At the home opener on the blue turf last year, there was one Top 25 team on the field. At the home opener on the blue turf last year, there was one Top 25 team on the field. That was Boise State, who held serve in the 16-13 win over Washington. There’ll likely be one at this season’s home opener as well. But there’s an increasing chance it won’t be the Broncos. Prognosticators have shuffled their decks with their “post-spring” Top 25 lists. Bruce Feldman at FoxSports.com, for example, doesn’t include Boise State—but he has Washington State, the Albertsons Stadium houseguest on September 10, at No. 22 coming off a 9-4 season. Feldman touts not only quarterback Luke Falk and wide receiver Gabe Marks, but defensive coordinator Alex Grinch and his improved unit. Nothin’ like having hype for an early-season game.
Dennis Dodd’s post-spring rankings at CBS Sports is devoid of Boise State, while Wazzu is No. 25. Anyone from the Mountain West? San Diego State is No. 24. Dodd’s reasoning: “The Aztecs need a better publicist. Bet you didn’t know San Diego State was one of only 13 teams to win at least 11 games last season (11-3). It won its last 10 games by an average of more than 23 points. It was the only team in the country to produce its conference’s offensive, defensive and special teams players of the year. Plus, the Aztecs miss Boise State for the second straight season.”
We’ve been following some off-the-wall lists spawned by Mark Schlabach’s Way Too Early Top 25 at ESPN.com, thanks to a No. 25 ranking for Boise State. But no more—as the Schlabach did his post-spring update on his way-too-early rankings last week, and the Broncos disappeared. “Say hello to Texas A&M, Miami and Louisville, which are back in the top 25, and goodbye to TCU, Florida and Boise State, which have dropped out for now,” writes Schlabach. The subject of this week’s quirky list: “Who’s the team DJ for each top-25 program?” We’ll never know who that Bronco is.
Heart-wrenching misfortune has struck the Utah State football team again. USU freshman defensive end Brady Holt remains in critical condition today in an Ogden hospital after being thrown from his car in an accident last Saturday afternoon in northern Utah. Holt has a fractured neck and four injured vertebrae in his lower back, but doctors are most concerned about a brain injury. Last June, four Utah State football players and one former softball player were badly injured when their SUV was t-boned by a semi. The most seriously hurt was noseguard Travis Seefeldt, who has battled his way back and was granted a sixth year of eligibility last December. Seefeldt is currently on the Aggies roster and is expected to play this season.
Graham DeLaet usually plays well at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Yesterday he did not. DeLaet absorbed back-to-back double bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8 on the way to a four-over 74 at TPC Four Seasons in Irving, TX. His last 12 rounds at the Byron Nelson had all been at or under par, but DeLaet’s looking at another early exit this weekend. Nampa’s Tyler Aldridge was faring better when the first round was suspended due to darkness last night—he was two-under through 14 holes.
No word yet on what Boise’s Heather Cox will be doing on autumn weekends this year. ESPN and ABC are making changes to their college football lineup, and Samantha Ponder is being moved into Cox’s sideline reporting slot on ABC’s Saturday Night college football telecasts with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit. Cox has been with ESPN for almost 22 years, serving as a lead reporter for the NBA and college basketball as well. And she’s been a solid member of the Boise community for eons. Cox and her husband Bill have always been able to make her crazy schedule work for their kids. Maybe she’ll get to spend more time with her family.
The ECHL Western Conference Finals magnify how much the league has changed. The Allen Americans, who edged the Idaho Steelheads in seven games in the conference quarterfinals last month, are facing the Fort Wayne Komets now for a spot in the Kelly Cup Finals. Two years ago Allen, TX, wasn’t even in the league, and a year ago Fort Wayne, IN, was in the Eastern Conference. But with the Bakersfield Condors, Ontario Reign and Stockton Thunder all absorbed into the AHL this season, the Western Conference’s geographic footprint has ballooned. By the way, Allen got into the conference finals by dispatching the Missouri Mavericks, by far the best team in the ECHL during the regular season with 109 points. The Americans lead Fort Wayne two games-to-none after a 2-1 Komets win in Game 3 is last night.
Three Treasure Valley favorites were ushered out of the championship chase in the first round of the state 5A baseball tournament yesterday at Memorial Stadium. Timberline, the odds-on favorite, was relegated to the consolation bracket in a 5-2 upset at the hands of Lake City. And Mountain View was edged 5-4 by Highland. Meridian was the lone valley squad to advance, upending Eagle, 1-0.
Rafael Carvalho and Melvin Manhoef will fight for the MMA world middleweight championship tonight when Bellator 155 unfolds in CenturyLink Arena. The 14-bout card will be nationally televised on Spike TV and will feature eight competitors from Idaho. There hasn’t been an event like this in the “ring sports” in Boise in almost 10 years, since Roy Jones Jr. headlined a boxing card in the arena in July of 2006 during the twilight of his career that also included what turned out to be the final bout in the career of Emmett’s Kenny Keene.
This Day In Sports…May 20, 1978:
In the Preakness at Pimlico, the second act of horse racing’s most fabled trilogy, Affirmed reprises his narrow Kentucky Derby victory, beating Alydar to the wire again. Three weeks later, Affirmed would beat Alydar one more time—this time by a nose at the Belmont Stakes—to become only the 11th Triple Crown winner since 1919. There would not be another until American Pharoah did it last year.
(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.)