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Countering the power conference lockout

Countering the power conference lockout

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on June 12, 2013 at 7:31 AM

Wednesday, June 12, 2013.

Have you ever heard of the Christmas Bowl?  How about the Los Angeles Bowl?  They’re actually one and the same, although they don’t exist yet.  Representatives of the proposed bowl are hoping to get a Mountain West team to anchor the game against an opponent from either the Pac-12 or the American Athletic Conference (the old Big East).  College football’s five “left-out leagues” (the Group of Five) are jockeying for exposure in 2014 and beyond, since the Power Five conferences have continued to circle the wagons.  The Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls have already declared that when they’re not hosting a semifinal in the new College Football Playoff, they’ll pit two Power Five teams against each other.  There are 14 other bowls that have committed to power conference-versus-power conference matchups. 

So the lower-level Group of Five is looking for more bowls.  Among nine possible new sites being considered are Dubai, the Bahamas, and Dublin, Ireland.  The Mountain West, which moves to 12 teams this year, has six bowl tie-ins currently: the Famous Idaho Potato, Las Vegas, New Mexico, Hawaii, Armed Forces and Poinsettia Bowls.  According to, at last month's SEC spring meetings commissioner Mike Slive said his league "probably but not exclusively" preferred to play the other Power Five leagues going forward in bowl games.  Sources said the reason is simple: The teams from the bigger leagues draw better television ratings and have bigger fan bases to travel.  Boise State has proven that isn’t always the case.

You may have caught the online photos and video of the field turf being rolled out the past week in the revamped Husky Stadium, with the bold purple end zones and gold lettering.  What strikes you, though, is how close the stands are to the field compared to the facility’s original version.  I mean, those fans are going to be right on top of the players.  It was pretty loud six years ago when Boise State went up there the first time before an audience of 70,000.  I can’t wait to hear what it sounds like amid the pomp and circumstance of the grand re-opening 80 days from now.

Boise State fullback Jamal Wilson has departed and appears to be headed to Montana.  The Grizzlies have reportedly offered Wilson a scholarship—he was a walk-on for the Broncos, and he’d be able to play right away at UM since it’s an FCS school.  Boise State is in the final year of its three-year, three-scholarship reduction as part of its 2011 NCAA penalties.  Maybe Wilson would have been awarded a scholarship next winter. The Broncos are left to decide which tight end will be reassigned, as Wilson was the only full-time fullback on the roster.

Just when you thought it might be over for Chris Carr, he signs with the New Orleans Saints.  The former Boise State standout isn’t just a body to fill space during training camp.  The Saints are thin in the secondary, and Carr brings nine years of NFL experience with him.  He’s also a terrific special teams player and can return kicks if necessary.  Carr still holds the Oakland Raiders career record for kickoff returns with 201.  He was a reserve last year with the San Diego Chargers.

We found out last week Boise State football scored in the top 10 percent of FBS schools in Academic Progress Rate.  The NCAA released the complete list yesterday, and the Broncos came in at No. 2 with a school-record number of 993, trailing only Northwestern.  The analysis covers a four-year period for the academic years of 2008-09 through 2011-12.  Boise State tied for second last year with Duke.  Elsewhere in APR rankings, the Broncos also topped the Mountain West in men’s cross country, men’s indoor track and field, men’s outdoor track and field and swimming and diving.  Taking the 2011-12 academic year by itself, Boise State had 10 sports record a perfect 1,000 in APR.

Boise Hawks right-hander James Pugliese would like to wipe the slate clean when he gets the honor of starting on Opening Night Friday for the Boise Hawks.  Manager Gary Van Tol has selected Pugliese to take the hill first to begin a three-game series at Eugene.  The 20-year-old from Hamilton, NJ, led the Hawks last season with 51 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings.  But he was 1-5 for the summer with a 5.37 ERA.  Five other players are returning to the Hawks for a second season: Tyler Bremer, Matt Iannazzo, Justin Marra, Lance Rymel and Shawon Dunston Jr.

If you think college football and basketball recruiting can be gut-wrenching for a coaching staff, how about baseball?  Recently-graduated Rocky Mountain star Mason Smith had committed to play at Utah, but in baseball, those verbals carry a big ol’ asterisk.  Smith, drafted in the fourth round last Friday by San Diego, has signed with the Padres as expected and won’t suit up for the Utes, who are now looking for another centerfielder.  Happens all the time to college baseball programs, though.  Coaches have an arsenal of alternate plans.

Hunter Ostrom, the 15-year-old phenom from Eagle, put together a one-over 72 yesterday to win the boys title at the 46th annual John Dropping Junior Championship at Banbury.  Ostrom was three shots better than Kyle Miley of Twin Falls.  Defending girls champion Gabby Barker, the Vallivue senior-to-be, turned in the round of the day, a two-under 69 that allowed her to coast to a four-shot victory over Bishop Kelly’s Haley Nist.

This Day In Sports…June 12, 2011:

Trailing at one point two games-to-one in the NBA Finals, the Dallas Mavericks win their third straight game to claim their first championship in a 105-95 win over the Miami Heat.  And heat is what LeBron James took after consistently fading in the fourth quarter.  James, in his first season in Miami after “The Decision,” scored almost nine points per game less in the Finals than he did during the regular season.  Conversely, the Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki was outstanding, taking Finals MVP honors as he hugged an NBA championship trophy for the first time in his 13-year career.

(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.)