Just two days away from kickoff. In order to get more some more info on Nevada and help preview the game we got some help a Nevada site. So we swapped Q&A's with Andrew Maurins from the site Silver And Blue Sports.
The game is not available on TV but it in being streamed online from Wolf Pack website. I've the production value is very rough and the commentary awful. But for $9.99 it is cheaper than booking a trip to Reno.
1. How good is this Nevada team really? The win against Cal is impressive since they are a BCS school. However the Bears only have one win.
It's a reasonable question, and the most truthful answer I can give is that we're still not entirely sure. Not only has Cal continued to tank since week one, but the only opponent the Pack have beaten who has also beaten an FBS team was Texas State last week. The defensive line is still faced with questions regarding its ability to pressure quarterbacks, and the secondary has been not only banged up, but continually under fire from the air.
While it's true that -- as Bill Parcells once said -- "You are what your record says you are," I don't think their schedule to date has revealed all that much about them aside from a few things we already suspected.
2. How has it been adjusting to the Mountain West? What will Nevada's other sports contribute to the conference?
Given that all but one of their football games have been against non-conference foes so far, I'd say it's still too soon to ask. The Hawai'i game was one that many of our fans had penciled in as a loss before the year started, however, so winning there was certainly a good start.
Basketball is what a lot of our fans are already looking ahead to, both for the greater number of opportunities for signature wins the MWC will present, and the general excitement of seeing so many high-quality teams coming to Lawlor Events Center. If the new additions to the front court can make some decent contributions, we think the Pack can finally return to the NCAA Tournament.
Nevada's non-revenue sports have really struggled the last couple of years, and they're under a lot of pressure to start stepping up in their new surroundings. Volleyball still looks down, but the women's soccer team has already surpassed their win total from last year, at least.
3. If you could trade for one Wyoming player, who would it be?
In order to give the secondary a hand in defending against the pass while the defensive line gets better at pass rushing, I'd bring over Blair Burns. Being a sophomore, he would also be welcomed when Duke Williams, Marlon Johnson and Khalid Wooten all leave after this season.
Assuming Wyoming would get one of Nevada's players in return, I think they could potentially use running back Anthony Knight. Stefphon Jefferson has been getting the majority of the carries, and I'll bet Knight is starting to get bored waiting for his turn.
4. Brett Smith or Cody Fajardo: Who do you take?
OK, you won't like this, but I'm taking the diplomatic route: I've seen a lot of people try to compare the two quarterbacks, but because they run very different offenses, I think it's like trying to compare apples and hand grenades. While it's true that Smith has accounted for more yards and touchdowns overall, without knowing how he would handle the read option and other running plays of the pistol (a primarily run-first system the way Nevada executes it), it's a little glib to say he would automatically excel in it. The same is true for Fajardo and how he would fare in a spread offense. And if you add the variable of how they'd interact with the other team's head coach, it becomes even more complicated.
Suffice to say, both quarterbacks are very productive fits for their respective teams, and I don't think either coach would change that.
5. What should Cowboy fans visiting Reno expect? Any suggestions for places to hang out or visit?
What's true for games at Mackay Stadium is true for games at most places: the odds are you probably won't find trouble unless you go looking for it. I noticed the Wyoming booster group is having a get-together at the Little Waldorf before the game, which is the most famous pre- and post-game hangout. For tailgating, the RV areas north of the stadium are a safe bet for hospitable people and good food, and I know our message board is planning a crawfish boil for this week's game.
As far as other events go, the Eldorado Great Italian Festival is also happening over the weekend, which is always fun. It takes place right on Virginia Street, though, so if you're staying at a hotel in or around downtown, it'll make navigating the area by car a little tricky.
Now the Chamber of Commerce pitch: I'd be remiss if I didn't mention trying an Awful Awful (at either the Wolf's Den across from campus or the diner at the Little Nugget downtown) and an Ichthyosaur IPA from Great Basin Brewing Company. Finally, if you're here for more than a couple of days, a drive up to Lake Tahoe is never a bad idea.
Predict the score.
I'll keep it brief and say 56-28 Nevada.
Thanks to Andrew for helping me with the Q&A. I knew he would take the diplomatic approach here with that Brett Smith or Cody Fajardo question. Wyoming also recuited Fajardo and I really think that both QB's could thrive in either system. The Mountain West is loaded with quality young quarterbacks.