Info from Phil Steele’s college football preview encyclopedia is starting to flow. Off the top we have Steele’s Mountain West projections for 2021. Leading the way in the Mountain Division is (drum roll) Boise State. There are really no surprises here. Nos. 2 through 6 in order are: Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State, Utah State and New Mexico. Among the Broncos’ advantages this year: they have the Cowboys and the Falcons at home. Why is Wyoming getting this kind of run? The Pokes will have quarterback Sean Chambers back after losing him early in last October’s opener at Nevada. Chambers was 1-for-1 for six yards before breaking his leg three plays into the game.
In the West, Steele goes with Nevada, everybody’s trendy pick in that division this year. The Wolf Pack are followed by San Diego State, San Jose State, Hawaii, Fresno State and UNLV. The Aztecs might be overrated here—and the Spartans underrated. San Jose State has a rock-solid quarterback returning in Nick Starkel and may be getting short-changed. Boise State doesn’t play the Spartans in the regular season this year, but the Broncos do face the Wolf Pack. That one’s on the blue turf, too.
KATIN HOUSER, WHILE HE LASTS
The one thing lost in Boise State’s wild recruiting run last weekend was that quarterback Katin Houser, the first guy to give the Broncos a verbal on April 1, has been classified a “soft commit” by 247 Sports. That means anything can happen—and as every day goes by, you get the feeling he won’t still be on Boise State’s list in December. Houser has received offers from Iowa and Michigan State, among others, and officially visited East Lansing last weekend. His last two tweets were “Spartan Up!!” on June 20 and “Blessed to receive an offer from the University of Iowa!!” on June 17. There hasn’t been a Boise State-related tweet since June 10. The four-star prospect is set as one of 20 QBs in the Elite 11 Finals beginning next Wednesday in Los Angeles.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, SNAKE
There are two things I’ve always felt about Jake Plummer: 1) he could have been a really good CFL quarterback had he not built the nice NFL career he did, and 2) he’d be really good at playing a hard-scrabble character in a movie. Well, the Capital High grad has accepted a role as a CFL QB in an upcoming Canadian film named “Kick.” According to John Hodge of 3DownNation.com, Plummer will be a Hamilton Tiger-Cats signal-caller who is described by Toronto-born writer/producer Chris Bickford as “old and grizzled.” Already there’s controversy in Canada over Plummer’s casting, with some wondering why an actual CFL veteran wasn’t chosen. Plummer played 10 years with the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos and had this amazing career stat line: 161 touchdown passes and 161 interceptions.
ALLIE O: MORE FOLLOWERS THAN EVER
Allie Ostrander’s emotional video post regarding her partial hospitalization program for eating disorder recovery already has 64,000 views. That probably represents 64,000 people who will be pulling for her tonight in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase final at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene. Ostrander’s appearance in the first round of the race last Sunday came just nine days after the video, and she recorded the third-best time of her career in the event at 9:35.56. We’ll see what happens tonight when she reaches back for something extra. Fellow former Bronco Marisa Howard theoretically has a better shot at the Olympics, as she finished ahead of Ostrander in the first round. Both will have to run the race of their lives—only the top three advance to the Tokyo Games.
A FRESH START 3,000 MILES TO THE EAST
Troy Merritt is on the other side of the country today as the Travelers Championship tees off in Cromwell, CT. And here’s hoping the TPC River Highlands course doesn’t chew up Merritt and his PGA Tour colleagues like Torrey Pines did last week at the U.S. Open. The Boise State product made the cut there, but he finished with a 78 last Sunday and was seventh-from-last. Merritt made $23,437, which sounds really good to you and me but is disappointing in a rich tournament like the Open. His place in the FedExCup standings is solid, though: No. 99.
ANOTHER STEP FORWARD FOR THE HAWKS
The Boise Hawks made a triumphant return to Memorial Stadium Wednesday night, using a five-run eighth inning to run away from the Billings Mustangs 10-4. Capital High grad Matt Dallas turned in another solid start, improving to 3-1 after going six innings and allowing just two hits and three earned runs while striking out nine. The Hawks are whittling away after their 3-12 start. Now 10-18, their first goal would be to get to .500.
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June 24, 2013: The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins in the first Stanley Cup Final between Original Six teams in 34 years. The Blackhawks scored two goals 17 seconds apart in the final 1:16 of Game 6 for a 3-2 win and a four games-to-two series victory for the Cup. It was Chicago’s second championship in four years, capping a lockout-shortened season that saw the Blackhawks begin with a 24-game unbeaten streak.
(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.)