MW football: What’s the ‘Power 6’ up to?

What a coincidence that Andy Staples wrote this at The Athletic last week: “The folks at the American never miss a chance to tell us that it’s the Power 6 and not the Power 5, as if putting a P6 logo on a first-down marker will erase millions of dollars worth of economic reality. The Mountain West doesn’t care what you call it—as long as you don’t call it late to beat up on the Pac-12. San Diego State is 5-1 against the Pac-12 since 2016. In the same span, Pac-12 member Oregon State has won only four Pac-12 games. ‘My individual perspective,’ MW commissioner Craig Thompson says, “is to let the record speak for itself.’” Now the record includes a shocking San Jose State win at Arkansas, and a UCF loss at Pitt. The Mountain West has won eight games against Power 5 teams this season, doubling its 2018 regular season total.

The American Athletic Conference has been tring to separate itself from its Group of 5 peers for years, unveiling a strategic plan in July of 2017 top brand itself as a “Power 6” league. The campaign has been widely skewered since then. And there was UCF’s claim to the 2017 “national championship.” To be fair, the AAC remains in the hunt for a New Year’s Six bowl. If it’s not UCF, well, SMU and Memphis are currently undefeated and knocking on the door of the Top 25, and Navy is also undefeated.

OLD BUDDIES BUNCHED IN THE RANKINGS

Another coincidence has been pointed out the past couple of days. Coach Pete and his two original Boise State coordinators from 2006 are all wrapped up together in the middle of the Top 25. In the AP Poll, Chris Petersen’s first defensive coordinator, Justin Wilcox, has the Cal Bears up to No. 15. Petersen’s initial offensive coordinator, Bryan Harsin, has the Broncos at No. 16. And Coach Pete and the Washington Huskies are No. 17. The order in the Coaches Poll goes Harsin-Wilcox-Petersen at Nos. 15-16-17. While Boise State enjoys a bye this week, Cal will be home against Arizona State Friday night, and Washington hosts USC this Saturday.

T.O.P. – SOMETIMES IT MATTERS

Coaches will say time of possession is a grossly-overrated stat. And, by gosh, it has evened out. It did mean something at Florida State, as Boise State never let the Seminoles have a chance in the second half in racking up 40 minutes of possession time. Versus Marshall, Boise State’s 39 minutes just worked out that way, thanks to the Broncos defense not allowing a first down after halftime. Last week against Portland State? Nothing to see here. What was significant in the Air Force game is that the Falcons dominated the clock the first three quarters, but it evened out somewhat (34 minutes to 26) when the Broncos held the ball for 9½ minutes in the fourth quarter.

MORE HISTORY FOR THE YOTES

College of Idaho had never been a top 10 team in football—in either phase of its football history—until Monday. The Coyotes climbed one spot to No. 10 in the latest NAIA Coaches Poll. The Coyotes are one of three Frontier Conference teams in the poll; Montana Western is No. 19 and Montana Tech debuts this week at No. 25. Rocky Mountain is not ranked, but the Battlin’ Bears are the defending Frontier Conference champions. The Yotes return to action against Rocky this Saturday in Billings. The Bears were the last team to beat C of I, a year and two days ago.

HOOPS ON THE HORIZON

Today is Day 1 of practice for Boise State men’s basketball, and one of the areas of focus is the post with five-year inside staple Zach Haney having graduated. The Broncos have one veteran back from a redshirt year, one rookie coming off a redshirt, and a newcomer with international experience. Robin Jorch, the German senior, will be wearing No. 25 this season. He wore No. 10 during his first three years as a Bronco. The redshirt freshman signed as Mikey Frazier but is now Mike. He’s a 6-10 forward from Salt Lake City. The new face is Mladen Armus, another 6-10 guy from Belgrade, Serbia, by way of East Tennessee State.

Boise State has been active on the recruiting front. Monday coach Leon Rice landed a commitment from Kasean Pryor of Pioneer High in Ann Arbor, MI. Pryor is a 6-8 small forward who had 12 offers, all from mid-major schools. The Broncos picked up another future hoops verbal Sunday, this one even longer-term than 2021 commit Tyson Degenhart of Spokane. Burley High’s Jace Whiting tweeted his commitment, with plans to join the Broncos in 2022 after a two-year LDS mission. Whiting, a 6-1 guard, averaged 20 points and nine rebounds last season for the Bobcats. Bronco Nation roots for the in-state kids. It didn’t work out for Malek Harwell, who transferred to Cal Poly last spring. Coach Leon Rice’s son, Max, is a redshirt freshman guard out of Bishop Kelly awaiting his Boise State debut.

ANOTHER DELAY FOR DELAET

The long-awaited day doesn’t appear to be here for Graham DeLaet. The former Boise State star said last month on Idaho SportsTalk that he planned return to the PGA Tour at the Safeway Open in Napa, CA. Well, it’s tournament week in the Wine Country, and DeLaet is not listed in the field in this, the third event of the 2019-20 season. He’s on a major medical exemption, giving him full status on the tour—as soon as he’s healthy. DeLaet had planned to do a test-run this summer on the Korn Ferry Tour but scratched that. He hasn’t played competitive golf since his chronic debilitating back problems forced him off the tour in late October of 2017. That was two weeks after a fifth-place finish at the Safeway Open.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by POOL DOCTOR & SPA…so many ways to soak and save!

September 24, 2004, 15 years ago today: Boise State and BYU play on the blue turf for the first time, and it goes down to the final seconds. The scoring started with an Andy Avalos safety on Cougar quarterback John Beck in the first quarter. The Broncos went on to build a 16-0 lead, but BYU clawed back to take a 27-22 lead late in the third quarter. It was with 3:42 left that Jared Zabransky hit T.J. Acree with a 44-yard touchdown pass to give Boise State the lead back. Then the Broncos had to endure a 38-yard field goal attempt by the Cougars’ Matt Payne with 19 seconds remaining. Payne missed, and the Broncos won it, 28-27.

(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.)

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