(TOM SCOTT’S COLUMN WILL RETURN TUESDAY.)
Catching up on college football: first, Paul Myerberg’s re-rank of his way-too-early Top 25 in USA Today. There’s no re-rank of Boise State, which stays at No. 14. Writes Myerberg, “In terms of depth, experience and returning production, this looks like the best team in the Group of Five. Biggest question: Now a senior, Brett Rypien needs to grab the reins and take full control of the offense.” Oklahoma State, the Broncos’ opponent on September 15, stays put as well at No. 23. “Oklahoma State might not be the favorite in the Big 12, but it’s hard to see the Cowboys fall too far off the pace set by Oklahoma and TCU,” writes Myerberg. “Biggest question: There’s a hole at quarterback, though the competition will take on a new feel once freshman Spencer Sanders and Hawaii transfer Dru Brown hit campus this summer.”
ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach drops Boise State from No. 19 to No. 21 in his post-spring rankings, for what that’s worth. No particular reason. Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com slots Boise State at No. 19. Interestingly enough, both Schlabach and Dodd have Oregon ranked (24th and 23rd, respectively). It’s a vote of confidence for Mario Cristobal, whose first game as head coach was the 38-28 loss to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl. “It’s hard to fathom the Ducks are going on their third coach in the last three years,” writes Dodd. “Cristobal got the gig to hold together the recruiting class. Justin Herbert should take a big step at quarterback.” Schlabach cites the fact that Cristobal also held together most of the UO coaching staff.
According to USA Today and ESPN, there are three teams other than Boise State in the battle for the Group of 5’s big postseason prize. Schlabach agrees that “the Broncos look like a leading candidate to grab the Group of 5’s spot in a New Year’s Six bowl.” However, he has UCF three spots above the Broncos at No. 18. “As hard as it might be to imagine, UCF’s players insist they’ll be even faster on offense (under new coach Josh Heupel) than they were under former coach Scott Frost.” Myerberg’s list has Florida Atlantic ranked 17th and San Diego State 20th. “The Owls get another full spring, summer and fall camp to delve even deeper into Kiffin’s offense, which should worry the rest of Conference USA,” Myerberg writes. Boise State is the only Group of 5 team in Dodd’s rankings.
On and on it went, and the Idaho Steelheads would not fold their tent. With his team down three games-to-none in the ECHL Mountain Division Finals, Steelheads goalie Philippe Desrosiers stood on his head, shutting out Colorado 13½ minutes into overtime to keep the Steelheads’ faint hopes alive. It was then that Colorado’s Drayson Bowman knocked in the lone goal of the game, and the Eagles advance in a sweep. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention Colorado netminder Joe Cannata, who recorded a marathon OT shutout for the second time in the series. Idaho’s postseason summary: three straight losses, four straight wins and four straight losses, and the season is over.
In what looks to be the final year of the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge, Boise State has drawn a road game at Drake on November 27. The Bulldogs were 17-17 last season and saw their coach, Niko Medved, leave for Colorado State. Drake hired longtime Creighton assistant Darian DeVries to replace Medved. The Broncos are 4-1 all-time in the Challenge, including a 108-64 rout of the Bulldogs in 2011. Last year, of course, Boise State drilled Loyola Chicago 87-53. This game against Drake happens the same night as the Nevada-Loyola Chicago game, a rematch of the Sweet 16 game between the two schools, won by the Ramblers.
Troy Merritt is middle-of-the-pack going into the second round of the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte. With a good day today, the Meridian resident and former Boise State star plays the weekend. With a not-so-good one, he misses the cut. Merritt carded a one-over 72 yesterday at Quail Hollow, shooting par on 15 of 18 holes. He logged one birdie and two bogeys, and there you have it.
The Boise State women’s basketball team’s future was already bright coming off back-to-back Mountain West championships. Now in 2019-20, the Broncos will have the missing link—a true post player—as 6-5 center Mallory McGwire has tweeted she is transferring from Oregon. Last season McGwire averaged 4.9 points and 3.5 rebounds after being replaced by Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Satou Sabally in the starting lineup for the Ducks, who made the Elite Eight. McGwire started 24 games as a true freshman, averaging 7.3 points and 4.2 rebounds. She’ll sit out this season per NCAA rules. Like Shalon Shaw, the only starter Boise State lost off this past season’s team, McGwire is from Reno High. She’s also Mark McGwire’s niece (her dad is Dan McGwire, the one-time Seattle Seahawks quarterback).
Congratulations to Bronco women’s tennis coach Beck Roghaar, who has been named Mountain West Coach of the Year. Roghaar also won the coach’s award in the WAC in 2011, six months after he took over the shaken women’s program following the sudden forced departure of coach Mark Tichenor after NCAA violations surfaced. Roghaar has been resilient and remarkable in the job he’s done gluing things back together—those dark days are very past tense.
This Day In Sports…May 4, 2001:
Misfortune strikes Game 4 of the Taylor Cup Finals in Boise between the Idaho Steelheads and San Diego. Trailing two games to one, the Gulls watch their popular captain, B.J. McPherson, fall to the ice with a dislocated neck. McPherson was transported to the hospital in critical condition, and his teammates rallied furiously for a 4-3 win. Boise fans would come to McPherson’s aid, raising over $4,000 for him in the next 24 hours. But it was indeed a turning point for the inspired Gulls, who won the series in seven games.
(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.)