Joe Santoro: Cal important for Nevada Wolf Pack and Mountain West


California quarterback Chase Garbers throws a pass against Oregon on December 5, 2020 in Berkeley, Calif. The California Golden Bears are excited to show what they hope will be a much more dynamic offense with longtime respected NFL coordinator Bill Musgrave and veteran quarterback Garbers. (AP Photo / Jeff Chiu, on file)

The two schools that could meet in the Mountain West Championship Football game (Nevada and Boise State) will play the most important first season games for the Mountain West teams.
The Wolf Pack will be in California on September 4 while Boise State will be in Central Florida on September 2.
Pack-Cal play is important to Mountain West because it features one of their best teams against a mediocre Pac-12 team at best. If the Mountain West starts gaining respect east of Denver, their best teams need to start beating mediocre and bad Pac-12 teams on a regular basis.
The Boise State-Central Florida game is important to Mountain West as it features two of the nation’s most prominent Group-of-Five teams. Beating Cal and central Florida would give Mountain West a much needed boost in respect for the rest of the nation.
There will be 10 regular season games this season, pitting teams from Mountain West against teams from Pac-12. Only one (Utah in the State of San Diego) will be on Mountain West soil. Then again, this contest barely qualifies as a Mountain West home game against a Pac-12 school. Utah is the Pac-12 school in name only and the State of San Diego will play its home games again this year (while their new stadium is being built in San Diego) at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson. , California, in the country Pac-12. .
How many of the 10 games against the Pac-12 teams can Mountain West win? Put the top below at three.
The match at Cal on September 4 could set the tone for the entire Wolf Pack season, much like winning Cal in Week 3 of the 2010 season. There is no doubt that the Wolf Pack has enough talent to do it. beat Cal. There’s also no doubt that the Pack can win over Cal. After all, they did it nine years ago, also in a season opener. This game for the Pack concerns the maturation of a technical staff.
Beating the fragile Mountain West schools during a pandemic season (the Pack was 7-2 last year) is one thing. Head coach Jay Norvell, however, has never beaten a Power Five conference school on the road. He’s 0-4, losing to Northwestern, Wash., Vanderbilt and Oregon. By the way, the only time former Pack coach Chris Ault beat a Power Five school on the road was in Cal during the opening of the 2012 season.
Norvell, as the head coach of the Pack, has yet to recruit and sign a player who ultimately ended up in the NFL. The first player to do this for Norvell is probably on this year’s Pack roster. So be patient. There will likely only be three former Pack players in the NFL this season. Offensive linemen Joel Bitonio (Cleveland Browns) and Austin Corbett (Los Angeles Rams) are established NFL starters (Bitonio could end up in the Hall of Fame) while Malik Reed is a highly regarded outside linebacker for the Broncos. Denver.
Reed and Corbett played for Norvell in Nevada, but were both brought to Nevada by former Pack coach Brian Polian. Bitonio arrived in Nevada in 2009 under Ault.
The Reno Aces aren’t breaking any gate records this season, but northern Nevada should be proud of the way they have supported their Triple-A team. The Aces average around 4,200 fans per game during their first 41 home dates. That’s a solid number considering the team were limited to 50% of their capacity in the first 12 home games and battled a pandemic and smoky skies in recent homes.
Aces are in the bottom third of attendance at the new Triple-A West, which is nothing new. The four busiest seasons in Reno were the first four seasons (2009-12) that the franchise came to town. As expected, attendance has stabilized considerably since 2012 at a low of 4,809 for the last full season (2019) before this year.
Many factors have contributed to the stagnation of Aces game attendance figures in recent seasons.
The pandemic, of course, is the main reason this year. The unhealthy, smoke-filled skies over the past month have also not encouraged a huge turnout in the ball court. But this year’s wacky schedule hasn’t helped either.
The Aces are playing a silly, mind-numbing six-game streak this year (Thursday through Tuesday). Playing the same team for six days in a row, even if it saves on travel costs, is not the best way to generate interest in the community. Imagine if the Pack’s six home football games this year were against New Mexico.
Playing a third of those games on Mondays and Tuesdays, the two worst days of the week for attendance, doesn’t help either. That is why the average of 4,200 this year is a positive sign. It could have been a lot worse. The Aces also still have 23 home dates this year and could increase their average assist to over 5,000 per game before the season ends on October 3.
Former Nevada Wolf Pack center Cam Oliver performed well for the Golden State Warriors in the recently concluded NBA Summer League.
Oliver, who last played for the Pack in the 2016-17 season, averaged 7.2 points, six rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game in five games. Unfortunately for Oliver, the Summer League is about as important as a Kansas City Royals-Texas Rangers game in September. Oliver’s chances of making the Warriors roster this season are almost nil. The Warriors are loaded with attackers and also need to make room on the roster for another player coached by Eric Musselman, rookie Moses Moody of Arkansas. They even brought back the aging Andre Iguodala for some reason.
Oliver, who is still only 25, has spent his professional career rebounding in minor league basketball and will likely spend another season playing abroad.
Jalen Harris is another former Pack player who will be playing abroad this year. Harris, a 2020 Toronto Raptors second-round pick, scored 31 points in his last game for the Raptors on May 14 in Dallas. It felt like his NBA breakout game, the kind of performance he achieved for the Pack in the 2019-20 season as he averaged 21.7 points per game. Harris looked set to take another big step in his NBA career in this year’s Summer League.
The former Musselman rookie, however, was suspended by the NBA on July 1 for an entire season for violating the league’s drug program. Harris, who recently signed to play in Italy, may apply to be reinstated in the NBA before the 2022-2023 season. It would help his NBA chances if he takes around 2,022 shots for his Italian team this season.
Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels is the obvious choice for the American League’s MVP. Ohtani, in fact, might be the most obvious MVP in Major League Baseball history.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound player has 40 home runs and 87 RBIs at home and is 8-1 on the mound with an earned-run average of 2.79 and 120 strikeouts in 100 innings. He hit a home run and played eight innings to beat the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.
About all Ohtani hasn’t done this year for the Angels is find a way to get Mike Trout back on the pitch. He could be the most valuable player in all of professional sports right now.


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