Monday was a heavy day in this column. Today, we lighten things up with an observation from respected Mountain West writer Chris Murray of NevadaSportsNet.com.Murray was musing last week about “all of the high quarterback draft picks to come out of MW schools in recent years, guys like Utah State’s Jordan Love, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, Fresno State’s Derek Carr and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick, each of whom was a top-40 pick.” Murray then realized that the last time Boise State had a QB drafted was 45 years ago, when Jim McMillan went in the 14th round to the Detroit Lions. That is truly amazing. The Broncos have produced some great college quarterbacks the past 20 years—Bart Hendricks, Ryan Dinwiddie, Jared Zabransky, Kellen Moore and Brett Rypien among them. And it’s never translated to the NFL Draft.
Every Mountain West school except Air Force has had a quarterback drafted in the seventh round or above since McMillan was picked. Murray doesn’t go here to get digs in on the Broncos. He writes, “Boise State has been the best Group of 5 football program in the nation over the last 20 years, with the school winning a ridiculous 13 conference championships since 2000. The Broncos have also been the best MW school at getting players to the NFL. Boise State has a streak of 11 straight seasons with at least one player being drafted. But no quarterback drafted for the last 45 years? That’s odd for a program that’s been so strong, has won so many games and has so many recruiting advantages over its conference brethren.” Odd indeed.
MATTISON NAVIGATES A TRYING TIME
On Monday, Caves & Prater replayed former Boise State star Alexander Mattison’s interview with Zach Gelb on CBS Sports Radio (and KTIK) last Friday. There was a lot to talk about. Mattison said he’s “grieving” over what is happening in Minneapolis, where he’s approaching his second year with the Vikings. What would he say to the city? “These people are only trying to make a statement and make their voices heard, but it’s never the right thing to go and cause destruction. I’m trying to be as peaceful as I can and view from afar.” On the upcoming season? “I have a ‘never-satisfied’ mentality. I know I have a lot (more) to offer, and that’s what I’m excited about.” On what makes Boise State tick? “That blue-collar entality made me who I am today. It’s from my experience at Boise State.”
AZTECS HOP A KEY HURDLE
Last Friday’s special meeting of the San Diego City Council resulted in a “go” for San Diego State. The Council voted unanimously to approve a sale agreement for the city-owned Mission Valley stadium property to SDSU for $86.2 million. All that’s left is for the city and university attorneys to tie up loose ends. According to KUSI-TV, barring any last-minute negotiations, San Diego State could close escrow and officially take ownership of the 132-acre property by late July. The Aztecs are fortunate to get past this step before the window closes, because the financial well in California is sure to run dry on projects like this.
MOUNTAIN WEST WILL MISS ROLO
Who could be quirkier than Mike Leach as head coach at Washington State? If the Cougars intended to be seamless, Nick Rolovich is the ticket. According to Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com, even Leach told WSU athletic director Pat Chun, “Nick was the best short-term solution and the best long-term solution.” Not only for a seamless transition from the “Air Raid” offense to the run-and-shoot, but off the field as well. Dodd notes that “Rolovich is the guy who brought an Elvis impersonator to Mountain West Media Days only because he couldn’t find a way to bring a monkey.” Dodd didn’t mention the Britney Spears impersonator. But Rolovich is more connected with fans. When the pandemic started, he visited three different restaurants over a three-day period, buying meals for the first 20 folks who showed up. Rolo’s hard to replace.
REDESIGNING 2021 OBJECTIVES
Before its much-celebrated return season was squashed by the pandemic, the Boise State baseball program’s goal was to make the Mountain West Tournament. That won’t be the case in 2021, as the conference has eliminated the baseball, men’s and women’s tennis and women’s soccer postseason tournaments. Those are among a series of cost-containment measures announced Monday night by the conference. They may or may not extend beyond the 2020-21 athletic year. “The focus of this effort has been to protect opportunities for student-athletes and to maintain the intercollegiate athletics offerings at each member institution which are so integral to the fabric of the respective campuses,” said commissioner Craig Thompson. Which is to say, every effort has been made to avoid cutting any sports.
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June 2, 2010, 10 years ago today: About a third of the way through the 22nd season in his Hall of Fame career, Ken Griffey Jr. announces his retirement from the Seattle Mariners. Griffey ended up fifth in career home runs with 630, a number that could have been a lot higher were it not for his injury-plagued years in Cincinnati. Junior’s retirement announcement was actually overshadowed the same night by one of the most disappointing moments in big league history: umpire Jim Joyce’s bad call that resulted in an infield single on what would have been the 27th and final out of a perfect game by Detroit’s Armando Galarraga. Impressive, however, was Joyce’s emotional apology to the pitcher afterward, and Galarraga’s heartfelt acceptance.
(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.)