The Bullet Points
- So yeah, Nevada’s bowl announcement came down on Sunday, and we’ve heard all of the gripes by now: conference opponent, no national telecast, too many bowl games, equal consideration for 5-7 teams, bowl selection hogwash, grumble grumble, etcetera etcetera. And if all of that sounded dismissive, that was partly my goal. I’m not going to devote a whole bullet point to an angry rant on this subject. We’ve already done that on the Sports Forum, and even the majority of those folks are ready to move on. You see, a whole slew of people with much greater skin in the game than we spectators — Nevada and Colorado State’s athletic departments, the Mountain West, the Arizona Bowl’s organizers — tried their damnedest to avoid having this exact scenario play out. But unfortunately it did, and it royally sucks that it unfolded this way. Such is life for the peons outside the power conferences. Even with all of that self-evident suckitude, however, take a step back for a broader perspective. We’re fans of a 6-6 football team that lost to UNLV and Wyoming, fans who don’t travel particularly well even in good years. Be honest: even if Nevada had been paired with a Conference USA team in Tucson like many projected — Rice, UTEP, or another similar blood boiler — how many of you readers would’ve invested the time and money to make travel plans for this game? What are we whining about, really? Basically, we’re whining about one game that, obvious undesirability aside, the majority of us wouldn’t be going to great pains to see in person, anyway. The extent of our “inconvenience” goes no further than not being able to watch a high definition broadcast feed of a postseason college football game on a national TV network. “First World Problem” defined. The players and coaches want to be there, by all outward appearances. Or, more likely, they’re keeping their complaints private and rolling with this as best as they can. The platitude is especially true now: it is what it is. The only thing worse than the bowl situation Nevada currently finds itself in would be losing that same bowl game. So let’s make the best of this, and do what we can as fans to ensure that doesn’t happen, hm?
- The threes were dropping more than usual (oh hai, DJ!), and the blocks were out in full force (oh hai, Cameron!), but the free throws and gimme baskets inside the key were not ("You're tearing me apart, Wolf Pack!"). Nevada played fairly well, but came up just short to Oregon State in Corvallis 66-62 on Saturday. The Beavers won’t be mistaken for an elite power conference team — not historically or in the short term, at least — but they still fielded an impressive assortment of talent that bore some similarities to how Eric Musselman wants to run his own team. The improvement of Nevada’s defense from last season to now is astounding to witness, while the offense…will take awhile longer to get there. Funny how even a game when the other team is favored by 11 can still disappoint you when the good guys make just enough mistakes to take themselves out of it, huh? But that disappointment is tempered by the aforementioned improvement, most of which is still ahead of them, both this season and beyond. Next up for the team is their longest homestand of the season, with dates against Fresno Pacific, Drake and Santa Clara. I’ll stand by my previous prediction of wins in those three, followed by a loss at Wichita State to finish non-conference play at 8-4.
- In more positive news, our friends at Strengthen The Pack have successfully funded another project, this time purchasing two Normatec Pro Leg PULSE Recovery systems for the men’s basketball program. Using a series of pulsing compressions traveling up the legs — also known as SCIENCE! — it helps athletes’ legs recover more quickly after intense workouts. It’s already used by many professional athletes, and the mechanics of how it all works are actually really interesting. The recovery systems join last year’s chrome baseball helmets and a 65-inch smart TV as other “micro projects” the campaign has helped complete. Kudos to them, and consider joining, if you haven’t already. For less than the price of a Netflix subscription, you can make a small difference for Nevada’s revenue sports. A lot of people each making a small difference will inevitably add up, so get cracking, why not!
21st Amendment Fireside Chat Winter Spiced Ale (San Francisco, California) ~ The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed on December 5, 1933, and repealed Prohibition after 13 years of illegal (but still widespread) alcohol consumption. Last Saturday was that law’s anniversary, sometimes called Repeal Day, and I took part by enjoying a can from a brewery of the same name, founded in 2000 in San Francisco’s South Park neighborhood. The carton and can feature (of course) FDR sitting by a fireplace, a cigarette holder in his teeth and a snifter of beer in his hand. Fireside pours out of that can a ruby brown with a moderate-heavy khaki-colored head. The smell is like getting a whiff of all the “Christmas spices” in your spice rack: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cardamom. The malt and hops resemble those of a dark English ale, with a little toffee and caramel thrown in for good measure. Those spices persist through the taste, but not in a way that’s too strong. It also doesn’t feel as thick or chewy (always a great word for a beer) as other winter warmers, and is deceptively strong at just under 8% ABV. If you like more traditional Christmas beers, you may find this one a little lacking, but if you don’t, it could be a nice exception. The brewery describes it “like a kick in the butt and a hug at the same time,” and although I wouldn’t quite agree with that, I would still have another one if given the choice. I give it three and a half 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