The Bullet Points
- Yes, winning their division is still in play. So is going to a bowl game. Yes, I figured the Pack would probably lose this one back in August. Yes, the offense hooked up with Stella along the way and finally got both of their grooves back. And yes, even UNLV's current futility elsewhere can make us all feel much better by comparison. But that game...oy gevalt! I'm not even Yiddish and that's still gonna hurt for awhile.
- What allowed this one to slip away like so many other games against the Fightin' Traffic Cones? Too many mistakes. Little ones, medium ones and big ones, all multiplied juuuust enough to fill us with hope before dashing it like waves on rocks. We are Charlie Brown, and Boise State is our Lucy with a football. Even with new coaches now stalking opposite sidelines, the routine is still the same: he gets a running start, the optimism builds up, she pulls away the ball at the last second, he screams, he falls, "Your city sucks, and we're classier than you, but good game, neighbors!", end scene. It hurts to type this out, but where else is 14 losses in 15 tries considered a "rivalry"? The recent games between them have included barn-burners, heart-stoppers and even the occasional history-maker, but as part of a rivalry? That's a misnomer. It's a nitpicking of semantics, but true.
- Multiple offensive skill players broke free for big gains against a defense that formerly surrendered less than 3 yards per carry -- yay! But the defense was unable to get off the field on third down with enough consistency, and allowed Grant Hedrick to complete twelve passes in a row at one point -- not yay. I'm still unsure what can be definitively said about this team, but I think Saturday's game can already be looked back on as a pivot point for Nevada's season. The question now is which direction the season will pivot towards from this point on. What they've gained in offensive confidence they've also lost in defensive swagger. Is this how the remaining seven games on the schedule will play out? A return to the shootouts we've grown weary of and thought were finally behind us? That will depend largely on whether the Pack can shake off any potential malaise in time for a red-hot Colorado State team that poses many of the same challenges the Broncos did. The Pack is currently giving up 5 yards per carry on the ground, and it's indicative of a worrisome trend of walking a fine tight rope through a critical stretch of games. If they prevail and move to 4-2 on the year, we can exhale a little bit. If not, the desktop panic button will be looming much larger than before. Pack 31, Rams 28.
- I know I may sound bitter and angry about Saturday's loss, but I really am still hopeful for the rest of the season. Apprehensive and nervous about the next game, sure, but still hopeful. To help cleanse your palette of all that near-negativity, here's a greyhound in Batman pajamas running around in snow.
- Segueing into happier (or at least happy-ish) news, the 49ers look to be back on course (kind of). Kap has settled into some patterns of normalcy after a wildly up-and-down start to the season, and even in the midst of several different dramas swirling around the team (Ray McDonald, Coach Harbaugh job speculation, no Smith or Bowman for awhile longer, again with the too many damned penalties), they're still capable of beating the NFL's best. Across the sideline with the Chiefs, James-Michael Johnson and Josh Mauga continued to impress, with Johnson having a hand in 11 total tackles and forcing a fumble in Kansas City's loss.
New Belgium Tour de Fall Pale Ale (Fort Collins, CO) -- Sharing a conference with teams like Colorado State and San Diego State makes this part of writing my columns easy-peezy. New Belgium, in particular, has a special place in my inner beer snob's heart, as their famous Fat Tire Amber Ale was my co-introduction to craft beer (the other half of that pair being Sierra Nevada Pale Ale). In the years since that first bottle, however, my experiences with the brewery's other offerings have been hit-or-miss. Tour de Fall is their seasonal pale, brewed with Cascade and Amarillo hops that give way to sweeter flavors ranging from lemon and tangerine to grapefruit. It's nowhere near as bitter as other pales I've tried, and the fruity finish is an interesting compliment to the hoppy start, but overall I thought it was just...OK. Not especially memorable, but certainly not bad, either. It's probably not the best entry point if you're a New Belgium newbie -- try their Abbey Belgian Dubbel or even a plain old Fat Tire if you plan on starting your own beer tour. I give it three tipsy Wolfies out of five.
Noun -- an ill-mannered, annoying child or immature person <ex. Even when one tiny thing doesn't go their way, those Boise State fans sitting in front of us act like brats. -or- A writer who won't obey his editor! >
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