Sunday, Nov 3 at 6:10 PM
Tuesday, June 14, 2011.
Catching up on national scribblings today. Sharon Katz at ESPN.com goes into detail on Heisman Trophy hopefuls and longshots, and divides quarterbacks into three groups. Katz says two pro-style signal-callers, Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Boise State’s Kellen Moore, go into 2011 as front-runners for the Heisman. Katz zeroes in on some underappreciated stats for Moore in what amounts to an eye-opener for NFL people. “In 2010, Moore completed 59 percent of his passes that traveled 15 yards or more in the air, with 21 touchdowns and two interceptions,” notes Katz. “When his distance increased to 30 yards, Moore’s completion percentage was 61 with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. (By comparison, Luck completed 39 percent of his passes thrown 30 or more yards, and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones completed 29 percent.)”
Katz also points out a stat that has to be appreciated: more than 85 percent of Moore’s 30-yard attempts last season targeted Titus Young. Hello, Geraldo Hiwat? Katz’s other quarterback categories with longer-shot Heisman contenders are “dual threat,” containing Jones and Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State, and “system quarterback,” featuring Hawaii’s Bryant Moniz and West Virginia’s Geno Smith. That’s what they called the Warriors’ Colt Brennan four years ago, and we know how that worked out in the NFL. (Brennan, by the way, has recovered from injuries suffered in an auto accident last November and will give football another go with the Hartford Colonials of the UFL. Hartford is coached by former Hawaii defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville.)
If you’ve been wondering about the point spread in the Boise State-Georgia season opener, you’ve got one now from the Golden Nugget. The Las Vegas oddsmaker released its first 2011 lines at 1 p.m. last Friday, showing the Broncos favored by six points in the Georgia Dome. But Bulldog fans, among others, quickly jumped on that number, and a little over 3½ hours later it was down to a point and a half. How about this one: Boise State favored by 13½ over TCU on the blue turf November 12.
It’s an interesting, if not agonizing, time for the WAC. The conference’s Board of Directors is meeting in Park City, UT, and today it’s expected the group will announce its planned membership roster for 2012. The five remaining WAC schools, Idaho, New Mexico State, Utah State, San Jose State, and Louisiana Tech, are crossing their fingers that some kind of expansion is planned. Texas-San Antonio and Texas State are already aboard as full (read that: football-playing) members beginning in 2012, and Denver comes on as a non-football member.
The WAC could easily add Seattle, or even Utah Valley or Cal State Bakersfield, as non-football entities. But what the league really, really needs is football schools, and the door has been closed at virtually every logical institution. Louisiana-Monroe, Lamar, Sam Houston State, North Texas, UC Davis, Cal Poly, Montana and Montana State have all said no with varying levels of firmness. And there’s always the chance that the WAC could lose Louisiana Tech to the Sun Belt at the drop of a hat.
After a year off from coaching, former Boise State coach Greg Graham has taken the No. 1 assistant’s position at Bradley under new coach Geno Ford. Graham, who was fired after the 2009-10 season when the Broncos’ attendance hit a 28-year low, will be counted on for offense by the Braves. He won’t have to fill seats, nor deal with media and booster engagements. Graham very well could flourish in Peoria. He was 142-112 in eight seasons at Boise State and led the Broncos to the 2008 WAC championship and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1994.
The Boise Hawks arrive late today, with a roster that’s a work in progress. Always is at the start, when draft choices are unsigned—some because they’re playing in the College World Series. Cubs first round pick Javier Baez is probably not going to play in Boise this summer. First-rounders right out of high school like Baez are usually sent to the Instructional League in Arizona. Of course, if Baez tears it up in Mesa, who knows? The 2011 Hawks season opens Friday night in Eugene, with the home opener at Memorial Stadium set for next Wednesday against Tri City.
The Idaho Steelheads’ parent club, the Dallas Stars, appears to be close to signing a former Steelies foe as head coach. Glen Gulutzan, coach of Dallas’ AHL affliliate, the Texas Stars, is expected to be hired by the end of the week. Gulutzan coached against the Steelheads with the Las Vegas Wranglers and played versus Idaho with the now-defunct Fresno Falcons. He then beat out former Steelies’ coach Derek Laxdal for the Texas job. ESPN.com surmises that Dallas is looking for “someone who had a history of teaching and getting the most of his players.” The Stars do not want to go the retread route.
There’s an official press announcement out now about the release later this summer of Joe O’Brien’s book, “Busted Bronco: From Addiction to Redemption.” O’Brien, the 1994 Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year for the Broncos, was released from federal prison almost five years ago. It’s been almost eight years since his shocking arrest on drug charges while he was the assistant head coach at Montana State. “I decided to write this book about my addiction and other personal struggles to help others learn from my mistakes. I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through. I especially want to share my story with young adults who might be dealing with substance abuse or other demons,” O’Brien writes in the book’s final chapter. “There’s help for everyone. But you’ve got to ask.” The book was co-written with Boise author Bob Evancho.
This Day In Sports…June 14, 2010:
Trumping conventional wisdom in what had been the wildest week and a half in college sports history, Texas announces it is not moving to the Pac-10 after all, and the Big 12 is saved. Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State immediately followed suit, allowing the Big 12 to continue with 10 teams after the loss of Colorado to the Pac-10 and Nebraska to the Big Ten. The downside for the Mountain West and newly-invited member Boise State was the resulting departure of Utah to the Pac-10, which would come two days later.
(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.)