The South Point Casino Hotel Sportsbook in Las Vegas caused some buzz Friday. The South Point Casino Hotel Sportsbook in Las Vegas caused some buzz during an otherwise slow time of the year Friday as it released odds for 44 selected college football games throughout the 2016 season. It was a nice distraction from the craziness of Big 12 expansion talk. All but four of the games involved Power 5 teams—par for the course these days. One Boise State game was on the list, the Thursday night tilt against BYU October 20 at Albertsons Stadium. The Broncos are favored by 11½ points according to South Point. That’s a pretty hefty spread for the home-and-home series that now goes into its fifth season.
So let’s try to make some sense of that. Last year in Provo, Boise State didn’t have the starting quarterback it has now, as it was still a week before Brett Rypien burned his redshirt year. But even with Ryan Finley calling the signals, the Broncos led until the final minute of the game on front of 63,470 fans before a Tanner Mangum fourth-down Hail Mary and a Finley pick-six resulted in a 35-24 Cougar victory. Maybe Vegas is figuring in a blue turf factor. The last time BYU played in Boise, the Broncos ran roughshod over the Cougars 55-30, a pivotal win in the run to the 2014 Fiesta Bowl. Or maybe Boise State is still getting some run in the sportsbook for its last game—the uncanny performance in the Poinsettia Bowl.
BYU uniform No. 4 has been indelibly tied to quarterback Taysom Hill the past four seasons. Now Hill has announced he’ll be wearing No. 7 during the additional season granted him by the NCAA. He’s making the change to honor his late brother Dexter, who died in Pocatello on March 23. Dexter, like his brother, was also standout quarterback at Highland High finishing his college career at Northern Iowa. Taysom Hill walked on Senior Day at BYU last November but has decided to return for one more season after having the last two cut short by injury.
There was a lot of chatter at the end of last week on the possibility (or wishful thinking) that Boise State would someday allow alcohol sales to the general public at Albertsons Stadium, as New Mexico plans to do at its home games this season. Here’s one of the better-articulated comments from a Scott Slant reader: “I know it does not happen every game but the spectacle of that fan sticking a finger in the face of Billy Winn after the Nevada game a few years ago illustrates what can go wrong. BSU has generally been a very welcoming atmosphere but I can see alcohol changing the dynamic. Adding alcohol would probably increase our attendance but it might also persuade people like me to drop my season tickets.” Boise State will think this thing through.
One more Boise State player got an NFL tryout over the weekend. The Washington Redskins held their rookie minicamp a week later than the norm, and former Bronco running back Kelsey Young was one of 33 tryout players invited. But Young, who rushed for 511 yards and eight touchdowns last season after joining BSU as a graduate transfer from Stanford, was not one of the 15 new players signed by Washington at the end of the camp.
At the start, Brian Scott was in position for a decent finish at the AAA 400 Drive For Autism yesterday in Dover, DE. Scott came out of the No. 17 pole, a higher-than-usual position for the Boise driver. Scott ended in 24th, a standard result in this, his rookie season. He’s 29th in driver standings with 178 points, more than 100 points below the cut line for the Chase For The Sprint Cup, the equivalent of NASCAR’s postseason.
It’s been an outstanding college baseball season in the Treasure Valley. Unfortunately, the 2016 campaign is over for NNU. The Great Northwest Athletic Conference won’t have an automatic berth into the NCAA Division II Tournament until next year, and NNU was not among the at-large selections last night. The Crusaders’ final memory of the season will be a pretty good one, though, as they captured their first GNAC championship Friday with a thrilling 9-8 win over Western Oregon at Vail Field. NNU finishes at 30-21.
The College of Idaho baseball season continues in the NAIA National Championships Opening Round Santa Barbara Bracket (that’s a mouthful, but Santa Barbara sounds nice). The Coyotes face William Carey bright and early tomorrow morning, at 9 a.m. Pacific time. The tournament is one of nine around the country, with each featuring five teams in double-elimination affairs. The nine winners join Lewis-Clark State at the NAIA World Series in Lewiston.
As expected, the bulk of Boise State’s points at the Mountain West Outdoor Track & Field Championships came in the distance events. David Elliott and Brenna Pelaquin were victorious in the men’s and women’s 5,000-meters Saturday, joining Elijah Armstrong (10,000-meters) as the only Bronco individual winners at the meet. The BSU men finished fifth and the women eighth. There was one team champion in the valley, though—the C of I women came home with their fourth straight Cascade Conference track and field title over the weekend.
This Day In Sports…May 16, 1985:
A hint of things to come, as the Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan is named NBA Rookie of the Year. After coming out of North Carolina following his junior year, Jordan was an instant sensation, landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated a month into his career under the headline, “A Star Is Born.” He averaged 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists in his first season. It was then that M.J. also began his legacy as one of the NBA’s best defensive players. Jordan would go on to win six championships with the Bulls, and he was MVP of the NBA Finals all six times.
(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.)