Kickoffs: It is what it is

Boise State will play five non-Saturday games this season, and three of them will be at Albertsons Stadium. We already knew about two, and now there are three more confirmed. Boise State will play five non-Saturday games this season, and three of them will be at Albertsons Stadium. The Mountain West unveiled the Thursday-Friday slate yesterday, along with kickoff times. The BYU home game was already set for Thursday, October 20—that one will begin at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN (if it’s not pushed back by the network that night)—and the meeting with UNLV was previously set for Friday, November 18, with a 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. start. Now the San Jose State game on the blue turf has been set for an 8:15 p.m. kickoff on November 4. It’s the way of the world for the modern-day Broncos.

That leaves the Washington State, Utah State and Colorado State home games with kickoffs to be determined. “We anticipate the other three games will also be played at night,” said Boise State athletic director Curt Apsey in the university’s release. Apsey is well aware of the challenge the late-night games present. His appeal to Bronco Nation: “With the eyes of college football fans throughout the country tuned in to watch Boise State, we hope every seat in Albertsons Stadium is filled as we showcase to a national audience our football program, our University, our city and the best fans in college football.” The last day game on the blue turf was the 63-14 win over Tennessee-Martin in the 2013 home opener.

The defending ECHL champion Allen Americans, in desperation mode, should raise the bar in the chippiness department tonight. They face elimination in the ECHL Western Conference quarterfinals, hosting the Idaho Steelheads in Game 6. Allen’s aggression will come from someone other than Vincent Arsenaeu, who has been suspended for two games by the league for his illegal check to the head of the Steelheads’ Radolslav Illo in the third period of Idaho’s 7-1 win Saturday night in CenturyLink Arena. Arsenaeu was also cited for “making contact to the head area with his stick.” That’s one less American for Steelheads goalie Philippe Desrosiers to worry about this series. Desrosiers is fourth in ECHL postseason save percentage at 94.1 and sixth in goals-against average at 1.82.

There’s another opening on the Boise State men’s hoops staff, this one for director of basketball operations. Isaac Williams has left that post to return from whence he came, retaking the head coaching job he held at Eastern Oregon from 2009-13. Williams was 96-32 in LaGrande, and his Mountaineers reached the top spot in the NAIA Division II rankings during his final season.

Nevada has fired a salvo in its rivalry with UNLV. Former Rebels coach Dave Rice has been hired by Wolf Pack coach Eric Musselman, 3½ months after being fired in Las Vegas. Rice is not only a former UNLV coach, he was a player on the Rebels’ 1990 national championship team and spent 11 seasons as an assistant there. So this move strikes a chord in the Silver State. With the addition of Rice, former Cal assistant Yann Hufnagel (fired after allegations of sexual harassment), and former LSU and NBA assistant Ronald Dupree, Chris Murray of the Reno Gazette-Journal writes that Nevada “has one of the best staffs on the West Coast.” Man, are they upping the expectations in Reno.

How about the Kobe Bryant/potato truck thing? It seems that late in the NBA season, off-camera while he was preparing for an interview with Boisean Heather Cox, Bryant asked her about the Idaho potato commercials she does featuring the six-ton potato replica on the back of a big flat-bed. Kobe asked the ESPN sideline reporter extraordinaire if they had found the truck yet. Apparently it’s spurred Idaho Potato Commission CEO Frank Muir to consider continuing the ad campaign when he was ready to retire it. I’m wondering where Bryant saw the commercial. It hasn’t been on all that much, has it? Could t be that he watched the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl?

Back to football—life was different for Idaho State last year without quarterback Justin Arias, a 4,000-yard passer as a senior during the Bengals’ breakthrough 8-4 season in 2014. Michael Sanders was the starter most of last season but transferred to a Division II school after ISU’s 2-9 campaign. The established starter this year is sophomore Tanner Gueller, who led an Idaho State spring game that lasted 50 plays Saturday before thunder and lightning broke things up. Gueller, who had three starts last fall, went 10-for-15 before the scrimmage was called.

Washington State gave fans what they’ve come to expect in the Crimson and Gray Game Saturday at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane. In what amounted to cameos for the Cougars’ vaunted aerial attack, Luke Falk went 23-for-28 for 170 yards and two touchdowns, and star receiver Gabe Marks hauled in 11 passes for 96 yards and a pair of TDs. But Wazzu insists it’s going to be grounding it out as well when it his the blue turf September 10. Beyond juniors Gerard Wicks and Jamal Morrow, the Cougs unveiled redshirt freshman James Williams at the spring game. Williams’ 42 yards and a touchdown on six carries don’t tell the story, as he consistently “deked and duked his way around traffic,” according to the Seattle Times’ Stefanie Loh.

Those who dismiss Wyoming’s chances to compete in the Mountain West after a 2-10 season should remember that running back Shaun Wick is back from injury this year. Wick, a senior, amassed 126 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries in the Cowboys’ spring game Saturday. He missed the final eight games last season due to ongoing concussion symptoms. Wick’s return excites Wyo coach Craig Bohl, who says his pro-style offense is “really good” when it has a two-pronged running attack. Who’s the other guy? Brian Hill, who set a Wyoming single-season record last year with 1,631 yards.

This Day In Sports…April 26, 2008:

Ryan Clady makes Boise State history by becoming the school’s first-ever first-round pick in the NFL Draft. Clady was selected No. 12 overall by Denver, with coach Mike Shanahan immediately anointing him as the Broncos’ starting left tackle. Clady, who started every game of his college career, had left BSU following his junior year after being named the school’s first consensus Division I-A All-American. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick also passed up his senior season at Boise State to enter the NFL Draft, and he was selected in the fifth round by the Dallas Cowboys.

(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.)