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Nevada preview: hurry before the window closes

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Previewing the WAC seems like a good job for an intern. Unfortunately, we do not have an intern. Ugh. Previously: Utah State, Fresno State, Hawaii, SJSU, LaTech. Today: Nevada.



  Nevada


  Team motto: Reno is for winners



The WAC is typically a three-team conference, which is kind of sad considering that nine teams actually play there. In years past, any number of different WAC schools not including the University of Idaho have jumped into the big three alongside the traditional favorites of Boise State and Fresno State.


Might it be Nevada's turn again? Well, it certainly isn't anybody else's!


The Wolf Pack have the look of a stereotypically successful WAC team: high-scoring offense, afterthought defense, and a coach with a name people recognize although they're not sure why. And their performance last season gives the program hope that maybe this year will be the year they win the WAC outright. Aren't they cute when they're unrealistic?


With Colin Kaepernick at quarterback, Luke Lippincott at running back, and the Pistol offense playing the role of crazy Uncle Eddie, this team has all the right ingredients for an entertaining and possibly fruitful season. Just keep Uncle Eddie away from the light bulbs.



Five questions


Luke Lippincott isn't really better than Ian Johnson...is he?

My heart says no, but my 2007 statistical almanac says yes. According to last season's numbers, Lippincott is the WAC's most mathematically excellent back, by way of his conference-best 1420 yards. Johnson still holds the edge in touchdowns, undefeated seasons, and knit beanies, but the emergence of backs like Lippincott are what has the media buzzing about the WAC's new running focus.


Quick! Name one player on the Nevada defense!

Um...er...(stammering)...uhhh...(flipping through Phil Steele's college preview magazine)...


What scares you the most about the Nevada offense?

Plenty of things scare us about the Nevada offense, but perhaps the scariest part of their attack is its insane unevenness. Check out how many points they scored in some of their games last year:



  • vs. Nebraska, 10

  • vs. UNLV, 20

  • vs. Fresno State, 41

  • vs. Boise State, 67

  • vs. Hawaii, 26

  • vs. San Jose State, 24

  • vs. LaTech, 49

  • vs. New Mexico, 0


The possibility for the Nevada offense to put up a 50-spot on an opposing team is very real. The possibility for them to chunk their way to 20 points is also an option. And you never know which team will show up. Some teams might gameplan to try to stop Kaepernick or Lippincott or WR Marko Mitchell, but they'd be better off prank calling their hotel rooms the night before the game.


If Colin Kaepernick could be any type of weather, what would he be?

Kaepernick is a free spirit who does not like being tied down to expectations or consistency or the pocket. He would be a cloud, roaming free through the beautiful blue sky without a worry in the world. "Why hello, Mr. Sunshine," Kaepernick might say. "Do you mind if I overthrow you on an out route? You don't? Oh happy day!" Clouds don't have to read defenses or put balls on the numbers; they can go wherever they want, whenever they want. And Chris Ault can't do anything about it.


Give me one reason to think that Nevada is not the same old Nevada as always.

The law of averages and this:



Over/unders


+/- 2:1 ratio of pass attempts to rushes for Kaepernick

+/- 69 points Boise State scores against Nevada this season

+/- 0 times the Wolf Pack elect to kick when they win the toss


Nevada could cause a lot of problems for teams this season...teams like Grambling State, Utah State, and Idaho. The rest of their schedule? It's anybody's guess. New Mexico shut out the Wolf Pack in the teams' bowl game last year, and in so doing, the Lobos gave everyone a blueprint on how to slow the Nevada offense. (Tip: the quarterback can't throw.)


No matter how well the WAC schedule plays out for Nevada, their non-conference slate may cost them any chance of BCS talk. They play Texas Tech and Missouri in back-to-back weeks, and chances are good that they won't be able to knock off both Big XII powerhouses. Too bad Baylor was busy.


They do have enough talent to be a solid WAC team, though. On any given day, they can outscore their opponent, and if they find some consistency with the offense and some teeth for the defense, they will be in fine shape. Their visit to Fresno in early November should define their season. If they can get past the Bulldogs, then they can start thinking WAC title...that is, until they play Boise State two weeks later.


Perfect situation


Nevada beats one of the BCS teams on the non-conference schedule, Kaepernick completes more than 50 percent of his passes, Wolf Pack cruises undefeated through the WAC, Lippincott becomes Heisman candidate, Ault and the Pistol offense ride off intot the sunset to live happily ever after


Reality


The Wolf Pack get swept by the BCS teams on their non-conference schedule, Kaepernick turns the Pistol offense into the Wing-T, Nevada cruises through the WAC until Boise State, settles for a Hawaii Bowl appearance


Final record: 8-4 overall, 6-2 conference