The Bullet Points
- In an ending most of us saw coming, Nevada football’s regular season ground to a halt to the tune of 31-14 in San Diego. While not technically a blowout going off of the final score, SDSU was in firm control for most of the night, putting on a running clinic on offense and holding Nevada’s own offense to fewer than 300 total yards and more turnovers than touchdowns. Most any opportunities the Pack had to generate momentum in their favor went the other way, such as an interception in the end zone that instead swung 7 points to the Aztecs. That’d be the 2015 season in a nutshell, folks. Both teams looked the part of what they were billed beforehand: San Diego State the conquering victors looking ahead to a bigger challenge, Nevada the already vanquished foe just waiting for their season to end. And on the subject of one’s mind being elsewhere…
- Saturday was also the Nevada finale for offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich, who was officially announced as Hawaii’s new head coach the day before. The hiring marks the second return of the former Rainbow Warrior quarterback to the islands, and as someone who’s had several chances to interact with him personally, I can vouch for just how well-deserved this promotion is. With the exception of the annual game against the Pack, we wish both him and his family nothing but the best going forward.
- But with all of that said, this news follows a stint in Reno that can best be described as a mixed bag. For every game plan that looked well thought-out and sound, there was another that raised questions and left lingering doubts. His offense produced two thousand-yard running backs this year — Nevada’s first at the position since 2012 — but has also continually struggled to reach its full potential through a myriad of injuries and washed out recruits, particularly on the offensive line. For three seasons, he mentored Cody Fajardo to a career stat line of 9,000 passing yards and 3,000 rushing yards, but has had many of the same problems with late game collapses as Chris Ault’s teams. Just how much of Nevada’s offense has been Rolo’s play-calling and Polian’s overruling the last three seasons has never been entirely clear. That lack of a cohesive, distinct identity, as well as new recruiting inroads in Utah and Hawaii, are arguably his legacies here. To be fair, at least half of that identity crisis falls on the inevitable drifting away from the pistol that followed Ault’s resignation. Wide receivers coach Jim Hofher will likely take over play-calling duties for the bowl game, and the permanent position will be Doug Knuth’s first chance to inject some of his expertise into the football program. The bad news is we’ve likely made a clean break with the last vestiges of the pistol offense. The good news is whoever takes over for Rolo can potentially put another singular stamp on the next generation of Wolf Pack football.
- Basketball went on the road for the fifth time in their first six games, and all of that traveling likely caught up with them in a frustrating loss at Cal State Fullerton. The Pack yielded their worst defensive performance of the season, and Marqueze Coleman couldn’t quite sustain his game-changing play of the previous week. Each of the team’s flaws that they’d been able to compensate for with other facets flared up in a big way, and the loss no doubt tempered (prepare for shameless self-promotion) some of the enthusiasm surrounding #Mussketball. The team followed up Saturday with a glorified scrimmage against Holy Names, Batman! on Monday, the final score of which was 108-57. A confidence boost following a road loss is always a good thing, but it’s hard to take much away from a game that was about as accurate a measurement of the team’s skills as playing a basketball video game on the “easy” setting would’ve been. I’m thinking the team will take a 7-4 mark into Mountain West play, dropping their road games at Oregon State and Wichita State and sweeping the homestand of Fresno Pacific, Drake and Santa Clara.
North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout (Fort Bragg, California) ~ It’s December, I’m sick with a cold, and there’s no football opponent this week, so I decided to treat myself to an old favorite. Heck, in my book, it might be THE old favorite. If you spend any amount of time drinking beer with me, chances are good that I’ve regaled you with praise for Old Rasputin. There are reasons its label boasts of the cult following it develops wherever it goes: even the hardened cynics of beer drinking circles can’t help but became enthralled. It pours black-brown with a moderate head that dissipates quickly. Right out of the gate there are lots of different smells, including espresso, burnt sugar, dark fruits and a little cola. The taste, if possible, is even more complex, featuring bitter cocoa, roasted malts, coffee, vanilla, dark fruits, earthy hops, caramel and a little high alcohol booziness. It finishes lightly dry, but bitter, and lingers on the tongue. All the smells and tastes mingle together in a terrific balance where no one trait overpowers the others. At 9% ABV, it’s not nearly as strong as other imperial stouts, and it can sneak up on you if you aren’t careful. This is a fantastic beer by any measure: deep, rewarding, and practically meant for sipping with a smoking jacket and a pipe beside a fireplace on a cold night. It ain’t cheap — usually $10 for a four-pack in this area — but it’s absolutely worth it. I give it a perfect score of five tipsy Wolfies out of five.
All fan mail (burning or otherwise) can be sent to:
c/o North RV Lot
Campus of THE University of Nevada
Reno, NV 89557