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Fast 40 countdown: Nevada Wolf Pack

August 30, 2011  |  By Benjamin Miraski

Nevada Wolf Pack

Last season: 13-1, 10th in the MRI

The good: Nevada earned the win of the year last season, at least from the view of the big boys. The takedown of Boise State thanks to a couple of missed kicks stopped the Broncos from crashing the BCS title game.

Nevada won't have to pull off the same miracles this season, at least not in conference. The Wolf Pack still play Boise State, but it is now a nonconference game (for one year), since Boise bolted to the Mountain West.

Nevada does return seven starters from last season's defense, and while Dontay Moch is gone, most of the impact players from last year will be on that side of the field.

The Wolf Pack also have one of the best schedules in the WAC, playing all of the toughest league opponents at home (and with four games vs. three on the road).

The bad: This is not last season's team. Gone is Colin Kaepernick. Gone is Vai Taua. Sadly, gone is Brandon Wimberly (after taking a bullet to the gut). A lot of the talent that helped score more than 40 points per game last season (and protect Kaepernick to the tune of just 12 sacks allowed) is gone.

That doesn't mean there aren't talented players on offense for Nevada. And Chris Ault's pistol offense has the ability to move the chains consistently.

But any dreams of repeating last season's overall success should be wiped away. The Wolf Park travel to Oregon, Texas Tech and Boise State. If last year's team were still on the field, Nevada would have a shot at an upset against the Red Raiders and the Broncos. But without those players, this looks more and more like three losses at the start of the season (At San Jose State should be a gimme).

The good news is that the conference is still winnable, as Hawaii will also be missing some of its top stars from last year, and Boise State is gone.

Best name: Necho Beard

Trending: Down - While Nevada will still compete in the WAC, they should be overmatched in the three non-conference away games to begin the season. That is bad news for any hopes at a bigger end of the season showcase than the Poinsettia Bowl. There is a chance they can pull one upset among the top trio of games, but they should be decided underdogs in all three. Look for the Wolf Pack to fall to the bottom of the MRI top 25 this season, or out of the standings entirely, given three likely losses.


Posted August 30, 2011 10:47 AM

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