Thursday, January 14, 2010.
The glamour positions usually draw the most attention in fan participation votes, such as the WAC All-Decade Team. But it wasn’t Ian Johnson, nor Colt Brennan, nor LaDainian Tomlinson who received the most votes. Would you believe an offensive tackle? Okay, a pretty good O-tackle. Boise State’s Ryan Clady was named on more ballots than anyone else on the squad unveiled yesterday. The current Denver Pro-Bowler outdrew ‘em all. Brennan, the Hawaii great, was the quarterback, while Johnson and Tomlinson were the running backs.
The leading vote-getter on defense was Boise State’s three-time All-WAC linebacker and 2006 conference Defensive Player of the Year Korey Hall. The Broncos had the most representatives of any team with nine, as Daryn Colledge, Andy Avalos, Ryan Winterswyk, Kyle Wilson, Quintin Mikell and Marty Tadman were also named. Fresno State had eight honorees, while Idaho contributed offensive tackle Mike Iupati.
It’s interesting to see Winterswyk wedged in there. BSU’s star defensive end is the only player still active after the 2009 season to get a WAC All-Decade nod. Winterswyk is set up for a monster senior year—he goes into 2010 with three-season totals of 19 sacks, 37½ tackles for loss, and 11 pass breakups. And what a perfect blueprint he is for young guys. Winterswyk came to Boise State as a walk-on safety in 2006.
Line of the day comes from Lenn Robbins of the New York Post, wishing for an Alabama-Boise State matchup in the BCS Championship Game next season. “Alabama has more depth and is a more physical squad,” writes Robbins. “But tell the truth: Wouldn't you pay to see the look on Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban's face after the Broncos pull off one of their trademark trick plays? That's what I'm talkin’ about.”
I like this from the Sporting News. Matt Hayes surmises that Pete Carroll “will return to college football after failing in the NFL.” And Hayes already has a top five list of places Carroll would go: Miami, Arizona State, LSU, Florida, and Hawaii. Why Hawaii? Writes Hayes, “Because Carroll would be available. Why it makes sense: He can body surf and ball all day long, coach a little in the afternoon and win enough games to win the WAC (after Boise State leaves for the Mountain West Conference). And, of course, retire in paradise.”
Now that the BCS Championship Game is one week gone, all the “best of the bowl season” lists are out. This is familiar territory for Boise State. But for Idaho, it’s a bit groundbreaking. ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel has posted his highs and lows. “Best Imitation Of Boise State, Circa 2006” goes to…Boise State for the fake punt that led to the winning touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl. “Best Gamble” goes to Idaho coach Robb Akey for going for the win in the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl, converting the two-point conversion against Bowling Green with four seconds left to secure a 43-42 win.
If there’s one thing that’s loud and clear from the WAC’s ESPN ratings released yesterday, it’s to avoid those Sunday ESPN games like the plague. The Nevada-San Jose State game November 8 barely nudged the meter with a 0.24 rating. That the Wolf Pack won the game 62-7 didn’t help. The WAC had 12 regular season games on ESPN’s two main networks, and Boise State played in six of them. Games involving the Broncos took the conference’s top four spots in audience, led by 2.93 rating for the Oregon game. The highest mark for a WAC bowl game was 2.78 for the New Mexico Bowl, followed by the Humanitarian at 2.39. The Fiesta Bowl’s rating of 8.23 was second among BCS bowls (outside the title game).
It looked like it would get away early from the Idaho Steelheads last night. Then it looked like they had it back. Then it went into overtime—then to a shootout before the Steelheads prevailed over Utah, 4-3. The Grizzlies scored on their first shot of the night two minutes into the contest to make it 1-0. But they would get only 15 more shots on goal all evening. The 16 Grizzly shots were the fewest allowed this season by Idaho. Nonetheless, Utah tied it with 5½ minutes left in the game to force the OT. Ryan Kinasewich, the Grizzlies’ All-Star left wing, scored another goal on the Steelheads, his ninth in nine games against them this season. But Kinasewich managed only one other shot on the night. The Steelies now have an extended All-Star break before returning to Qwest Arena January 22 versus Las Vegas.
Watch that three-point line tonight when Boise State takes on San Jose State. If current trends hold true, it might not matter that the Broncos are 19-1 all-time against the Spartans. Not only is BSU 0-4 in the WAC, it’s last in the league in three-point shooting by far—at less than 31 percent. San Jose State is hitting better than 40 percent from outside the arc, second in the conference behind Idaho. The Broncos hope to have Paul Noonan back on the floor tonight after he missed the New Mexico State-Louisiana Tech homestand with an ankle injury. Noonan is an aficionado of the trey and is the only Bronco who’s been even serviceable from three-point land, shooting 34 percent.
It’s a good thing there are direct flights between Portland and Boise. They’re coming in handy for the Idaho Stampede and Blazers rookie guard Patty Mills. The former St. Mary’s star has been sent back to the Stampede to get more court time. His first two professional games, both in a Stampede uniform, were certainly eye-openers. Mills scored 60 points in the two contests and went 11-for-15 from three-point range. He appeared in just one NBA game after his return to Portland, recording two assists in five minutes last week against the L.A. Clippers. Mills will suit up again for the Stamps tomorrow night against the Reno Bighorns, his first game in Qwest Arena.
Former Boise State star Troy Merritt makes his debut on the PGA Tour today at the Sony Open in Hawaii. And one-time teammate Graham DeLaet joins him. Both golfers earned their tour cards by surviving the six stages of Q-School last fall, with Merritt creating quite a stir, winning the final stage after leading wire-to-wire. Merritt said on Idaho SportsTalk at the time that the first seven tournaments of his season are crucial. After the Phoenix Open, the PGA Tour “reshuffles,” and Merritt and DeLaet won’t have the same access to regular events on the tour if their performances don’t pass muster. Merritt hopes to play about 25 events this year.
This Day In Sports…January 14, 1968:
The Green Bay Packers win the Super Bowl for the second consecutive year, dropping the Oakland Raiders, 33-14. It would be coach Vince Lombardi’s final game with Green Bay and would mark the end of the Packers dynasty. And it produced another famous picture of former Idaho Vandal great Jerry Kramer—helping carry the victorious Lombardi off the field at Miami’s Orange Bowl.
(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 also handles color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football.)