The Bullet Points
- The plane, in this case, is the expectations from Nevada football fans for the rest of the season. And frankly, it’s hard to blame any of them for being unable to see past the flaming wreckage of another baffling loss. One week after seemingly lifting the train back on to the rails against New Mexico, the locomotive careened right back off into a grisly, twisted heap in Laramie. And if you didn’t already grasp it, my mixing of transportation metaphors should illustrate just how bad this loss is. The only consistency that has emerged through seven games for the 2015 football team is inconsistency. Against a team that couldn’t hang on to the ball, couldn’t stop the run and couldn’t beat anyone anywhere, Nevada failed to force a turnover, failed to run the ball, and failed to beat a team even Eastern Michigan throttled with ease. Utterly helpless to get the Cowboy offense off the field, Nevada’s second half comeback ended in the exact way most of us have come to expect them to: one hour late and one score short.
- And the whipped cream and nuts on top of this hot failure sundae? Its timing, coinciding with both the beginning of seat selections for those affected by Mackay Stadium’s upcoming renovations, and the start of Homecoming week. It’s an already hard sell that, thanks to the team’s play, the athletic department’s group of sales representatives was given absolutely no favors in pitching to potential buyers. “Well, that last game sure was a steaming pile, huh? Soooo, how’d ya like to plunk down $550 for a club seat next year? Also, they don’t host UNLV, Boise State or a power conference team. We look forward to your continued support!” For this reason, calling for any of the coaches to be laid off is, for me at least, still problematic. I’ve also gone on record saying that new head football coaches should ideally be given four years to truly put a stamp on their program before evaluation. But with season ticket sales all but set up to decline for a third consecutive year — including the matter of a certain rivalry trophy once again falling into enemy hands — the team has forced the possibility to at least be examined. And they have nothing but their own play to blame for that.
- Into this maelstrom of discontent walks Hawaii, in all of their (admittedly fantasticlooking) rainbowed glory. They were shut out three times in a fourgame span, have a coach whose seat is significantly hotter than Brian Polian’s, and are coming off of a bitterly frustrating loss of their own. Their defense is better than their offense, but that’s still not saying much. The yoyo seems due to come back up this week, but not convincingly. If Nevada is to reach a bowl game — and it pains me to even type that out — three wins in their final five games are necessary. Those include San Jose State, and trips to Utah State and San Diego State. Woof. I believe Don Jackson when he says the team is mad, but do any of you still believe they can achieve this goal? Preseason prediction: Nevada 34, Hawai’i 28. Revised prediction: Nevada 27, Hawai’i 21.
- It’s a little late, given the timing of when these columns go up, but the basketball team was picked 9th out of 11 teams in the Mountain West’s preseason media poll. It’s...not unreasonable. With most of last year’s ninewin roster still in place, and the majority of (awesomelooking) reinforcements another year away, what can honestly be expected of them? I’ll guarantee right now that Nevada will...not finish in ninth place. Probably a teeny bit higher than that. A sizzling hot take! But I do think modest gains in player development and win total — particularly against a schedule as soft as this year’s — are fair goals. For all of their very real flaws, last year’s team was a few bounces away from double digit wins. And they were still capable of the occasional surprise, like taking San Diego State down to the wire at home. I’m thinking something along the lines of Reggie Theus’ first year at New Mexico State: still mediocre overall, but definitely on the right track from where they were before.
Great Basin The Great Pumpkin Ale (Sparks, Nevada) ~ Homecoming calls for a local brew, and with Halloween fast approaching, it made perfect sense to get reacquainted with this old standby. Throw in a halfpriced pint on a recent Tightwad Tuesday (weekly at both of the brewery’s locations in town), as well as a bronze medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival, and the choice practically made itself for me. Pumpkin beers are big business every fall, and they often have to get creative in order for increasingly discriminating consumers to take notice. Great Pumpkin’s makeup, however, doesn’t seem overly concerned with gimmicky, attentiongrabbing tactics. It pours a pleasing pumpkiny orange from the tap, with a moderate head. It smells of pumpkin gourd and baked pumpkin pie up front, and continues with tastes of fall spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla in varying intensities. Its medium body finishes lightly sweet and leaves behind some nice lacing inside the glass. In short, it’s solid, and about what you’d expect from a solid pumpkin ale. It’s not reinventing what already works in the right combination, and that’s OK. Simplicity is probably what earned it the recognition of its peers, and there can be strength in simplicity. There are better pumpkin ales out there, but there are also much worse ones. I give it three and a half tipsy Wolfies out of five.
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