybe we shouldn’t take it that far, but I did see a team that could compete against an Auburn, Oregon, Alabama, TCU, or Boise State. It was an amazing display of power and dominance. The defense stood its ground shutting Utah State out. The offense was methodical as always, at times running a 2-quarterback system looking as if it was running drills in practice.

The second half on the other hand was a completely different story. I saw the reemergence of a team that struggled to pull away from San Jose State, unlv, and who eventually lost to Hawaii. That team wouldn’t stand a chance against any of the aforementioned national championship candidates. We hadn’t given up 42 points all season, and the fact that we gave up everyone of those points in the 2nd half was flat out embarrassing.

I highly doubt any coach on our staff went into the locker room at halftime and used the word “content”, but that seemed to be the motto of the defense. The Aggies had 6 possessions and had 6 touchdowns. Our offense slowed as we were finally forced to punt in the game. Our special teams gave up a return for 6. I can go on and on about how poorly we played in the second half but I won’t.

I can only hope that the players realize that what they did in the 2nd half was unacceptable. I am sure the coaches will preach it, but the players need to act on it. This was a game that should have ended 77-0, It’s a game that should have reestablished us as a threat to Boise St, but it didn’t.

The only thing more disgraceful than our second half was our fans. To say the stadium was empty was an understatement. I can understand that a lot of our fans have kids and last night was the night to take your kids trick-or-treating, but last I checked students don’t go trick-or-treating anymore. At the start of the game there might have been 100 students in the student section, and at half that number dropped to 45. Now this is a blog and I’m protected by the 1st Amendment (I hope) so this goes to the students:

To the girls who would have rather gone out dressed like naughty schoolgirls and bad cops, And to the guys that decided it was more important to be Jack Sparrow or a giant penis…Please never show your face at another game. You are not a fan of football, you are a fan of social events. Burn your Nevada clothing because you don’t deserve to wear them. To the 3 girls sitting behind me who were chanting “Come on Collin!” when Tyler Lantrip was our quarterback, please attend your math 101 classes and learn the difference between the number 10, and the number 16. Furthermore the only thing that has continued to disappoint me about The University of Nevada is our sub-mediocre fan base, you say how horrible we are as a team, and then you say we’re great, then we lose a game and nobody comes to the games. How about you refrain from saying anything about the team, and how good or bad we are unless you actually come to the games and learn a thing or two.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Week 9 Ranking Implications

So after a week off in the ranking pictures, Nevada is ranked again coming in at #24. Just to put that into perspective, had Nevada have beaten Hawaii, most likely they would have been sitting at #15 this week. But what happened happened and it’s time to start moving up the ladder again. I see 2 teams ahead of us losing:

#18 Iowa losing to #5 Michigan Stat

#14 Nebraska losing to #6 Missouri

This means a jump of 2 spots to #22, but it could get better. The BCS rankings take into account the AP and the coaches’ polls and right now we sit at #26 in both of those. With a quality win this weekend we could be thrust up to #24 or 23 in those rankings which means we cold leapfrog #23 Virginia Tech who is idle this week. Depending on how well the team plays, meaning we have to show that we aren’t the same team that played the last 3 games, we could even sit as high as number #20.

Look for Nevada to be sitting at #23-20 come Sunday, realistically I’m predicting #21. Without the loss to Hawaii, maybe as high as #13.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Utah State vs. Nevada

Lets all hope that 2 weeks ago was a wake-up call for our team.

Utah State might not have the stats numbers we have but they are still a good team. A far cry from San Jose State.

In the past few weeks if you watched Nevada, you could see that they were tired. The emotion that they started the season with had dwindled away. This bye week that just past should have been a nice rest for the team and should allow them to come back out refreshed. I believe that this Nevada team will come out Saturday night and have shades of the Nevada of past, before our slump.

I expect our defense to step up their game, and the offense to go back to firing on all cylinders. Utah State's passing game might be the only question affecting the score. If it's hitting, they will keep up for a bit, if its not, it will be over soon.

Final Score Prediction:

Utah State 10 - Nevada 45

P.S. In a text sent to me by #4 Brandon Wimberly after the Hawaii game, he simply said "It won't happen again". Let's hope he's right.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In Defense of a Great Coach

Lets all point the finger at Ault!

That’s going to be the talk on campus come Monday and it will probably be echoing throughout the community.

