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Can the Pack 'run the table'?
by Harry Spencer
Sep 24, 2010 | 1518 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune File/John Bryne - Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick looks downfield during a game against Boise State on Nov. 21 2008. Nevada will play Brigham Young University today.
Tribune File/John Bryne - Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick looks downfield during a game against Boise State on Nov. 21 2008. Nevada will play Brigham Young University today.
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Much later today we will find out whether the University of Nevada, Reno football team will have a realistic shot at going through to an undefeated season.

Playing Brigham Young University (BYU) today may or may not be the Wolf Pack’s stiffest test to date. After the Blue and Silver totally demolished the University of California’s Golden Bear squad last week by three touchdowns, will the Mormon squad actually present a tougher challenge?

Already Nevada has been installed as a 3-point favorite as of press time and BYU will be without its regular starting quarterback, which are but two of the factors weighing heavily in the locals’ favor.

In addition, the Wolf Pack’s offense has been operating at a high level for its first three victories and it was the much maligned defense for the Silver and Blue that actually turned the tide against Cal.

Recently, BYU caused a major upheaval in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) when it announced that it was leaving the Mountain West Conference (MWC) to play in it what was the PAC 10 next season. Then it reneged and decided to go independent when it came to football.

What it did to the WAC was cause Fresno State and Nevada to announce that they were leaving the WAC and joining the MWC.

“Not so fast,” said WAC commissioner Karl Benson, who noted that the two defectors had not notified the WAC by deadline time as specified in the bylaws of the WAC. Benson’s stance was that the two schools would have to play the 2011-12 season in the WAC or else each would be subject to a $5 million fine.

Nevada’s response was it didn’t have to pay the fine and was defecting for the 2011-12 season. Benson remained quiet for a spell and then authorized a lawsuit that eventually was filed against both Nevada and Fresno.

To date, the legal question is still up in the air and probably won’t be resolved for six weeks or so. Judging by the poor financial situation that the UNR athletic department finds itself in, it would be hard pressed to pay the $5 million if that happens to be the legal decision.

Too bad all of this litigious back and forth is going on just when the Nevada team is enjoying one of the best starts in the history of the football program at the university. Should the local boys prevail today against BYU, it looks as if they would have a legitimate shot at going undefeated this year as long as they get by the upcoming bumps in the road that will be offered by Fresno State and Boise State.

Speaking of the latter, it has one of its toughest tests of the season on the gridiron today and, based on scores compiled in other key races, Boise could lose its current lofty ranking of number three in the country in college football.

Gibbons tossed

Ostensibly, when he leaves office, Gov. Jim Gibbons is supposed to relocate to his ranching property near Elko and become some sort of cowboy. Those plans took a serious turn for the worse on Tuesday when the lame duck official was tossed from a bronco that he was helping to train on a ranch north of Pyramid Lake.

The semi-wild horse the governor was aboard had only been “saddled up” for about 30 days, so it was not unusual for him to be wild enough to buck the governor off, according to other cowpokes on the scene. Gibbons had to undergo surgery for damage to his pelvis but was expected to be released from the hospital Friday.

Greener pastures

Like the item above, there was another horse-related incident this week that was also attached to Gibbons, but not personally. This time it was his deputy chief of staff, Lynn Hettrick, who was in the news.

Apparently, Hettrick had planted “pasture grass” on some of his property along Highway 50 east of Carson City to purportedly protect his water rights. The lush grass attracted a band of about two dozen feral horses to the unfenced area and one of them was struck and killed by a motorist while crossing the highway.

“Guns of Hot August Nights” go silent

The fusillades that have been exchanged by the board and executive director of Hot August Nights (HAN) versus those from the cities of Sparks and Reno have suddenly ceased — at least for the moment.

Early this week, the two sides sat down face to face and tried to discuss the matter in a calm and collected fashion. Following the meeting, both sides seemed to have mellowed their approach and it looks as if some sort of long-term agreement to keep HAN locally might be reached. However, there was no definitive answer as to how the 2011 dates for HAN will be handled.

Localities want to keep the event on the first week of August but HAN has already signed to deliver that date to Long Beach, Calif. and then to do a pre-local event at South Lake Tahoe, just as they did this year. Whatever the eventual result the two opposing camps come up with it is certain that the HAN leadership has suffered an enormous black eye when it comes to its image with the majority of localities.

Harry Spencer is a freelance writer in Reno. His column about the past and present of northern Nevada appears weekly in the Tribune.

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in Harry Spencer’s column are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tribune.
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