Tuesday, April 20, 2010.
There’s a lot of catch-up from the packed weekend today. First of all, I must be lucky. Before heading down to the Blue & Orange Game Saturday, I caught about 10 minutes of the Alabama spring game on ESPN. Half of that time was occupied by a spirited debate between Mark May and Craig James on the merits of Boise State as a top five team. May was denigrating the Broncos’ credentials, while James, usually a mid-major detractor, tried to defend them. May: “After they get thumped by Virginia Tech, I don’t know how you can say they’ll come back and be a top five team with that schedule.” James: “I’m not seeing it as a thumping.” May: “Double-digit loss. Double-digit loss.” We can all understand May’s right to his opinion—and the opinion itself. It just seems like he could be more even-keeled. What is it that makes him so belligerent about it?
An interesting aspect of Chris Petersen’s new contract as made public yesterday by the State Board of Education is what it would cost Petersen to leave Boise State. The five-year, $8 million contract has a $650,000 buyout through January of 2015. That’s a significant number, but not a staggering one for deep-pocketed BCS schools that really want him. The perpetual question is, would Petersen ever want them? There are a few exceptions on the buyout, and one of them would be for Pete taking a media job. Would he be great as an ESPN analyst or what?
Boise State safety Jeron Johnson has been named to the watch list for the Lott Trophy, the award named after former USC and San Francisco 49ers great Ronnie Lott. A lot of the watch lists are based on the previous season’s all-conference teams, and Johnson was first-team All-WAC in 2009. We’ll see if the pattern follows for other such Broncos. Austin Pettis and Titus Young for the Biletnikoff Award? Ryan Winterswyk for the Ted Hendricks Award? Nate Potter for the Outland Trophy? Kellen Moore for the…well…fill in the blank.
One of the more pronounced buzzes in the crowd at the spring game Saturday came at the sight of Kyle Wilson walking the sidelines of the blue turf, five days before the NFL Draft. Wilson was relaxed and upbeat as his life-changing day approaches. Andy Staples at SI.com this week looks back at how first round prospects rated as recruits. You may remember this story, as Staples re-tells it: “Wilson wasn't getting much interest as a high schooler, so his brother made a tape and sent it to 50 schools. Boise State, Richmond and Delaware offered scholarships. Later, hometown Rutgers also offered, but Wilson already had fallen in love with the coaching staff at Boise State.” Not an unusual story in Broncoland, witness Ryan Clady.
Staples has Wilson as the No. 18 overall prospect right now, and he lists Idaho’s Mike Iupati at No. 26. Iupati’s story during recruitment, as Staples tells it: “The massive Samoan attracted interest from Arizona and others, but his grades made signing with a BCS program almost impossible. Iupati planned to attend junior college, and he would have if not for a chance meeting with an Idaho assistant who was visiting a friend at a barbecue thrown for the members of Iupati's older brother's team at Golden West Junior College. Because non-qualifiers aren't eligible for scholarships, Iupati's parents took out a loan so he could pay for his first year at Idaho. He'll be able to pay them back—plus interest—when he receives his signing bonus.”
The Idaho Steelheads try to put Utah on the ropes tonight in Game 3 of the ECHL National Conference semifinals in West Valley City. The Steelies have a two games-to-none lead. I’d like to say I figured this out all by myself, but the Steelheads front office points out that the most-important game left on the docket in the Idaho-Utah series probably doesn’t even involve the Steelheads or the Grizzlies. It’s tomorrow in Hershey, PA. Two guys who would make a huge difference for Utah are still involved in the AHL playoffs with Bridgeport. If Bridgeport is eliminated by Hershey tomorrow night, goalie Mikko Koskinen and defenseman Jake Gannon are likely headed back to the Grizzlies. And they’re good ones.
Oddities from the first two games: Idaho Steelheads hotshot Mark Derlago has just one goal so far. But Utah’s James Sixsmith, who many consider a better player than Grizzlies star Ryan Kinasewich, has only one assist in the series. Sixsmith had 11 points in Utah’s five-game series win over Las Vegas in the first round of the playoffs. Matt McKnight, with three goals, and Evan Barlow and John-Scott Dickson, with two apiece, have been the ones putting the biscuit in the basket for the Steelies. In last year’s four-game, first-round sweep at the hands of Victoria, Idaho scored only four goals. Through two games versus Utah the Steelheads have already tallied 11 times.
New Boise State basketball coach Leon Rice has a head start on his 2011 recruiting class. Never too soon to start, with seven scholarships likely available next year. The Statesman’s Nick Jezierny reports that Rice has picked up a guy he had been recruiting at Gonzaga, 6-4 guard Joe Hanstad of Dickinson, ND. Hanstad was North Dakota’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2009 as a sophomore.
Boise’s Cori Mooney began her journey to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials yesterday by finishing 38th in the women’s division at the Boston Marathon. She was 21st among American women, running the legendary course in 2:51:42. It’s an accomplishment any way you look at it for the six-time Race To Robie Creek champion. Consider that there were more than 26,000 entrants in this year’s Boston Marathon—and Mooney was 586th overall.
This Day In Sports…April 20, 1912:
Yet another historic day for baseball stadiums—this time a good one. Fenway Park opens in Boston, with the Red Sox beating the Yankees, 7-6. Tiger Stadium opened in Detroit on the same day, with the Tigers beating the Cleveland Indians, 6-5. And on April 20, 1916, it was the first game in the history of Wrigley Field—the Chicago Cubs downing the Cincinnati Reds, 7-6.
(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.)