Thursday, July 8, 2010.
If September is going to be historic for Boise State from start to finish, Bronco fans will have to root against their future conference. Before BSU even plays, it has to pull for Oregon State against Mountain West power TCU. That the Broncos have to gun for Wyoming a couple weeks later goes without saying. The idea is for Boise State to get through its first two games against Virginia Tech and Wyo unscathed—and for the Beavers to do the same versus the Horned Frogs and Louisville. That would leave BSU in the top five and OSU climbing the Top 25, and create a very real possibility that ESPN College GameDay would make its first-ever visit to Boise on September 25. It could also push the Bronco-Beaver tilt onto ABC, a network that hasn’t aired Boise State since the 1980 Division I-AA national championship game.
Are people trying not to think about College GameDay and ABC and such? Why would that be? One word: jinx. The most infamous one in all the land is the “Sports Illustrated cover jinx,” and with the Statesman reporting that famed SI photographer Peter Read Miller is going to be in Boise to snap a few pics tomorrow, the guessing game begins. Will there be blue and orange other than that of Florida on the cover of SI’s College Football Preview issue next month?
In their weekly top 10 compilation in the Sporting News Daily online edition, Matt Hayes and Dave Curtis run down their “Impact Assistant Coaches at New Schools.” Former Boise State defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox makes both lists, No. 2 with Hayes and No. 6 with Curtis. Hayes points out that Tennessee coach Derek Dooley hired Wilcox because of how the Bronco defenses played his Louisiana Tech offenses. “He also did it because of how Wilcox’s defense shut down TCU’s high-scoring spread offense in last year’s Fiesta Bowl,” writes Hayes. “Guess who else uses the spread in the SEC East?” That would be Florida.
I’ve said before that Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News pens some of the most thoughtful writing on college football in the West. Well, here’s some more. Wilner recaps recent events: “Washington QB Jake Locker hits Manhattan as part of a preseason PR push for the Heisman candidate. Reaction I: Something just doesn’t seem right. It’s almost like Locker is too obvious a candidate and someone else in the Pac-10 will emerge during the season as a stronger contender. Reaction II: Locker leads a solid group of preliminary Heisman contenders from the league. I’d put Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State) as a close second. Reaction III: But the best bet from the West is probably Boise State QB Kellen Moore, who should have enough preseason juice and in-season challenges to reach NY if the Broncos are a BCS contender.”
Amidst the release of Seantrel Henderson from his USC letter of intent comes word that erstwhile Trojan linebacker Jordan Campbell is not headed to Boise State, but reportedly to Louisville. Campbell was the first USC player to say he was going to take advantage of the NCAA’s free-transfer policy for USC juniors and seniors following the school’s harsh sanctions. He said he was considering Boise State. It’s just as well—Campbell already had some baggage with the Trojans. Four-year transfers rarely fit the mold at Boise State. Take Jason Wardlow, for example. He was a defensive end who left USC and was penciled in by many to start for the Broncos in 2003. But Wardlow was dismissed before fall camp due to academics.
Didn’t mean not to include Cedric Febis yesterday when I wrote the bit about Boise State’s Dutchmen pulling for the Netherlands in the World Cup final. Febis has been around so much longer than Geraldo Hiwat and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, he kind of slipped by me. Febis was the trailblazer of the high schoolers from Holland when he attended Bishop Kelly in 2005-06. As for saying the final this weekend is on Saturday instead of Sunday—well, let’s just say I wasn’t 100 percent engrossed in the World Cup. I’ve gotten used to the vuvuzelas, though.
The Boise Hawks enjoyed their first day off of the season yesterday, able to reflect on a very tightly-bunched Northwest League East Division. The Hawks are only one game over .500 at 10-9, but they’re tied for first place with Yakima. All four teams in the division are within a game and a half of each other. The Hawks return home tonight to begin a five-game series against Eugene.
The first half of the season in the Northwest League can be wildly unpredictable, with draft picks being signed and sent to their first pro assignments. But the wins and losses over the first 5½ weeks of the campaign are important this year, as the NWL has done what so many other minor league circuits already do. It has gone to a split-season format. The teams with the best records in each division on July 26 will be declared first-half winners and will make the playoffs in September. Then second half winners will be determined September 5. If the same team wins both halves, the next-best team in that division will earn a wild-card playoff berth. That means there’ll be two stages in the postseason, with divisional series preceding the Northwest League Championship Series.
This Day In Sports…July 8, 1984:
The British press and fans call him “the Brat” and “McNasty”, but in this case the only ill will on the part of John McEnroe is toward Wimbledon finals opponent Jimmy Connors. In the most one-sided men’s final in 46 years, McEnroe dismantled Connors in just 80 minutes, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2. It was McNasty’s third Wimbledon men’s title in four years.
(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 1350 KTIK/The Ticket. He’s also handled color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football the last five seasons.)