We’re not only about to get a steady diet of watch lists, but the college football preseason magazines are also on the horizon. That includes all-conference projections. Athlon Sports’ list for the Mountain West, four teams deep, is already out. And it shows Boise State is deep as well. The Broncos lead the way with 17 selections, followed by Fresno State with 13 and Utah State with 12. But aye, here’s the rub. Boise State only has four first-team selections, and only one on defense, STUD linebacker Curtis Weaver. On offense there’s wide receiver John Hightower, tackle Ezra Cleveland and guard John Molchon.
Of course, the All-Mountain West team that counts doesn’t come out until Thanksgiving is past. So, which Broncos do we not see on the Athlon first-team that we very well could see on the real one after the season? I lean toward defensive tackle David Moa, whose Boise State career has been turned inside out. Moa was an all-conference first-teamer in 2016 with 8.5 sacks, fell off to two sacks in 2018, and missed almost all of last season with an injury. Athlon has him on the second team. Bettin’ on Moa being hungry as a senior. And the darkhorse, based on Athlon’s list, would be wide receiver Khalil Shakir, who’s on the fourth team. Who would be surprised to see Shakir as a first-team pick as a sophomore this fall?
KELLEN’S WEEKLY AFFIRMATION
Kellen Moore is not answering his premature critics in Dallas. Everybody else is doing it for him. The latest in the pro-Kellen parade is quarterback Dak Prescott, who just three years ago was battling with Moore to back up Tony Romo with the Cowboys. Now Prescott is pretty much the face of the franchise, and Moore is the 30-year-old Dallas offensive coordinator. A story at DallasCowboys.com confirms that Dak is a Kellen Moore guy.
“He’s shown so much command,” Prescott said of the former Boise State great going into the Cowboys’ OTAs this week. “He demands respect.” According to Nick Eatman’s story, without prompting, Prescott went into some of the stereotypes that the uninformed have applied to Kellen. “Can he take over the room? He most definitely can,” said Prescott. “He gets in front of the whole offense. He gets in front of the team, whatever it may be. He demands respect by his knowledge. He demands respect by what he asks of us.”
THE MW SEARCH FOR SUNLIGHT
As negotiations for the next Mountain West TV contract in 2020 continue, something intriguing came of out Conference USA this week. The league has struck a four-year deal with NFL Network to show a Game of the Week (10 per season) on Saturday afternoons. Guess what the key words are there. “Saturday afternoons.” Could the Mountain West add something like that into its CBS Sports Network/ESPN smorgasboard?
Financial details were not released, and those are rather important. But the exposure would be as good as anything the MW has outside of ESPN and ESPN2. The kickoff times would be worth whatever dollar sacrifices had to be made. And the contract has other things MW commissioner Craig Thompson might like, as the games will also be available through the NFL app and via Watch NFL Network on smartphones, tablets, PCs and connected TV devices for subscribers of participating NFL Network providers.
GARSON’S BRONCOS COULD CONTEND, TOO
From the “where are they now” file, former College of Idaho men’s basketball coach Scott Garson was in town last weekend for the graduation of some of his old Coyotes players. Garson is now an assistant on Herb Sendek’s staff at Santa Clara. Garson said this past season was a building one for the Bay Area version of the Broncos, in terms of culture and experience. Santa Clara was extremely young, yet ended up with a winning season (16-15). SCU’s top three scorers consisted of two sophomores and a true freshman. The university has also broken ground on a $38 million Athletic Excellence Center. Garson is energized, although he’ll tell you he really misses the Treasure Valley. He was 129-42 in five years with the Yotes, including four NAIA national tournament appearances.
LCSC GOES CCC
Garson’s successor at C of I, Colby Blaine, will have an in-state foe to figure out a year and a half from now. Lewis-Clark State in Lewiston is leaving the Montana-based Frontier Conference in 2020 to become the 12th full member of the Cascade Collegiate Conference. In basketball, the Warriors have been competing at the NAIA Division I level, while the CCC is part of Division II in hoops. Not sure how that figures into things. LCSC’s flagship program is, of course, baseball. The Warriors, who continue to host the NAIA World Series, have won 19 national championships.
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May 22, 2004, 15 years ago today: Capping an unlikely but spectacular run through the ECHL Playoffs, the Idaho Steelheads win it all in their first season in the league, taking the Kelly Cup with a 5-2 win over the Florida Everblades before a raucous standing-room-only crowd in what is now CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads were on the brink of elimination in the first round against Las Vegas—then future NHL goalie Dan Ellis returned from the Utah Grizzlies and put together a remarkable 13-3 record with three shutouts to earn Kelly Cup Playoff MVP honors.
(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.)