Maybe this gives us a clearer idea of how the rest of the Mountain West views Boise State. Not in my wildest imagination did I ever connect these dots, and rightfully so. But maybe this gives us a clearer idea of how the rest of the Mountain West views Boise State. This comes from Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune on the league’s suspension Saturday of Wyoming’s Josh Adams: “Inserting itself into disciplinary matters that could and should be handled by schools impacts the integrity of the conference race, allowing one-loss Boise State to play at Wyoming–where it lost last year–without the Cowboys’ only senior and the nation’s No. 5 scorer. And not allowing Wyoming time to game plan without Adams by making his suspension official 21 hours before tip-off.”
So what’s Zeigler’s point? This: “There’s the perception of impropriety in a league where football TV money–the one thing that really matters to athletic departments–is not distributed evenly, as it is in real conferences. Boise State, thanks to a sweetheart ESPN deal to entice its return from the Big East, is guaranteed about $1 million more per season than anyone else. Now the Broncos’ basketball team catches a huge break thanks to an arbitrary (as opposed to automatic) suspension of arguably the conference’s best player who, speaking of sportsmanship, issued several heartfelt tweets last week to Emmanuel Omogbo of rival Colorado State after his parents were killed in a house fire. The timing is probably just a coincidence. But does the Mountain West deserve the benefit of the doubt?”
So we’re to believe that the Mountain West was trying to appease Boise State by fixing the conference race with a timely suspension of Adams? And that would accomplish what? Does it make any difference to the league whether Boise State or San Diego State wins the basketball championship? In fact, why wouldn’t the Mountain West protect the Aztecs, who have the superior hoops pedigree and national profile and are in a major media market? That is so far out there…
It’s doubtful Boise State will be able to employ the full-court press in Las Vegas tomorrow night the way it did in Laramie Saturday, especially against a Rebels backcourt that includes Patrick McCaw, one of the top-rated shooting guards in the nation coming out of high school in 2014. But the press was a solid coaching decision at Wyoming, and it helped rush the Cowboys into 14 turnovers. “The value of that in the second half: by the time they got in their offense, there’s 16 seconds left on the shot clock; then you’re not having to defend that motion for 30,” said coach Leon Rice after the game. In the Thomas & Mack Center, it’ll be more about getting back in transition against the supremely talented but maddeningly inconsistent Rebels.
Let’s scope out the Mountain West. San Diego State is now 7-0, and Boise State is 6-1. There’s a 1½-game gap before you get to third-place New Mexico. One of the two games tonight has at least a little intrigue, as the Aztecs face Nevada in Reno. The Wolf Pack is coming off a thrilling 65-63 win over rival UNLV Saturday night in front of 11,341 fans in Lawlor Events Center, its largest crowd in eight years. That should have some carryover in the stands tonight. The other game sends Wyoming—and Josh Adams—to Fresno State.
National Letter of Intent Day is a week from tomorrow, with a lot of ebb and flow occurring in Boise State’s recruiting class. The “glass half-full” folks may see the renegs and subsequent new commits this way: perhaps the Broncos are ending up with the same type of player they attracted while building a Top 25 program in the century’s first decade, guys with massive chips on their shoulders. Take this from new quarterback commit Jake Constantine, as told to BroncoCountry.com’s Chase Glorfield. “I am the most fierce competitor out there and I win games,” said Constantine. “I’m pretty happy because I have stayed humbled and it has made me stronger as an athlete. It motivates me to go play at Boise State and go whoop on every team that thought I wasn’t good enough. It drives me every day of my life.”
Boise State’s 2016 class is back up to 21 now with yesterday’s commitment from offensive tackle Austin Dixon of Tempe, AZ. Dixon is 6-6, 235 pounds. He sounds nimble—and he sounds like a guy Bronco strength and conditioning coach Jeff Pitman is looking forward to working with. Scout.com reports that Dixon had at least seven FBS scholarship offers, including a new one from Purdue. Also yesterday, Emmanuel Fesili’s “soft verbal” solidified with a commitment to the Broncos. Fesili is a 6-1, 309-pound defensive tackle out of the famed Long Beach Poly program in Southern California.
Eli Drinkwitz and Randy Moss would seem to be oil and water. Drinkwitz and Moss’s son? We’ll find out. Thaddeus Moss committed to North Carolina State on Saturday, choosing the Wolfpack over Texas A&M. The younger Moss is a 6-4, 235-pound tight end from Charlotte. Interestingly enough, he was NC State’s first commit in a month and a half, according to Scout.com. The “don’t let the door hit you” crowd may not give a hoot, but I’d like to be a fly on the wall when Drinkwitz, the erstwhile Boise State offensive coordinator, and Dad are sitting in the office shootin’ the breeze.
Balance usually serves the Idaho Stampede well, and they hope it does tonight against Reno in CenturyLink Arena. But spreading the wealth among six players in double-figures did not result in a win over Texas Saturday night, a 108-101 loss. There were five double-digit players in the Stamps’ 114-106 loss to the Legends Sunday. Former Nevada star Brandon Fields led the way in both games with 18 and 21 points, respectively. Furthermore in hoops, Boise State’s Miquelle Askew has earned her third Mountain West Player of the Week honor this season, largely because of her school-record 39 points in the Broncos’ 78-75 win at San Jose State. The senior center went 16-for-22 from the floor and 7-for-9 from the free-throw line that night.
Catching up on more campus doings: the Boise State men’s tennis team is now 4-1 after a 4-0 loss to No. 5 Texas A&M Sunday at the ITA Kickoff Weekend in College Station, TX. “Woke up on wrong side of bed in doubles, and as hard and as well as we fought in the singles, we couldn’t catch up to their bullet train,” said Bronco coach Greg Patton. And the Boise State women’s gymnastics team is ranked in the Top 10 for the first time in program history. The No. 10 Broncos trail only No. 4 UCLA in the West Region. Boise State’s highest previous national ranking came two years ago, when it was No. 11. Last season the Broncos were as high as No. 12 on multiple occasions. They have a “semi-home opener” this Friday night in CenturyLink Arena, with a meet against BYU serving as the feature attraction of the annual Gem State Invitational.
This Day In Sports…January 26, 1986, 30 years ago today:
The Chicago Bears humble the New England Patriots, 46-10, in what was at that time the most lopsided Super Bowl in history. It was supposed to be the start of a Bears dynasty, but it was a flash in the pan. It was Walter Payton’s only Super Bowl, but he never got to score a touchdown despite a perfect short-yardage opportunity late in the game. Coach Mike Ditka elected to go with a gimmick, giving the ball to defensive tackle William “The Refrigerator” Perry for the final score. Oh, and my nephew was born during halftime of that game. Happy 30th birthday, Ben!
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)