When the Mountain West was “allowed” back into eligibility for the rankings last week, not one vote was cast for any conference team. That’s changed a little in the AP Poll and a lot more in the Coaches Poll. That’s changed a little in the AP Poll and a lot more in the Coaches Poll. Air Force received votes totaling four points in AP yesterday—the Falcons are the only MW team with a body of work after routing Navy Saturday 40-7. The Broncos still had nary a vote. But in the Coaches Poll, Boise State had 30 points and the Falcons 13. The Broncos don’t have a body of work yet. They went from zero to 30 without having played a game. The polls don’t mean a lot right now in this coronavirus-confused season. Keeping in mind that the College Football Playoff committee’s poll is not based on what the AP and Coaches lists say.
Boise State is almost three weeks away from playing a game, yet scoreboard-watching season is in full gear. The consensus Saturday night was that UCF’s upset loss to Tulsa is a big boost for Boise State. It’s definitely a boost for the Mountain West, as the marquee team in the theoretically-superior American Athletic Conference is out of the AP Poll after seemingly controlling its own destiny in the race for a New Year’s Six bowl berth. Cincinnati of the AAC is now No. 11, though. If the Bearcats run the table, no one’s going to catch them.
Then there’s BYU at No. 15 after upping its record to 3-0 with a 45-14 romp over Louisiana Tech. The Broncos are fortunate to have been able to hold onto their game against the Cougars November 7, because that could be a deal-maker or deal-breaker for either team. BYU has to run the table to even have a sniff at the New Year’s Six. The Cougars are technically a Group of 5 program, but you can’t take the spot in the New Year’s Six bowl that goes to the top-ranked Group of 5 league champion if you don’t have a conference.
TO HORSE AROUND – OR NOT TO
Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier met with the media for only the second time Sunday, and he walked the party line on what he needs to do this season. It ranges from avoiding hits to improving his footwork, with a nod to the influence of new offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau. Bachmeier’s personality shone through, too. KTVB’s Jay Tust captured it in his “Hillbilly Hank” story Sunday night, detailing Bachmeier’s June visit to Fruitland with teammate Tyler Eiguren and his first experience rising a horse. “(On the field) I want to be loose; I want my players, my teammates to be loose,” said Bachmeier. “That’s something I’m working on, when to turn it on and when to turn it off.”
WHITE: THE DEFINITION OF ‘LONG’
Boise State coach Bryan Harsin tweeted a “Go Broncos!” last Monday, and Friday we found out who it is. He’s a good get: offensive lineman Jason White of Orange Lutheran High in Southern California. According to Greg Biggins of 247 Sports, White’s original plan was to decide on a school later this season—or even after it. “I knew spots were starting to fill up,” White told Biggins. “Boise State was my top choice from the beginning and they already have a few OL commitments.” He chose the Broncos over Kansas and Oregon State, among others. Biggins says White is currently 6-3, 290 pounds and has an 81-inch wing span. That would certainly narrow the gaps for an opposing pass rush.
AROUND THE HORN IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Air Force-Navy was Game No. 1 in the Mountain West this season. The games at the end are in a state of flux. ESPN Events has canceled the Hawaii Bowl, traditionally played on Christmas Eve, as well as another of the 17 bowl games it owns, the Bahamas Bowl. Boise’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is also owned by ESPN Events. Wyoming suspended team activities Friday after 11 freshmen tested positive for COVID-19. In all, 31 Cowboys freshman players are in quarantine this week. Wyoming is hopeful the rest of the team can resume drills once weekend test results are posted. Hawaii practiced Saturday for the first time since four players received positive coronavirus test results last Wednesday.
HANGIN’ ON TO ‘SOUPY’
Nicknames are part of hockey’s culture, and the Idaho Steelheads have “Soupy” back. That’s Brett Supinski, who was the Steelheads Rookie of the Year last season. The 25-year-old forward scored 38 points on 19 goals and 19 assists before the campaign was suspended in March due to the coronavirus. Supinski came to Idaho via a trade with the Maine Mariners just before last season.
MAYORS’ CUP NOT OFF THE TABLE
The Great Northwest Athletic Conference has delayed the start of winter sports, including men’s basketball, until January 7 due to coronavirus concerns. So Northwest Nazarene won’t be playing the Mayors’ Cup games against College of Idaho in November or December. But John Wustrow of the Idaho Press tweeted Friday night that NNU hopes the Mayors’ Cup can be on the schedule later this winter. “Would likely require a weekday game in the middle of conference races for both teams. College of Idaho also say no decision has been made,” tweeted Wustrow. There have been only three years since 1933 that the Canyon County rivalry has not been played.
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October 5, 1991: Fresno State pummels New Mexico, 94-17, falling just short of the Division I-A record of 100 points set by Houston against Tulsa in 1968. The Bulldogs and coach Jim Sweeney exacted revenge for a shocking loss to the Lobos two years earlier that ended a 17-game Fresno State winning streak and had New Mexico fans chanting, “Sweeney is a weenie.” The Bulldogs scored 49 points in the second quarter and led 66-7 at halftime. Ten Fresno State players scored, three of them twice.
(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.)