Tuesday, July 6, 2010.
It’s exactly two months now until the ultra-hyped Boise State season opener in Washington, D.C. against Virginia Tech on Labor Day. And it’s precisely one month until the Broncos’ fall camp commences. How about this for a countdown, though. Frank Beamer to retirement. The Hokies coach turns 64 in October—so does he have six years left? Or fewer perhaps? Va Tech is the popular pick for the Orange Bowl, but Beamer’s eye is on the biggest prize. That’s why the game against Boise State is monstrous. Beamer may never have a better opportunity to get back to the national title game as he fields perhaps his best offense ever, with quarterback Tyrod Taylor and thousand-yard rushers Ryan Williams and Darren Evans. If the Hokies beat the Broncos, it’s Virginia Tech who will be seen as a national championship contender if it can run the table.
Speaking of countdowns, ESPN.com’s bloggers have been counting down their top 25 players in each BCS conference, with the five non-BCS leagues rolled into one (wouldn’t you know it). Graham Watson unveiled her No. 1 “non-AQ” player Saturday, and it was Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore. “Making the case for Moore,” according to Watson: “You can’t say enough positive things about Moore and his play during his two seasons as starter for the Broncos. It’s not his stats that make him so impressive, it’s his ability to control a game and not make mistakes. Moore is 26-1 during his time as the Broncos starter and is the reason why Boise State is expected to open the season ranked in the top three nationally and potentially challenge for a national championship.”
Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle is on the watch list for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, honoring the best senior quarterback in the country. Enderle had a breakout year as a junior, throwing for 2,906 yards and 22 touchdowns against nine interceptions. He had 30 TD passes and 35 picks his first two seasons. Other WAC seniors on the Golden Arm list are Fresno State’s Ryan Colburn and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick. And other notables include TCU’s Andy Dalton and Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor.
The Boise Hawks have been unceremoniously dropped back to .500 after dropping the first two games of their three-game set in Spokane. Last night the Hawks were a little heavy in men left on base (10) and heavy on the walks (six) in an 8-3 loss to the Indians. Nevertheless, the Pierre LePage watch continues. The hot-hitting second baseman broke new ground last night, hitting his first professional home run. That’s saying something coming from a 5-foot-8 body. LePage is now batting .364 with 10 RBIs in nine games for Boise since signing with the Cubs. The Hawks and Indians wrap up their series tonight.
Could it really be over for Dontrelle Willis at the age of 28? You know the former Boise Hawk is going to be considered washed up after having been designated for assignment on the 4th of July by Arizona. Willis had been acquired in a trade with Detroit on June 1 after the Tigers had similarly designated the D-Train for assignment. But then the D-Train similarly had trouble finding the plate for the D-Backs. The preponderance of bases on balls has been a mystery ever since Willis was traded to Detroit in 2008. He pitched six games for Arizona, starting five of them, and he walked 27 batters in 22 1/3 innings. Will Willis get a third chance with another big league team? About the only thing he has left going for him is that he’s lefthanded.
Catchup from the long holiday weekend: Friday was a key day for the Idaho Steelheads, but it’ll take awhile to know what to make of it. The Steelheads made qualifying offers for the 2010-11 season to Mark Derlago, Mark McCutcheon, Evan Barlow, John Swanson, Ashton Rome, Tyler Spurgeon, Dustin Friesen, and Steve Oleksy. That means if they play in the ECHL next season, the Steelheads hold their rights. But it doesn’t mean the eight players can’t, for example, test the waters overseas.
Every stroke counts on the PGA Tour, and don’t Troy Merritt and Graham DeLaet know it. The former Boise State golfers made the cut Friday at the AT&T National in Newton Square, PA. But it was a long Saturday for both, as Merritt was buried by a four-over-74 and DeLaet by a 73. Merritt was saddled with another 74 Sunday, while DeLaet got back to par with a 70. The difference? DeLaet walked away with $31,387.50, Merritt with $12,586.00. On both counts, though, it’s better than a goose egg.
Rafael Nadal made such quick work of Tomas Berdych in Sunday’s Wimbledon final that NBC had a lot of time to fill afterward. But instead of showing the mixed doubles final that involved former Boise State star Wesley Moodie, the network opted for a tribute to the 30th anniversary of the classic 1980 Bjorn Borg-John McEnroe title match. That was actually a great piece, with Borg and McEnroe together, reliving the dramatic match-deciding tiebreaker. While that was going on, Moodie and Lisa Raymond of the U.S. were on Centre Court, going for the championship against Leander Paes of India and Cara Black of Zimbabwe. And it was Paes and Black winning it, 6-4, 7-6.
This Day In Sports…July 6, 2008:
Roger Federer’s five-year run of Wimbledon men’s singles championships comes to an end in a remarkable five-set marathon against Rafael Nadal on Centre Court. Nadal took the first two sets. Then, working around a long rain delay, Federer fought back to take the next two in tiebreakers. The elapsed time of the final was four hours and 48 minutes, and ended at 9:16PM Wimbledon time when Nadal survived the final set, 9-7, after another rain delay. It was the final Wimbledon before the addition of the retractable roof.
(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.)