Friday, December 9, 2011.
Has a Boise State player ever had a national award named after him? Uh, I don’t believe so. There’s always a first time, and Kellen Moore has given the Broncos so many “first times” in his career. Moore has been named college football's best quarterback of 2011 by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, the second-straight season he has received the award. Furthermore, in recognition of Moore becoming the winningest QB in the history of college football, the honor has been renamed the “Kellen Moore Award” beginning in 2012. That’s pretty amazing stuff.
Moore was in Orlando last night for The Home Depot College Football Awards show as a finalist for the Maxwell Award, which goes to the College Player of the Year. That was won by Stanford’s Andrew Luck. But Moore and Houston’s Case Keenum did get to dress up as pirates on one pre-taped bit in the ESPN show. That was interesting.
Boise State’s Nate Potter has been named a first-team All-American by CBSSports.com on the heels of his first-team All-Mountain West honor earlier this week. The four-year starter at left tackle was also tabbed as a first-team Capital One Academic All-America honoree. Potter is the first Boise State player to earn first-team Academic honors in the FBS era—and the first at any level since Sam Miller in 1978 in the Division I-AA days. Ironically, both guys graduated from city high schools, Potter from Timberline and Miller from Boise.
When surplus student tickets for the Wyoming and New Mexico games were released to the general public, Boise State took a different tack. BSU put them on sale at half-price, which tells you the priority was to have the stands full. That would seem to bode well for fans when Bronco Stadium’s capacity is increased to 36,800 next season with the reconstruction of the end zone seats. Interim athletic director Curt Apsey has been hitting the “affordable seats” theme. The end zone expansion plan was approved yesterday by the State Board of Education.
The continuing saga of the BCS? I’ll let SI.com’s Stewart Mandel put it in a nutshell, because he does a good job of it in his “College Football Mailbag” this week. Writes Mandel: “Considering how much criticism the bowl business has faced over the past 14 months—from the publication of ‘Death to the BCS,’ to last year's Sugar Bowl/Tattoo Five debacle, to the Fiesta Bowl corruption scandal—it's mind-boggling that bowl execs keep making decisions that open them up to even greater backlash.
“The public does not want a Michigan-Virginia Tech matchup. I've seen and heard that quite loudly since Sunday night. It would, however, eat up a chance to watch Denard Robinson go against Kellen Moore. Boise-Michigan would have been arguably the most appealing matchup outside of the title game. But the Sugar Bowl committee probably still views Boise as a second-rate outfit. The Sugar brass are either completely out of touch with the public's interest, or they just don't care. And that is the BCS' biggest problem.”
Arizona State players are trying to prepare for Boise State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, but the Sun Devils’ search for a new head coach has to be a distraction. SMU’s June Jones had reportedly accepted an offer—then ASU pulled it at the last minute, infuriating Jones’ agent, Leigh Steinberg. Who’s left on the list? According to the Arizona Republic, it includes two former Bronco assistants, Tennessee defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich. Of course, Sun Devils fans would rather have former Ducks coach Mike Bellotti. Former South Florida coach Jim Leavitt’s name is also being floated out there, with support for Leavitt from ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden.
One of the feature NFL games this weekend has the New York Giants visiting Dallas on Sunday Night Football. The subplot has Eli Manning visiting Orlando Scandrick, the former Boise State standout. Scandrick missed the first Cowboys-Giants meeting this season with an injury. But Manning spent the previous four games between the two teams picking Scandrick apart. In those confrontations, Manning threw Scandrick’s way 33 times, completing 23 for 265 yards and four touchdowns. That’s a quarterback rating of 133.2, absurdly high in the NFL’s formula.
Boise State will see a familiar old face on the other side of the scorer’s table when it tangles with LSU tomorrow night in Baton Rouge. The Tigers are coached by Trent Johnson, who helped the Broncos to their first Big Sky basketball championship 35 years ago. This game could be a calling card if Boise State can win it. But Johnson really, really needs it. LSU is 5-3, coming off close wins at Rutgers and Houston after a home loss to South Alabama the night before Thanksgiving. Johnson arrived in Louisiana with a lot of fanfare after taking both Nevada and Stanford to the Sweet 16. He got the Tigers into the NCAA second round in his first season, but LSU lost 14 of its final 15 games last season despite a vote of confidence for Johnson in February. Forbes Magazine named him one of the 10 most overpaid college basketball coaches in the country earlier this year.
The Broncos will find out a lot tomorrow night as they take in the energy of an SEC venue. They’re 8-1, with all eight victories at home and the lone loss a decisive one at Long Beach State. Boise State’s freshmen have been playing like veterans in Taco Bell Arena, especially Australians Anthony Drmic and Igor Hadziomerovic. Will they be unaffected by their surroundings and their opponent and be able to avoid the deer-in-headlights syndrome in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center tomorrow night? The Broncos are averaging just under 85 points a game, are outscoring their opponents by more than 24 points a game, and have eight players averaging at least 7½ points a night.
The Idaho Stampede slipped back into their early-season struggles last night, falling 100-87 at Bakersfield. Antoine Walker got a lot of playing time in his first game back—27 minutes—but he went just 3-of-14 and scored seven points. The Stampede had another woeful night from the field, shooting under 40 percent and going 5-of-24 from three-point range. The Stamps, now 1-4, visit the L.A. D-Fenders tomorrow night.
Not to beat a dead horse, but the Idaho Steelheads’ assignment is clear going into their CenturyLink Arena games tonight and tomorrow night against Colorado. Put some pressure on the Eagles’ goal, and keep them from doing the same at the Steelies’ end. The Steelheads are last in the ECHL, averaging just 25.3 shots per game. And they’re last in shots allowed, yielding an average of 40.4. That’s a discrepancy of more than 15 shots a night. Idaho has outshot the other guys just once in 21 games this season. By the way, sandwiched in between tonight’s and tomorrow night’s games will be a showdown between the Boise State and Idaho club teams tomorrow afternoon.
This Day In Sports…December 9, 1965:
In one of the worst trades in baseball history, the Cincinnati Reds trade slugger Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson. Robinson would go on to win baseball’s Triple Crown in 1966, leading the Orioles to their first world championship.
(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.)