Thursday, May 30, 2013.
Of the three sports offshoots of the major TV networks, CBS Sports Network, NBC Sports Network and FOX Sports 1, the latter appears to be the most ambitious. But it’s still going to take a map to find it. Turns out the Boise State-Washington season opener August 31 is going to be a marquee Saturday night event helping launch FOX Sports 1, which goes on the air August 17. The Pac-12 announced yesterday the game will kick off on FS1 at 8 p.m. Mountain time from the new-look Husky Stadium. In most places the new 24-hour sports network will land in the same channel location currently occupied by the SPEED network, which means it will be accessible—but not easily-accessible—to local viewers. But look at it this way: tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the folding of “the mtn.” network.
Speaking of the Broncos-Huskies matchup, the Sporting News college football preview calls Washington’s Bishop Sankey “the tailback with the funky name—and big game.” Boise State knows all about the latter after Sankey’s 205 rushing yards and 279 all-purpose yards in the Las Vegas Bowl. Writes Matt Hayes: “You don’t know him because Washington was just average last season, and the Huskies had a star quarterback, Keith Price, who didn’t play like one when his offensive line couldn’t protect. So they ran the ball—and Sankey piled up the quietest 1,439 yards (16 TDs) in maybe ever.” By the way, UW has lost a little depth behind Sankey with the departure of backup tailback Erich Wilson. Wilson may be headed for San Jose State, where he would have three years of eligibility remaining in 2014 after sitting out this season.
A couple other Sporting News snippets involving Boise State opponents: the magazine calls BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, the former Highland High star, “the next Tim Tebow.” Not sure how Hill should feel about that. But SN is referring to the Florida Gator version of Tebow when talking about Hill, saying, “He has the game, he has the frame; only a knee injury midway through last year kept him from a breakout season.” And Sporting News says Southern Miss has the deadliest non-conference schedule among non-BCS schools. “You’re Southern Miss. You went 0-12 in 2012. And you’ve got Nebraska, Arkansas and Boise State—back-to-back-to-back—on the road in September. Good god.”
Idaho’s profile in Sporting News may not be entirely accurate. First of all, it’s brief. Second of all, it says “first-year coach Paul Petrino will be grooming quarterback Taylor Davis for the challenge ahead.” At the very least, Coeur d’Alene’s Chad Chalich was way ahead of Davis coming out of spring football. And junior college transfer Josh McCain arrives this summer to provide a supreme challenge for the Vandals’ starting job.
Kellen Moore’s path to remain Detroit’s No. 3 quarterback is not unobstructed. The Lions have cut Alex Carder, a free agent out of Western Michigan, but they’ve claimed Thaddeus Lewis off waivers from Cleveland to compete with the former Boise State great. Lewis, a third-year pro out of Duke, threw 32 passes for the Browns last season and 14 for the Rams the year before. NFL analyst Adam Caplan thinks this does not bode well for Kellen. “Lewis' arrival could spell the end for Moore, who lacks an NFL skill set,” Caplan tweeted. There’ll be plenty of opportunity for reps in training camp, as No. 2 QB Shaun Hill is coming off foot surgery.
Whatever happened to Will Lawrence? Well, the former Boise State offensive lineman has been in Nebraska playing for the Lincoln Haymakers of the Champions Professional Indoor Football League. But oursportscentral.com reports that Lawrence was recently invited to a private workout with Montreal of the CFL. He passed the audition and has signed with the Alouettes. Lawrence, whose tenure as a Bronco starter included the 2010 Fiesta Bowl, will consequently toil in Montreal training camp for former Boise State coach Dan Hawkins. Former Broncos Winston Venable, Jeremy Avery and Andrew Woodruff are already on the Als’ roster.
Before we let the latest Sports Illustrated go, we need to cull a couple things from the L. John Wertheim article on Novak Djokovic. The Serbian star’s ankle injury in the Davis Cup win over the U.S. in Taco Bell Arena the first weekend of April is a distant memory as Djokovic now seeks a title in the one Grand Slam tournament he has never won, the French Open. Wertheim’s piece deals with the difficulty Djokovic is having filling the void left by the fading Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal rivalry despite his status as the world’s No. 1 player (and the top seed in Paris). “It’s a shame,” writes Wertheim. “He’s handsome, he’s outgoing, he’s multilingual. He dances on Leno and shot a scene for ‘The Expendables 2.’” Boise fans saw those qualities up close and personal last month and are pulling for him on the red clay of Roland Garros.
Perhaps Nadal, who has lost only one match at the French since 2005, gets the best of Djokovic (if somebody else doesn’t during the early rounds) and keeps him from the the coveted trophy. But maybe Djokovic gets it done to complete a career Grand Slam. That would put him halfway to a season Slam, which hasn’t been accomplished since Rod Laver did it in 1969. “Maybe then he’ll be heralded as an alltime great in his own right,” writes Wertheim. Djokovic is set to play Guido Pella of Argentina in the second round after a straight sets win Tuesday over Belgium’s David Goffin.
Lewis-Clark State seeks its 17th NAIA baseball national championship tonight when it faces Faulkner in the final game of the NAIA World Series in Lewiston. The Warriors’ home turf at Harris Field will be rockin’. L-C State endured two lengthy weather delays yesterday in eliminating the No. 3 seed in the tournament, Embry-Riddle, 13-7. L-C State scored 10 of its runs from the fifth inning on.
When I saw the blog by the Statesman’s Brian Murphy on Clint Malarchuk, I had to see the video. It’s an 11-minute mini-doc, a “30-For-30” short produced for Grantland, an ESPN-affiliated website. Knowing what was coming, it was very difficult to again watch the 1989 on-ice neck injury that almost took the life of the former Idaho Steelheads coach when he was the Buffalo Sabres’ goalie in 1989. The skate that cut Malarchuk’s neck would have killed him instantly had it gone a quarter of an inch deeper. He lost nearly a third of the blood in his body. The rest dealt with the aftermath for Malarchuk (not the two years he was the Steelheads coach). The horror of the accident never left him, and his OCD led to a 2008 breakdown and suicide attempt. Through rehab and therapy, Malarchuk, now goalie coach of the Calgary Flames, has seemingly recovered.
This Day In Sports…May 30, 1998, 15 years ago today:
In the Cardinals’ 3-2 loss to San Diego, St. Louis first baseman Mark McGwire continues the torrid pace that will make him baseball’s all-time single season home run champion. Artificially Big Mac hit his 27th homer in the Cards’ 53rd game, jumping well ahead of Roger Maris’ pace when he set the record with 61 homers in 1961. The previous record for home runs prior to June was 24, set the previous year by Ken Griffey Jr. of the Mariners.
(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.)