Why do we have to mimic Philadelphia fans? Get real here people, last time I checked Ault doesn’t put on a helmet and shoulder pads and line up in the field of play. This is college football, anything can happen on any given day. If we’re going to start chanting “fire Ault”, then Alabama fans should be chanting “fire Saban” and Ohio State should be chanting “fire Tressel”. I mean come on, those were teams ranked #1 when they lost. We were ranked a measly #19, and quite honestly, with the way we’ve been playing, we didn’t deserve that.

Do we lay the blame on Kaepernick? I mean he did have 2 fumbles, 1 of which should have been a touchdown, and 2 interceptions? Or do we lay the blame on Wimberly because he let the last interception go off his hands? How about Dontay Moch for not having more sacks in this game? No, you move one. These aren’t professionals, they went out there and, maybe not in the 1st half, but in the 2nd half played with every last drop of heart and energy they had. So you applaud them on a valiant effort.

Lets face it, if we would have gotten a BCS game, it might have been against Alabama or Auburn, or Ohio state, and as must as I would love to say we would have hung in there (notice I’m not saying win here), we would have been slaughtered. I’m talking 70-3 type stuff here. But that’s not the point, the point is we got the BCS game right? Let me tell you something, I’m a Buffalo Bills fan, we went to 4 straight Superbowls, and lost them all. When I tell someone I’m a Bills fan and they say “Boy I Love Losing Superbowls” or how we couldn’t win one, I say at least we were good enough to get to 4 in a row…and you get laughed at because it means NOTHING. Anyone remember Hawaii’s Sugar Bowl experience? Exactly, its not brought up.

We can only hope that this game was a wake up call for the team, that we go into this bye week focused, and that we come out like a real football team and not one that struggles to pull away from San Jose State and UNLV. We beat Cal and BYU, big deal, I hate to break it to you but those teams suck.

All I’m saying is the man has over 200 wins. He’s had teams lead the nation in passing in one year and rushing in another year, the only coach in history to be able to claim that. He’s in the college football hall of fame. He invented an entire offensive system that’s taking the game of football by surprise. The only thing he hasn’t done is parted the Red Sea. Give the guy a break and think for yourself before you follow the masses.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Week 7 Ranking Implications

At the end of this weekend the only rankings that matter will be released, the BCS rankings. This might come as a shocker to all of you out there who aren’t familiar with the BCS, but don’t be surprised to see Nevada drop in the rankings. I have 3 teams ahead of us losing this week.

#12 Arkansas losing to #7 Auburn

#15 Iowa losing to Michigan

#18 Wisconsin losing to #1 Ohio State.

So looking at this you might think that those teams are all within our reach of ranking so we will move up 3 spots to #16 in the AP poll and #18 in the USA today poll. This matters a little bit as the BCS system takes this into account, but the other parts of the BCS don’t favor us too well.

Our strength of schedule might be one of the worst in college football this year. Although it did not look to be that way coming into the season, reality is that we are 6-0 against teams with a combined record of 10-23. And 4 of those wins are from D2 school Eastern Washington. Take them out of the picture and our opponents are only 6-21, that’s horrid.

Realistically I’m predicting the following rankings:

AP: 18

USA Today: 19

BCS: 22

I hope I'm wrong about the BCS, but just remember that being ranked at all is an accomplishment in itself. Also remember that this is a tough game and a must-win as is every game from here on out.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nevada vs. Hawaii

So you want a shootout? There probably wont be a better one this season.

This weeks game against Hawaii is far from being called a sure thing. Hawaii may not be able to run the ball well, but their passing attack more than makes up for it. Their starting quarterback, Moniz, already has 2,245 yards through the air. For comparison Kaepernick is standing at 1,321. Big deal right? Well here’s the thing, our secondary is starting to struggle again and this game could be a trap.

Defensively this year we turn it up in the second half, evident of most teams scoring the majority of their points in the first. Pressure from the defensive line has to be enough to make Moniz make bad throws because Hawaii’s receivers will beat us down the field. If we can keep those receivers contained however, we could have quite a nice number of sacks on the evening.

Offensively we have to avoid the stupid penalties we’ve been committing as of late. I don’t see their defense being able to stop us, but Kaepernick has thrown 3 interceptions, 1 in each of the last 3 games, this could hurt as here as stopping them on defense will be tough.

There will be critical performances expected of Brandon Marshall and James-Michael Johnson as they will find themselves in man to man coverage on wide receivers. Isaiah Frey needs to turn his head, which he probably won’t. Some how we need to force 3 turnovers or it will be a nail-biter.

