The Bullet Points
- Points and turnovers 12 apiece at the half. 5-of-30 shooting at that same time. A Colorado State team without their starting forward still coasting to the biggest win in program history, and a Mountain West record margin of victory for a conference game. With Marvelle Harris’ 40-point middle finger still fresh in their minds, Nevada went from potential wild card team to bona fide laughingstock as fast as the Rams could pile on the points in the first half. Giant slayers in Vegas, Washington Generals in Fort Collins. What can you say about that performance and the current state of the team that hasn’t already been hashed out? It was, for starters, every bit as surprising as the win at UNLV, albeit for very different reasons. It took a very particular string of very particular calamities, each one snowballing into the next, coupled with another hot-shooting opponent, to enable the Pack to fall behind by that much that quickly. I got off from work at 6:30 that night, and by the time I got to my car and turned on the radio, it was already 32-7. It was 35-7 by the time I pulled out of the parking lot, the team victimized by yet another turnover-turned-three-pointer. Not even San Jose State, with all of their behind the scenes drama and suspensions, has lost a Mountain West game by 56 points. No Colorado State team — or Mountain West team, for that matter — is 56 points better than Nevada this year. But you are what the box score says you are. There are no platitudes about “not showing up” or “not putting in the effort” that adequately convey what transpired at Moby Arena that night — only anguish, embarrassment and shame. As for the second car on the Disappointment Train…
- With nearly a week off to internalize that explanation-defying performance, the Pack came home to try and right the ship against Utah State…only to resume taking on water. That water, in this case, continues to be turnovers and poor shooting. Nevada handed 18 turnovers to the Fightin’ Cow Milkers after handing another 18 to Colorado State the previous week, and the team has shot just 33.9% from the field in those two games. Even after cutting their deficit to five, all it took was one in-and-out three pointer from Perez for everything to once again unravel. Miss an open shot, surrender a bucket at the other end, turn it over, surrender another bucket, rinse, repeat. Remember how I said the team’s main objective should be to continue the positive trends of their four-game winning streak and not let their bad habits overtake them? Scratch both of those. The team is in trouble right now — real, big, no-room-for-debate trouble. The tailspin we’ve all feared is starting to emerge. Whether it’s a problem of confidence, chemistry, production or some combination of each, it ain’t fun for spectators and it definitely ain’t fun for anyone on the home team’s bench.
- And now they travel to Fresno State for their first conference rematch of the year and their first “What Have We Learned?” game. As tempting as it is to put on the Captain Obvious cape and say “Don’t let one guy score 40 points this time,” you’re right to be skeptical of the team’s current ability to do so. And as bizarre as it sounds, it might take another tilt with the Runnin’ Rubbles (currently one game behind the Pack in the standings) to pull out of their current dive, and even that’s not a given. Bulldogs 74, Wolf Pack 65.
- It took a little over two years, but another team almost -- ALMOST -- found a way to top the 2012 New Mexico Bowl for Most Gut-wrenchingly Awful Way to Lose a Football Game. The Seahawks scored 15 points in 44 seconds to force overtime and eventually top the Packers 28-22 in the NFC championship game. Impressive, yes, but still a ways off from the 14 points Arizona scored in 27 seconds in Albuquerque. No cigar, Green Bay, but nice effort. And look on the bright side: picking off Russell Wilson four times and still finding a way to lose is plenty impressive in its own right.
Dogfish Head Raison d’Extra Strong Dark Ale (Milton, DE) — With a slogan like “Off-centered ales for off-centered people,” it’s no surprise Yours Truly thinks Dogfish Head speaks to him. Their IPAs are legendary in drinking circles, and anyone who claims to not like pumpkin beers would do well to try their Punkin Ale come October. Even when they produce a beer I don’t care for, I can always respect a willingness to get behind an ancient drink from King Midas’ tomb, or a beer-wine hybrid made with grapes. Raison d’Extra is a limited release follow-up to one of the company’s earliest offerings, Raison D’Etre, and the second iteration of this Belgian-style strong dark ale is bigger and badder than its first edition. I tried mine at the Ole Bridge Pub downtown, served in a 10-ounce glass for reasons that will soon become clear. The color is hazy reddish brown, and the smells include raisins, brown sugar and beets. The taste was a potent cocktail of dark fruit flavors (raisin, plum and fig), sweet throughout, and had a slight yeastiness paired with an unmistakable high alcohol burn. That sensation hits the roof of your mouth and lingers there, but doesn’t feel quite as strong as the 18% ABV (!) it promises. This is the strongest beer I’ve ever tried, and even with that masking, it only kinda sorta worked for me — I found it easy to admire, but hard to recommend. If you’re big into barrel-aged beers, novelty beers with unusual ingredients, or just being able to say “I tried that one” to your friends, you’ll probably enjoy it. If nothing else, be thankful an east coast brewery’s limited release is available on draft three time zones away. I give it three tipsy Wolfies out of five.
Please make the hurting stop.
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