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On paper, the Michigan State margin makes sense

On paper, the Michigan State margin makes sense

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on June 13, 2012 at 7:33 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 4:43 PM

Wednesday, June 13, 2012.

The early odds out of the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas seem to have created more of a stir than usual this year.  It’s become a tradition for the casino, which has listed spreads for 111 of what it calls “games of the year.”  Boise State is a 6½-point underdog in the season opener at Michigan State August 31, which seems reasonable since the Broncos are replacing a bazillion starters and are in the house of a Big Ten favorite.  Just remember that the Spartans, like the Broncos, will have a first-time starter at quarterback—and MSU is rebuilding its receiving corps, which BSU is not.

It’s hard to cull much beyond that as it pertains to Boise State.  The only other Bronco game on the list is UNLV on the blue turf October 20 (including the Rebels must be a hometown courtesy by the Vegas people).  Boise State is favored by 35½ points in that one—one week after Nevada goes to UNLV as a 17-point favorite, according to the Golden Nugget.  BYU and Marshall are the only other non-BCS teams on the “games of the year” list.  The Cougars are 10-point underdogs at Notre Dame, also on October 20.

Former Boise State star Kellen Moore continues to get a lot of ink (and online screen time) for an undrafted free agent.  Anwar Richardson of goes through the arm strength issue, saying Detroit Lions coaches and players are not worried.  Moore completed passes “without a significant zip” during minicamp practice yesterday, according to Richardson.  But Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford came to Moore’s defense.  "I think he has plenty of arm,” said Stafford.  “He's not going to be Aaron Rodgers, ripping it 60, 75-yards downfield, but he's got plenty of arm to win.”  Stafford likes that “win” word.  "Obviously, he did it at the college level for a long time. He knows what he has to do to get his team in position to win, and it shows out on the field."

Detroit coach Jim Schwartz sees the things in Moore we noticed here right off the bat in 2008.  "He has grasped the offense very well," Schwartz said.  "He has command when he's out on the field.  He finds a way to get it done.  Once you get out on the field, you don't get any extra points for being 6-foot-4.  You get seven points for moving the ball and getting it in the end zone, and that's what he has done so far in (workouts).  He's really smart, doesn't get rattled, and takes good command of the huddle.”  Now it’s all about what Kellen can do when things are going full-speed in training camp.  “The real evaluation will start coming when you get to the preseason games, particularly with quarterbacks,” said Schwartz.

When Boise State fans envision Moore’s future in pro football, they hope it doesn’t go the same route as Colt Brennan, the former Hawaii quarterback who, like Moore, is the most beloved figure in program history.  Whatever happened to Brennan?  Well, the one-time Heisman Trophy finalist’s future is in doubt after his release Monday by Saskatchewan of the CFL.  It’s been a rugged road for Brennan since Hawaii’s undefeated regular season in 2007 that led to the Sugar Bowl.  He was drafted by the Redskins in the sixth round in 2008 and never got into a regular season game before being cut in 2010.  Brennan was signed and released by Oakland that summer.  His career was derailed even more when he suffered serious injuries in a car wreck in November, 2010.  And Brennan did not get back on track up north, so this might be it.

Kyle DeVan, who played for the Boise Burn in their third and final season in 2009 before joining the Indianapolis Colts and playing in the Super Bowl, isn’t going to coach at his alma mater after all.  At least not yet.  DeVan is giving the NFL another try, having signed last week as a free agent with the Tennessee Titans.  The 27-year-old offensive lineman was set to become a graduate assistant at Oregon State and was to begin coaching when the Beavers convene for fall camp.

The beginning of Hayden Simpson’s pro baseball career has borne a striking resemblance to that of another former Cubs first round draft pick.  Pitcher Mark Pawalek had two stints in Boise and never made it.  Now Simpson, Chicago’s top pick in 2010, will play for the Hawks to try to get kick-started.  He’s been assigned to Boise and will be in uniform for the season opener Friday night at Salem-Keizer. Simpson has been pitching for Daytona this season, where he had a 2-3 record and a 6.98 ERA in 14 appearances.  Coming out of Southern Arkansas as the No. 16 overall selection two years ago, Simpson’s delivery was compared to Tim Lincecum.  This year, that’s not a good omen.  But Simpson has faced obstacles Pawalek didn’t—Simpson did not pitch professionally in 2010 after suffering from a bad case of mononucleosis following the draft.

The 2012 Idaho Women’s Amateur tees off today at Falcon Crest for a three-day, 54-hole run.  Three past champions are in the field, led by six-time winner Karen Darrington of Boise.  Darrington won her first title in 1979 and her last in 1991.  The young guns include 2008 champion Cali Hipp of Caldwell, who just finished her sophomore year at Oregon, and 2009 winner Maddie Sheils of Boise, who just completed her career at Nebraska as an All-Big Ten selection.

This Day In Sports…June 13, 2002, 10 years ago today:

The Los Angeles Lakers complete a three-peat by defeating the New Jersey Nets, 113-107, to take another NBA championship in a sweep.  Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal, 10 years after playing his final collegiate game for LSU in the BSU Pavilion, averages over 36 points a game in the series against the Nets and is named MVP of the Finals for the third straight year.  It was only the seventh sweep in NBA Finals history.

(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.)