Brats, Beers and Bullet Points, Week 3

Well, any of you who had Nevada penciled in to the new four-team play-off will have to cancel those travel plans now.

I know, I know, it's hard to stomach such a huge shift in postseason goals, but we're just going to have to watch some other team plow through Oregon, Alabama and company now. And isn't it nice that Coach Polian saw fit to bestow that privilege on someone else? No, I don't know what you're talking about with this "explaining away a loss" nonsense...

The Bullet Points

  • Oh fine, you buzzkill! Nevada lost at Arizona on Saturday night to fall to 2-1 on the season, and honestly...I don't feel that bad about it. Sure, I'm always disappointed to see the Pack lose, and I definitely don't believe in moral victories, but I also don't see a panic button yet. Yeah, big shock, Mr. Wait and See isn't running around handing out life vests. But it's that rare feeling where optimism for the big picture outweighs the more fleeting sadness of a 7-point road loss. The Pack came up short on Saturday, but you got the feeling watching them that something is different about this team from what we're used to seeing. They weren't tight, unprepared or in danger of folding at the first sign of trouble. For lack of a better description, they looked like they belonged on the field late in the game playing to even the score against a sizable favorite.

  • The closest example I can cite for this feeling was what followed Colin Kaepernick's first collegiate start in 2007: the pain from coming so tantalizingly close to beating Boise State on their turf overwhelmed by excitement for a very special new quarterback and the long path materializing ahead of him. Brian Polian still has plenty of objectives he hasn't met yet -- like getting his first road win, for one thing -- but it seems like he has a plan. A plan that ain't pretty, but is already yielding some encouraging results. An elaborate, clockwork plan we might be watching come to fruition one ten-minute scoring drive at a time.

  • I like to think I've been pretty guarded in my optimism for Nevada's prospects this year. I've been careful to keep asserting my belief that we won't know just how good the Pack are for at least a few weeks. I haven't even revealed my thoughts on their chances of actually winning the conference championship. And while I'm still not bullish enough to predict a division title heading into their first of two bye weeks, I will say this about Nevada's Mountain West competition: have you seen the rest of the Mountain West lately?

  • One thing we can say with some certainty three weeks into the season is that the Mountain West is not a good football league anymore. Shortly after opening weekend, Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal explained why the conference's best days are behind it, and the ensuing weeks have been one big "I told you so" to his readers. As of Saturday, the Mountain West has five wins against FBS teams in out-of-conference play: Colorado, Washington State, Connecticut, Wake Forest and Georgia State. Be still, my fluttering heart! Out of those five teams, only Colorado has another FBS win to their name. And Nevada's home win over the Cougars is arguably one of the only two wins the conference can be proud of, or rather, "proud of." Be satisfied with how the Pack have played through their first three games, even cautiously hopeful for how much less intimidating their conference slate suddenly looks. But leave it at that for now.

  • You're tearing me apart, Colin! Yeah, Kap played just about the worst second half you could imagine this week. He grabbed himself a front row seat* for the Niners' slow-motion implosion at the hands of the Bears, all while black and white-clad men enhanced the home viewing experience with what I can only assume was a tasteful interpretive dance with flying pieces of yellow cloth. His first two games of 2014 have now been bookended by the best and worst halves of his still-brief career, even drawing a rare "inappropriate language" penalty that perfectly captured how every Niner fan would feel on Monday. So while those same fans assume the fetal position and the Bay Area media proceed to tear Kap a new corn chute this week, take a small bit of comfort in knowing -- in spite of all of that horridness -- he's still having a better week than Roger Goodell. But of course we all still love you here, Kap!
  • *Now selling for $8,000 per game, Levi's Stadium seat license fee and $10.25 Bud Lights not included.

The Beer

  • Ballast Point Sea Monster Imperial Stout (San Diego, CA) -- With Nevada set to enjoy a Saturday off -- and thus, without an opponent to pick a beer around -- that means WILDCARD BEER! I selected this one in honor of the wedding I'm attending this weekend of a very close friend of our family in (you should be able to guess this) San Diego. I'll start off by saying this is not a summer time beer -- it's thick, dark, foamy, a little bit chocolatey, and will make you feel nice and toasty even after three or four sips. This is what you drink on a cold, snowy night when you have nothing urgent to do and no place to go. And don't misunderstand me: at 10% alcohol by volume, you WON'T have any place to go -- other than maybe straight to a couch -- by the time you've finished one. I give it four tipsy Wolfies out of five.

The Brats

All fan mail (burning or otherwise), should be sent to:
Andrew Maurins
c/o North RV Lot
Campus of THE University of Nevada
Reno, NV 89557

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