Will Boise State be picked to win the Mountain West’s Mountain Division this summer? In Fort Collins, it sounds like they think Colorado State should be. But it may be a bit media driven. Matt Stephens of the Coloradoan headlined his column “MW championship or bust for CSU football in 2017” at the start of spring ball. “The starting quarterback is back. The other starter is, too. So is the starting running back. And the better running back. The superstar wideout and the breakout receiver, they’re back. Expectations of the 2017 campaign haven’t been this high since Sonny Lubick roamed the sideline. The Rams are moving into a new home and with them comes a new era. Not an era marked by a new coach, but marked by what this season and many of the next need to include. A championship era.”
Ahem, these expectations, perhaps shared with the fan base, are certainly not being outwardly trumpeted by CSU coaches. Mike Bobo, who’s only going into his third season, and his staff aren’t ready to say this year is a failure without a Mountain West title. “We all know that that’s a goal of ours, to compete for a championship. It’s been the same way every year. That’s going to be our goal this year,” Bobo said. That’s just a big jump for a team that finished 7-6 last season with a 61-50 loss to Idaho in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. There’s not a team in the Mountain Division this year that doesn’t feel it can win it, though.
At a recent event honoring newly-retired Boise State Media Relations Director Max Corbet, I asked him when he’s going to write his memoirs. A story on the CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) website announcing a Lifetime Achievement Award for Corbet may be as close it we get. It’s a mini-chronicle of Bronco footbll over the past 30 years. Corbet arrived just after the blue turf was installed in 1986, a decade before the move to the FBS and two decades before the first Fiesta Bowl. “Starting with a typewriter and seeing where things are now, and then through the course of one career, seeing the growth one school can go through and the impact it can have on a national scale—and thinking I had a small part in that, it’s something I never imagined.”
Corbet worked a streak of 380 consecutive Bronco football games over 31 seasons, none bigger than the 2007 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma. As the CoSIDA story points out, “Once charged with driving to the offices of the local newspaper to hand-deliver copies of his weekly fact sheets, Corbet now found himself on the set of ‘Good Morning America’ (with Ian Johnson and future wide and new fiancée Chrissy Popadics).” And oh by the way—congrats, Max.
On the sports pages in Salt Lake City there’s been a story about BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum going public with mental health issues. Last week, Mental Health Awareness Week at BYU, Mangum posted on Instagram about his struggles with depression and anxiety, including the fact that he takes medication and sees a counselor. The former Eagle High star said in the Deseret News that he has struggled with those issues throughout his life. Last fall Mangum confided in his family, which told him to seek professional help. “Mental illness is one of my personal battles and I want to offer my love and support to all those who suffer in one way or another,” wrote Mangum in his Instagram post. “You are not alone. There is help.”
The Idaho Steelheads will be facing the ECHL Defenseman of the Year when they open the Kelly Cup Playoffs tomorrow night at Colorado. The Eagles’ Matt Register has captured the honor after leading the league among defensemen with 64 points and seven game-winning goals. Register had 18 tallies on the season. The Steelheads have their own defensive stalwart, Joe Faust, who broke an 11-year-old Idaho ECHL-era record for a defenseman with 14 goals this season. Register and Faust are symbolic of the grit that will mark this series. “There’s no love lost between these two teams,” said Steelies coach Neil Graham yesterday on KTIK. “We don’t like them, and they don’t like us.”
Troy Merritt has made two straight PGA Tour cuts after missing seven of eight. Now he needs consistency over four rounds as he hits the Harbour Town Golf Links today in Hilton Head, SC. After a week off for the Masters break, Merritt tees off this morning at the RBC Heritage, sitting at No. 130 in the FedExCup standings with earnings of $293,919. Fellow former Boise State star Graham DeLaet is also in this week’s field. This will be DeLaet’s first tournament in three weeks—he has missed two straight cuts after four straight top 25 finishes. DeLaet is 72nd on the FedExCup list with $664,168 in earnings.
Defending Mountain West women’s basketball champion Boise State has gone international again, as coach Gordy Presnell brings in a member of Spain’s junior national team. Sofia Galerón, a 6-2 forward, inked a National Letter of Intent yesterday on the first day of the spring signing period and will join the Broncos this fall. Galerón is the third Spaniard to come aboard at Boise State in the last five years, joining graduating senior Yaiza Rodriguez and sophomore Marta Hermida.
Here’s a first check of the weather for the 40th Race To Robie Creek Saturday. It’ll be cool, with a high of 56, but it’ll be sunny for the grueling half-marathon over the top of Aldape Summit. No complaints from the 2,300 entrants in what they’re calling “Retro Robie—Forty Years of Pain and Suffering.” A key guy with the sponsoring Rocky Mountain Sail Toads tells me, “Believe it or not, there’s no snow or mud on the course. We ran it backward two weeks ago, starting at the finish, and the road was in great shape. And they have graded since.” That’s incredible considering the never-before-seen January we had.
This Day In Sports…April 13, 1997, 20 years ago today:
Kind of a followup on yesterday’s item about Jordan Spieth—21-year-old Tiger Woods, playing in his first Masters, becomes the youngest player ever to win the tournament, with a record-low score of 270 and a record-high victory margin of 12 strokes over Tom Kite. This is a big day in Masters history. On April 13, 1975, Jack Nicklaus won his fifth Masters, edging Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller by one stroke. And on April 13, 1986, the 46-year-old Nicklaus shot a 30 on the back nine and a 65 for the final round to become the oldest player ever to win the Masters.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)