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Nevada Football Big News
by Harry Spencer
Dec 25, 2010 | 1079 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/John Byrne - A Boise State player is tackled while playing Nevada on Nov. 26 at MacKay Stadium on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Nevada won the game. Boise State beat Utah during the Las Vegas Bowl on Wednesday night.
Tribune/John Byrne - A Boise State player is tackled while playing Nevada on Nov. 26 at MacKay Stadium on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Nevada won the game. Boise State beat Utah during the Las Vegas Bowl on Wednesday night.
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In the telecast of Wednesday night’s Las Vegas Bowl game between Boise State and Utah, which the Boise Broncos won handily, the University of Nevada, Reno football team got a lot of great air time. Not only did the entire exciting final segment of the Boise-Nevada air, the commentators kept referring to what might have been had the Boise placekicker made one of the two field goals he missed that contributed to the Nevada upset.

There is no question that Boise State is a true power on the college football scene as they had no trouble with Utah, which up until Wednesday had won nine straight bowl games.

When it comes to “What if?” I like the quote that good friend “Dandy” Don Meredith used to employ when he was on the TV crew of “Monday Night Football.” The Southern drawling former Dallas Cowboy would twang out, “If ‘its’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, what a Merry Christmas we would all have!”

Another example of the “What if?” scenarios is the one that occurred in the Nevada vs. Hawaii football game. If Colin Kaepernick had carried the ball in his left hand, next to the sideline as every player is taught, instead of his right hand as he stretched for a game-leading touchdown, Nevada might have had that dream season and gone undefeated and captured the Western Athletic Conference championship all alone.

Unfortunately, Kaepernick extended his right hand with the ball and a closing Hawaii defender was able to strip it away just before it broke the plane of the end zone. Hawaii took over the ball and the touchback and that was literally the end of the game and the end of the dream season.

We have reviewed the Nevada vs. Boise State game in this space before but the amazing thing about the contest was that for the first time this season the Broncos were completely outclassed in the second half. The Nevada defense, which was often maligned, rose to the occasion and held the vaunted Bronco offense to a single touchdown and only eight rushing yards. Whether Boise was sitting back on its heels because of its 24-7 halftime lead or whether the Silver and Blue athletes on both defense and offense rose up mightily is a moot point. The game is in the books and it knocked Boise out of the BCS competition. Another thing it did was knock the WAC out of some pretty hefty cash, since it would have gotten part of the bigger payoff from the bigger bowl game.

An interesting sidelight that also came up in Wednesday’s telecast from Las Vegas was that the NCAA is going to mandate that the college football goal post be raised to the same height as those in the NFL. An article in ESPN The Magazine also heavily endorsed the change. Whether or not such a change would have impacted the calls on the two missed field goals by Boise’s Kyle Brotzman is hard to say. On TV the two shots look well wide, the first to the right and the second to the left. Incidentally, the same Brotzman now holds the NCAA record for points made on kick by virtue of the two he hit on Wednesday night.

Education in America

As this country sinks lower and lower in educational test scores compared to the rest of the civilized world, an interesting story surfaced this past week. In a TV special report on the different kind of approach a school in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. took. In this particular school there were no desks, no books, no blackboards and no teachers. The school was designed to be run by the students themselves. There was no homework, there were no set hours and the children could come and go as they pleased.

Controversies and arguments were settled by a board of students. While it is true that most of them were in the 4-year-old category it would seem that they are due for an enormous culture shock when they hit the stiff regimen that exists from kindergarten through high school. Also, they might lag far behind when it comes to reading, writing and math skills. Discipline might be another grave problem for kids who have been given the freedom to get up and leave the classroom to go out and smell some flowers, as was demonstrated in the television report.

Since all of life is about meeting and solving problems, it should be incumbent on the parents of the Florida tykes to see that their youngsters get some early training in this discipline.

Here in Nevada, which ranks woefully in most educational stats, the fate of all state schooling will be the hot topic at next year’s state Legislature. As the biggest recipient of state budget funds, the Nevada educational system from top to bottom might be on the chopping block when it comes to money.

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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