I hate to say it but I see this one close till the end.

Final Prediction:

Nevada 55 – Hawaii 45

Total Yards Prediction:

Nevada 660 – Hawaii 595

Sunday, October 10, 2010

SJSU vs. Nevada Recap


Talk about ugly.

The last 2 games have been far from pretty. I don’t know what has gotten into this team but I do not like it. We have been playing down to our opponents’ level. Last year we annihilated SJSU and this year we struggled to pull away? 8 penalties for 89 yards? Missing chip-shot field goals? Let’s get serious here, this is the BCS era, a win is not just another W unfortunately, there’s style points and computers involved.

Then there’s a trend developing that I really hate, any idea what it is? It’s Drake, not the rapper, the kid on the team. I wasn’t a fan of you last year, I started to like you a little this year, and then you go and kick a kickoff out of bounds in 3 consecutive games? Do me a favor and quit the team please. You have one job, probably the easiest on the team, kickoffs. Punters and place kickers have more demanding jobs. You kick from the SAME spot every time and you can’t even be consistent, well I guess you are consistent in giving the other team great field possession.

Our defense played extremely sloppy in the first half. It started looking like last year’s defense all over again. Against a team like SJSU, that’s unacceptable. A big shout out to Dontay Moch who had a hell of a night and became the WAC’s all-time leader in tackles for a loss (which they should have announced at the game by the ways). A record that will only stand ~5 years as I see the WAC as soon being non-existent, but still a record to be damn proud of.

Our offense played like it usually does, potent and methodical but struggling to get in the endzone in the second half reminiscent of what happened in Provo. What’s killing me is how we managed to put up 640 yards of offense but only scored 35 points?

What happened to that team that played Cal? If we continue to play the way we have the last 10 quarters we don’t stand a chance against Hawaii, Fresno, and definitely not Boise St. This team needs a drastic turn around, that bye week can't come soon enough it seems.

And a special message to the students in the endzone section who started chanting “underrated”, if you knew anything about football you would know that based on our last 2 performances, were overrated. But I should know better because you’re probably the same fans who said we were going to get “smoked” by Cal before that game. Yes we’re 6-0, but our strength of schedule sucks and were doing the bare minimum to get by of late.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week 6 Ranking Implications

This week’s schedule is not as perfect for a Pack move in the national rankings as it was last week. In addition to that it’s week 6, and as you will soon see moving up will get harder. After looking at the matchups, I have 4 teams ranked ahead of us losing that could move us up. Here’s how I see this week playing out:

#19 South Carolina losing to #1 Alabama

#17 Michigan St. losing to #18 Michigan

#16 Stanford. losing to USC

#14 Florida losing to #12 LSU

The most important thing is that we have to look like the Nevada team that we are and WIN by 60+ points. If we do that and the 4 teams I said would lose actually do lose, we could make a jump in the polls to #16. If we do not put up an impressive showing against SJSU, we can stay at #21 or possibly even fall lower. Realistically I’m predicting Nevada sitting at #18 come next Sunday. Currently there are 7 1-loss teams ranked ahead of us in the top 25. There are 2 1-loss teams ranked below us in the Top 25, Florida St. and Air Force. If Florida State #23 beats #13 Miami, they will leapfrog us.

If you don’t believe how important it is to put up dominating performances from here on out just look at what happened to Boise St. this last week. They KILLED New Mexico State and DROPPED a spot. They’re Boise St., were Nevada. They’ve beaten 2 top 25 teams already, we’ve beaten one. Trust me when I say perfection is key from here on out. Nothing is guaranteed for a non-BCS conference team as unfair as that is.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

SJSU vs. Nevada

Sorry for the delay but school comes first.

Besides, there's not much to talk about when it comes to this game. SJSU is wishing they didn't have this game to play.

I see this game being an absolute blowout (I hope).

From the offensive side of the ball expect huge numbers. Kaepernick has been struggling to put up numbers as of late as you can see by that awesome graph I made. On the other hand Vai has been picking up the slack. This is not a problem as it shows how talented we are on the offensive side of the ball. Expect Kaepernick, and Vai to break some huge runs this game. Also expect some short passes to Virgil Green and Brandon Wimberly to end up going for big gains as this SJSU defense has had trouble making tackles in the open field.

