Steve Cameron: Batons and Bulldogs

Steve Cameron, Merced Sun-Star columnist
Steve Cameron, Merced Sun-Star columnist Merced Sun-Star

Just a few thoughts while wondering if Eric DeAnda and Corey Chapman might have carried batons instead of footballs during their duel Friday night.

DeAnda (303 rushing yards) and Chapman (197) could have split duties on a decent 100-meter relay team as Merced outlasted Buhach Colony with a final gasp at the tape...

NOTE: We might want to forgive Fresno State fans if they're beginning to see a pattern -- something like "Groundhog Season."

Pat Hill won't enjoy the comparis-

ons, but they're hard to ignore.

Over the past few autumns, the Dogs have routinely just missed upsetting some big-time, ranked teams, pounded out enough wins in the WAC to reach the upper tier, faced off against Nevada or Hawaii for second or third (looks like Nevada this time) and scraped together enough wins to play in a minor bowl.

Sound familiar?

After thrashing San Jose State on Saturday, the Dogs have climbed to 3-3 overall, 2-1 in the WAC with potential victories over New Mexico State and Utah State next on the schedule.

You only need six wins and a third-place finish in the WAC to go bowling, so we're looking at, well, another "Groundhog Season."

There are a couple of intriguing side stories this year.

The first involves Idaho, the conference's perennial whipping boy. Seems the Vandals have come to life. They're 6-1 overall and lead the WAC at 3-0.

That record isn't overwhelming, but it doesn't look too bad when you consider their only loss was on the road at Washington (42-23).

We'll know more about the Vandals when they visit Nevada this weekend -- and more about the up-and-down Wolf Pack. Fresno State and the rampaging Ryan Mathews (131 carries for 974 yards, 7.4 average per tote) face Idaho and Nevada back to back.

NOTE: Hope you noticed the news flash from Sacramento on Saturday night.

The Warriors' Stephen Jackson returned from his two-game suspension and managed to survive a 101-94 preseason loss to the Kings without causing a riot.

Furthermore, Jackson -- who has dissed his former patron Don Nelson, sneered at his $36 million contract and demanded to be traded -- told the media that he intended to "just be quiet and play."

We'll see about that.

Jackson remains chaos waiting to happen, and it's a shame because he's one of the most valuable and versatile players in the NBA when his head is screwed in the right place.

But Jack being quiet?

This is a guy who has bounced through four NBA cities and spent three seasons either in the CBA or hooping it up in Australia, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

And then there was a 30-game suspension in 2006, when Jack and a few of his Indiana teammates waded into the crowd for some fisticuffs.

Have we mentioned the incident outside a nightclub when Jackson claimed he only began firing his pistol when somebody rudely whacked him with a car?

On the court and off, Jack remains armed and dangerous -- in all senses of that phrase.

Steve Cameron is a freelance columnist for the Sun-Star.