Twirling the 2015 turnstiles

The National Football Foundation released its 2015 report on college football attendance last week. The National Football Foundation released its 2015 report on college football attendance last week. The NFF presented the rosy side, noting that attendance for all divisions last year was 49,057,966. But that represents a decrease for the second straight season. Plain as day, cost and the HD TV experience are chipping away at the numbers, as are wacky kickoff times (don’t we know it). Boise State was 64th in the country in attendance last season at 33,612 fans per game, up from 32,504 in 2014. The Broncos were first in the Mountain West and were ahead of seven power conference schools: Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Syracuse, Kansas, Washington State, Wake Forest and Duke.

San Diego State and Fresno State were back-to-back at Nos. 73 and 74 respectively, drawing just over 29,000 per game. That’s particularly disappointing for the Bulldogs. In 2001, when Fresno State reached a No. 8 ranking before being upset by Boise State, the Bulldog Stadium average was 42,802. At the other end of the spectrum, three Mountain West teams ranked below 100 in 2016 attendance. UNLV was No. 104 at 19,371, Wyoming No. 109 at 18,060, and San Jose State No. 118 at 15,312. Elsewhere, Idaho ranked 124th of 128 FBS teams. The Vandals, limited as always by Kibbie Dome capacity and a low population base, averaged just 11,653 fans per game.

There’s another former Coeur d’Alene quarterback making a bid for playing time at Idaho. Gunnar Amos (great name for a QB) doesn’t come in with the portfolio of fellow former Viking Chad Chalich, who’s now at Montana. But Amos is getting extra reps this spring while starter Matt Linehan sits out. Amos appears to be a definitive No. 3 right now behind Linehan and Jake Luton. The 6-1, 191-pound redshirt freshman has gone 25-for-40 for 390 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions in two spring scrimmages. Idaho’s third scrimmage is tomorrow, and the annual Silver & Gold Game is a week from tonight.

The College of Idaho has two scrimmages set during spring football, with the first one coming tomorrow. The Coyotes have their own quarterback thing going this year. Teejay Gordon, the dual-threat starter during the first two seasons of the Yotes’ reborn program, is gone—taking with him 4,100 career passing yards and 21 touchdowns through the air, plus 1,287 rushing yards and 18 TDs on the ground. Inside the program, they’re calling these guys “1 and 1A” at quarterback: Tyler Cox out of Boise High and J.J. Hyde out of Vallivue. Hyde is being held out of contact during spring ball as he recovers from a season-ending injury last October. C of I also has Peter Wysong, a JC transfer who was a backup to current Boise State QB Tommy Stuart at Butte College, and two more quarterbacks slated to arrive this summer.

Matt Paradis has gone from eight-man football in Council to a wanted man in Denver, and that’s a good thing. The former Boise State standout has signed his exclusive rights tender with the NFL Broncos and will be in camp when offseason workouts begin Monday. Paradis was the only player on the Denver roster to play every snap during the team’s Super Bowl championship season, this coming one year after the 2014 sixth-round pick spent a season on the practice squad. He’ll make a modest (by NFL standards) $525,000.

Now that’s the way to start the Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Idaho Steelheads, behind 36 saves from goalie Philippe Desrosiers, stifled defending ECHL champion Allen 3-1 last night on the Americans’ home ice to take Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. Idaho got a goal from Andre Bouvet-Morrissette in the first period, Shawn Boutin in the second, and Tommy Fallen in the third. The Steelies, who came into the game second in the ECHL in the penalty kill on the road at 87.3 percent, stopped all four of Allen’s power plays on the night. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be played in Texas tomorrow night.

UNLV basketball has always fashioned itself as an elite program, but these days it keeps getting knocked up ‘side the head. A private plane from Lubbock, TX, arrived in Henderson, NV, last night to pick up brand new Rebels coach Chris Beard so he could go talk to Texas Tech about its head coaching job. Tubby Smith departed TTU yesterday to take over at Memphis, and Beard is a natural candidate, since he spent 10 years as a Red Raiders assistant, and two of his three daughters live in Texas. Even if nothing comes of this, UNLV is one unsettled place right now. But something may come of it.

Graham DeLaet carded three birdies and two bogeys on the front nine—and three birdies and two bogeys on the back nine yesterday. That added up to a two-under 69 for the former Boise State star in the first round of the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, SC. DeLaet is three shots off the pace and is tied for 15th with 10 other players. Nampa’s Tyler Aldridge was even at 71 yesterdy and is tied for 36th.

Brian Scott is stuck in the mid-20’s on the Sprint Cup Series (not that a million motorsports aficionados wouldn’t love to trade places with him). The Boise High grad started in the 27th position last Saturday at the Texas Motor Speedway, and that’s exactly where he finished in the Duck Commander 500. In his first season under the Richard Petty Motorsports banner, Scott is ranked 25th in Sprint Cup standings. Next on the docket is the Food City 500 on Sunday at the famed Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee.

Campus cruising: Boise State freshman Shani Remme gets her shot on beam tonight at the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, TX. Remme, the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference Freshman of the Year, will compete in the second semifinal of the evening. And the Bronco men’s tennis team has another big weekend slated at the Appleton Center. BSU hosts San Diego State today and UNLV Sunday as it tries to bounce back from last Sunday’s disappointing loss to Nevada. “I think the glow of our win over Fresno State was still ringing in our brain,” said coach Greg Patton, who added that his team “forgot to recharge the engine, and that was fatal for our hopes and play.”

There won’t be back-to-back winners on either side of the Race To Robie Creek this year. The 2015 men’s champion, Kenny McDaniel, is out with a torn ACL. Last year’s women’s winner, Boisean Andrija Barker, swore that would be her one-and-only Robie. And alas, Barker is not entered tomorrow in the 39th edition of the legendary event. So let’s focus on Lauri Thompson, who’s won the grueling half-marathon once—and finished second nine times, to nine different women. Tomorrow she’ll shoot for a Masters (over 40) title. The oldest entrant is Ken Karcher, who’s 88 years old. Karcher has 10 years on the next-oldest runner.

This Day In Sports…April 15, 1985:

In Las Vegas, two of the greatest fighters of the era meet when middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler defends his title against WBC light-middleweight champ Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns. After a ferocious first round in which both boxers landed tremendous punches, Hagler took charge. In the third round, he floored Hearns with three vicious rights, prompting the referee to stop the bout.

(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.)