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Not that many eyeballs, but enough for the Mountain West

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on June 2, 2010 at 7:30 AM


Wednesday, June 2, 2010.
Let’s take a brief break from the question no one has the answer to (Boise State to the Mountain West?) and talk about one of the sidebars. One of the ongoing issues with Boise State moving on to another conference is the TV households it delivers. Boise is the 112th largest television market in the country, but that’s less of a concern in the Mountain West, where you have Laramie, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, et al. Colorado State and Air Force may get credited to the Denver market, but neither has the national footprint that Boise State does currently. 
Take the 2010 Fiesta Bowl out of the equation and go apples-to-apples. Even if it’s Granny Smiths-to-Golden Delicious. BYU’s Las Vegas Bowl win over Oregon State last December drew a 2.2 rating, and Utah’s Poinsettia Bowl victory over Navy did a 2.4. But that latter number was down 25 percent from the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl involving Boise State. (Of course, the opponent was victorious TCU, a Mountain West school). Now put the Fiesta Bowl back into the equation and note that the 8.23 for the Broncos and Horned Frogs eclipsed the 7.80 for Utah’s 2009 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. 
Somebody’s weighing in on the Boise State-to-Mountain West issue in Edmonton, Alberta. It happens to be a guy very interested in the subject, former Bronco quarterback Jared Zabransky. The offensive MVP of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl is a proponent of the move to the Mountain West. "I think they’ve got to do that; I have been trying for years on my end to influence people to that way," said Zabransky after an Edmonton Eskimos workout last week. So maybe Boise State will have Z to thank if it gets the invite. 
As for life in the CFL, Zabransky sees this as a pivotal year, since he’s still No. 3 on the Esks’ depth chart behind Ricky Ray and Jason Maas. "This is year four of my professional career.  It's a big year for me.  I keep praying for the chance and I will keep praying." Zabransky’s now 26 and has still taken just one regular season snap as a professional—to open a game against Saskatchewan last September on a designed option play.
The pool of Oregon State quarterbacks has shrunk with the dismissal of Peter Lalich by coach Mike Riley last week. Lalich, a transfer from Virginia, was charged with a boating DUI at Lake Shasta in Northern California on May 7. Once a starter for the Cavaliers, he was also kicked off the UVA squad for alcohol-related offenses. The move further entrenches sophomore Ryan Katz as the Beavers’ starting QB this season. It also means Jack Lomax, brother of former Boise State quarterback Nick Lomax, becomes the No. 3 signal-caller and will likely be on OSU’s travel squad when it visits the blue turf September 25.
It didn’t take Idaho Stampede managing investor Bill Ilett long this time. Ilett is set to introduce the Stampede’s new head coach today at a Grove Hotel press conference. When Bob MacKinnon stepped down about four weeks ago, Ilett hinted that community involvement and engagement was very important to him. That was a commitment MacKinnon wasn’t able to make with his wife’s attractive job situation in North Carolina. Ilett tells the Statesman he’s going back to his “up-and-comers” formula with today’s hire, ala Larry Krystkowiak, Joe Wolf and Bryan Gates.
Boise State is sending another wrestler into international competition. For the second straight year, junior Jason Chamberlain won the FILA Junior World Team Trials at 66 kilograms (145.5 pounds) in Colorado Springs over Memorial Day weekend. That puts Chamberlain on the United States Junior World Team for the Junior World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, late next month. Chamberlain swept the University of Minnesota’s Danny Zilverberg in the best-of-three championship round at the trials.
Dontrelle Willis is going to get a legitimate second chance in the bigs after being designated for assignment last weekend by Detroit. The Tigers have worked out a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks—and the D’Backs won’t have to pay the majority of what remains on the former Boise Hawk’s $12 million contract this year. His numbers, 1-2 this season with a 4.98 ERA, will actually look pretty good in Arizona. The Diamondbacks, who have lost nine straight games, have the worst ERA in the majors at 5.89. The D-Train’s first start will be Saturday night in Phoenix against the Colorado Rockies. One thing he’s looking forward to is hitting again as he returns to the National League. Willis has always been strong with the bat.
This Day In Sports…June 2, 1925, 85 years ago today:
Yankee first baseman Wally Pipp has a headache. Lou Gehrig, a 21-year-old phenom, gets the nod to replace Pipp in the starting lineup and helps the Yanks beat the Washington Senators, 8-5. Gehrig, of course, would not miss another game until 1939—playing in 2,130 consecutive contests, an iron man streak that would stand until it was eclipsed by Cal Ripken Jr. in 1995.
(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.)