Someone asked BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe about the Mountain West, and Holmoe responded. It started with the Salt Lake Tribune’s Jay Drew tweeting this: “Tom asked if BYU would ever return to MWC: ‘I would never say never about anything like that.’ Said relations with commish have warmed.” That meant someone asked BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe about returning to the Mountain West, and Holmoe responded with a “never say never.” And he said his—and/or BYU’s—relationship with MW commissioner Craig Thompson isn’t as frosty as it once was. I think anyone who gets excited about that is overreacting. Things would have to get pretty bad for the Cougars to swallow their pride and go back while Utah forges on in the Pac-12. And I would maintain it’s not so bad for BYU right now. Scheduling is fine, especially now that the ACC and Big Ten are allowing their members to count BYU as a Power 5 non-conference opponent.
BYU’s hope remains inclusion in Big 12 expansion if it ever happens. Boise State and Colorado State would happily serve as a travel partner. We debated BSU versus CSU last Friday on Idaho SportsTalk—would the Big 12 weigh academic pedigree more heavily than football performance were it to someday consider expansion? Here’s that Bronco football resume over the last 16 years: a 177-31 overall record, 100-4 at home, 12 conference championships, a 10-5 bowl record (with 13 straight bowl berths), 13 10-win seasons, and eight 12-win seasons. You can’t ignore it.
The flip side of Boise State going to the Big 12 someday, as succinctly sumarized by a Scott Slant reader: “More 9 p.m. kickoffs; willingness to play Thursday night games (why do Texas and Oklahoma refuse to host those games?). Also, the unspoken part of BYU being ‘another Doberman at the table’ with the Big 12 heavyweights is that BSU would not have a lot of sway and would have to go along with whatever—including dropping and adding sports programs—in exchange for the privilege of joining the Big 12. Plus, of course, there are the increased costs of travel to Austin and Morgantown. And the eventual costs of significant upgrades, again (new stadium?). There’s something to be said for being the Doberman at the MW table, vs. the new puppy in the Big 12.” Points well taken.
Next, a couple things from USA Today that are way out there. Boise State is No. 5 on two lists—one is Paul Myerberg’s preseason “1-128 re-rank.” How did the Broncos get there? Is it assumed they’re going to put a beatdown on their old coach two weeks from tomorrow night? Is Ryan Finley going to morph into Kellen Moore? Myerberg has the first four as Ohio State, Baylor, Auburn and Alabama. “Then comes Boise State—and yes, the Broncos are going to be very, very good,” writes Myerberg. That’s it for supporting data.
Boise State is on the other end of the spectrum in a USA Today column on “the 10 most overrated college football fan bases” by Mike Foss and Chris Chase. Bronco Nation is No. 5 here, too. To be fair, there’s some tongue-in-cheek material throughout. Writes Foss, “It’s remarkable to witness the inflated sense of self worth from fans of Boise State; a team playing in the Mountain West. The team’s Wikipedia entry has a section titled ‘Constant Success.’ Wyoming, New Mexico, and Air Force are in your conference. It’s harder to fail than it is to succeed.” He left out UNLV. However, refer to paragraph No. 2 above. It’s hard to do that no matter what conference you’re in.
Watch list season isn’t quite over. Boise State’s Shane Williams-Rhodes is on the docket for the third annual Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award that goes to the top offensive player in the FBS (on and off the field) who was born in Texas and/or graduated from a Texas high school and/or played at a Texas-based junior college or four year college. Williams-Rhodes is a senior from Spring, TX, outside Houston. Last year, Bronco running back Jay Ajayi was one of five finalists for the award.
Albertsons must be liking its stadium experience in Boise. At the very least, the company is liking football. Albertsons/Safeway has announced it will sponsor the Rocky Mountain Showdown on Saturday, September 19, in what they call Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. Susan Morris, who was based in Boise as Albertsons transitioned back to a local company and was involved in the Albertsons Stadium deal and the ongoing success of the Albertsons Boise Open, is now the president of Albertsons/Safeway, Denver Division. “No other annual sports event in Colorado attracts greater anticipation, attention and emotion than the annual CU/CSU game,” said Morris. “This sponsorship is a great opportunity to show our loyal customers that we are committed to Colorado and college athletics.”
Idaho State has been beset by injuries so far in fall camp, two of them involving Treasure Valley players. Nampa’s Mario Jenkins fell to the turf last Saturday and didn’t immediately pop back up, according to Kyle Franco of the Idaho State Journal. The starting inside linebacker was favoring his left leg as he was helped to the sideline by two trainers. Jenkins is a preseason All-Big Sky pick who recorded 120 tackles, 10.5 for loss, and had three interceptions. Then there’s star wide receiver Madison Mangum, the senior from Timberline High. Franco writes that “Mangum has not practiced after running into a tackling sled in the offseason. Idaho State will not disclose Mangum’s injury, and (coach Mike) Kramer said he doesn’t know when he’ll return to the field.”
Maybe the tide is turning for former Boise State star Shea McClellin. This year may determine how McClellin is forever branded as a Chicago Bears first-round NFL Draft pick. The preseason started well last Thursday against Miami. Not only is the one-time Marsing Husky getting used to another new position, inside linebacker, he’s also now the defensive signal caller for the Bears. On the game’s opening drive, the radio inside McClellin’s helmet went out and he had to make some quick decisions. He joked that maybe the coaching staff was just messing with him. Chicago is giving him a shot after declining the fifth-year option on his contract, which might be a blessing in disguise. “The last three years were difficult for me because I was afraid to make mistakes,” said McClellin at ESPN.com. “Now, just let it loose, got nothing to lose.”
McClellin and the Bears visit the Indianapolis Colts Saturday. Preseason week No. 2 begins tonight with Kellen Moore, who was discussed at length yesterday, looking for a good outing at Washington. Moore may have to deal with former Bronco teammate and Redskins safety Jeron Johnson, although Johnson didn’t have any stats in the preseason opener. Cleveland hosts Buffalo tonight, with no word yet on the status of defensive tackle Billy Winn. He suffered an ankle sprain in training camp almost three weeks ago.
Whereas the Boise State public scrimmage tomorrow night will probably be situational (albeit eventful), the College of Idaho’s Purple/Gold Scrimmage today at 2 p.m. at Simplot Stadium will be game-like, according to the Coyotes. It’s an important tuneup for the Yotes—their season begins a week from Saturday at home against Eastern Oregon.
This time it was Eugene posting a five-run inning on the Boise Hawks. It was in the first, and the Emeralds held the Hawks at bay the rest of the way in an 11-5 victory at Memorial Stadium. The Hawks have now lost 12 of their last 15 games and have clinched a losing season with their 39th defeat. Boise now skips town for its annual Western Idaho Fair road trip, an 11-game ordeal that begins tonight in Hillsboro.
This Day In Sports…August 20, 1948:
The largest night crowd in the history of major league baseball at the time, over 78,000, jams Municipal Stadium in Cleveland to watch Negro Leagues icon Satchel Paige shut out the White Sox on a three-hitter, 1-0. Paige had made his big league debut six weeks earlier as a 42-year-old rookie, as the color barrier had finally been broken in the American League. He later came out of retirement in 1965 to pitch one game for Kansas City at the age of 58.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)