Defensively expect the defensive line to have a field day. More big numbers from them as this SJSU offensive line will have a hard time giving their quarterback the time he needs. Expect quick screen passes that our defense will be prepared for. At the linebacking core expect more big numbers from Brandon Marshall and James-Michael Johnson. There is a chance that our secondary will give up a big play or two but I'm not seeing that very likely in this game. Instead I see 1-2 interceptions by our secondary.

Final Score Prediction:

SJSU 3 - Nevada 79

Monday, October 4, 2010

First and foremost, congratulations goes out to this Nevada team that has started the season 5-0. At the same time, I’m worried and torn about what to think. Coming into every season the Pack has two goals in mind:

1. Beat unlv
2. Beat Boise St. / Win the WAC (this is usually hand-in-hand)

But this year is different. Coming into this year, if you knew how good this team was, as I had been saying, there was a 3rd goal:

3. Get a BCS game (this is hand-in-hand with beating Boise St. this year, granted we are undefeated going into the game)

This team is more than capable of playing in a BCS game. If you really watched the last 2 games however you would have noticed that we’re not playing up to our full potential. The UNLV game should have never been close. The second half of the BYU game was average. The team needs to go back to playing how they played against Cal. That is Nevada football, and that is what this team needs to not only get that BCS game, but also to beat Boise St.

Remember a few blogs ago when I said we need to “blow out” teams? Well that’s not happening. When it comes down to the BCS computations, we are not going to rank as high as we should because of this. Cal being ranked #24 when we beat them has no relevance anymore as they are 2-2. Furthermore the combined records of the teams we have beaten so far is 8-16. The sad thing is that Division 2 opponent Eastern Washington is contributing 3 of those wins. The Division 1 opponents combined record is only 5-14.

As of now, there are only 4 games remaining against opponents with winning records (>.500), and one of these is Boise St. I can not stress how “perfect” we have to look against these teams. Playing like we have the last 6 quarters will not cut it anymore.

Now you might think I’m being pessimistic towards my team, but I’m not. I have high hopes and high expectations because I know that this is the best team we’ve had in the 8 years I’ve been following this team, and it will the best we have for a while. I am a Nevada fan through and through and have stood by this team through thick and thin. The team needs to stop being content with being ranked and move on to the bigger picture. We need to make this a year that people will talk about for years to come.

Tomorrow: SJSU game preview
Wednesday: Ranking Implications

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nevada vs. unlv Recap

Ok, so the cannon will stay blue, is that any surprise?

The only surprise that should come from this game is how poor we played. Yes we won, no we didn’t do it how we were supposed to. That’s not to say there weren’t any good things but the bad outweighed the good:

Need to improve on

1. I don’t know where these stupid turnovers are coming from, but they will kill us. Courtney Randall, hold on to the damn ball!

2. I know it’s a rivalry so there’s going to be penalties (in the stands too) but it needs to stop. 1 or 2 is ok, but 5+ in a game in unacceptable.

3. The secondary is starting to give up big plays again, this needs to stop immediately.

4. Our special teams looks horrible. We’re giving up huge return yardage; we got lucky that unlv did not return one on us. Drake, just when I was starting to be lenient on you, you go and kick another kickoff out of bounds? You have less responsibility than you had last year, stop f***ing up!

What I’m liking and you should too

1. Red zone defense. Our defense has a LOT of work to do to get to where we need to be, but our defense when backed up into the 20, is impressive.

2. Linebacker play. Brandon Marshall has stepped him game up! James-Michael Johnson has kept him game up! This is a good linebacking core and they are playing impressively.

3. Offensive production. This offense can NOT be stopped. I know it’s unlv but our average yards per play was 7.5. That’s retarded…in a good way. And aside from incompletions and the 1 interception, I don’t think there were more than 3 plays that we did not gain positive yardage.

The bottom line is we played horrible. We struggled to pull away from one of the worst teams in college football. This game should have been over after the 1st quarter, we let them hang around way to much. Nevada is ranked #21 in the AP Top 25 this week. We don’t deserve it. Rankings are supposed to tell you where you stand in a certain group. Being ranked #21 means that we should be able to beat everyone else from #22-120 right? Well I’m sorry but that’s not going to happen. USC, Texas, Penn State, Oklahoma State, Florida State, West Virginia, UCLA…yea, not going to happen. We have the talent and the personnel to beat them but we’re not playing like we should. Our last 6 quarters of play has not been Nevada football, that needs to change next week against SJSU and it needs to continue till after the bowl season otherwise this season can end up as a huge disappointment.