BEHIND THE PLATE: Five questions about pro, college football

Is the white flag up yet?

Depending on which baseball team you’ve been rooting for the last eight months, you’re either excited that another marquee sport is about to start or can’t wait until October when the real fun begins.

With football just a couple weeks away from the regular-season kickoff, baseball is about to take a back seat in many households. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, even if you’re a Giants fan and it seems that the Bay Area club could close shop and prepare for next season before September rolls in.

The country’s biggest sport, however, is two weeks away from college season kicking off the new, non-BCS season while the NFL follows one week later.

What can we expect from this year’s season on both the college and professional gridirons?

Listed below are five questions for this season from both a local and national standpoint.

1. Will Josh Mauga stay healthy?

The Ex-Fallon and Nevada linebacker has had a rough go since injuries took a toll two years ago. But one of the best parts of the NFL is getting a second chance.

Mauga signed with the Chiefs last month and looked good during training camp and the first preseason game. But he injured his groin in practice this week and on Thursday coach Andy Reid said Mauga will not suit up for Sunday’s game at Carolina.

This injury looks minor and Mauga should be back on the field but everyone in Fallon wants to see him not only play but succeed, especially when Kansas City visits both San Francisco and Oakland this year.

2. Will Nevada post a winning record?

On paper, Nevada’s toughest games will be at Mackay Stadium this year but as the last two seasons have proven, that doesn’t mean anything.

The Wolf Pack used to be dominant at home but slipped in Chris Ault’s final year and then Brian Polian’s first season in 2013. If Nevada is to finish above the water this year, it needs to win at home and against the best in the Mountain West.

Who knows, though, what kind of team will show up in 2014. Beat UNLV and finish no worse than 7-5 with a bowl berth will be successful. Anything less is another disappointment.

3. How much chaos will the four-team college playoff create?

So long BCS, hello playoffs.

Everything’s all good and dandy in college football now that the BCS is gone, right? Think again.

The playoff system features only the top four teams, which is bound to upset the same number of programs the BCS did for so long. It’s a great first step in removing the BCS, but the field will must increase in the playoffs to give more schools a shot of proving they can compete against the best.

One thing I will miss about the BCS is the sudden-death approach to every week. If a top team fell late in the season, so long went its chances toward a national title, unless you’re from the SEC.

4. Will the 49ers get the best of the Seahawks?

The Richard Sherman rant after the NFC championship game last season only added more fuel to the rivalry between the 49ers and Seahawks. Sherman got the best of Michael Crabtree and Colin Kaepernick on that fateful day in Seattle, but expect more hostility in 2014.

Seattle and San Francisco enter this season as arguably the two best teams in the NFC, again and could meet each other in the NFC championship. But who will come out on top in this round?

Your guess is as good as mine.

But if Kaepernick can evolve more as a quarterback this season and complete more passes, this 49ers offense could be the best in the NFC, especially with that potent ground attack.

5. What about the little guys?

The Division I isn’t the only one in the NCAA to field football teams.

Although Fallon doesn’t have any football stars competing in college’s top division, the green and white is well represented throughout the smaller divisions. From the Divisions II and III to the NAIA, several ex-Greenwave stars will suit up for the first time, including a quartet in Montana, while others will look to improve on last season.

College and pro football couldn’t be any stronger in the Lahontan Valley with several former players competing on both circuits as the season gets underway at the end of this month.

Are you ready for some football?

Thomas Ranson can be contacted at


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