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Pandora’s box in an eight-team playoff

Pandora’s box in an eight-team playoff

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on July 12, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 4:43 PM

Thursday, July 12, 2012.

Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson’s prediction this week that we’ll see an eight-team college football playoff sooner than we think pushes me down the “be careful what you wish for” road.  Would 16 teams be far behind?  Some might say, “Hey, that would be great—just like the Division I-AA playoffs used to be.”  Even with eight teams there’d be problems.  It goes beyond taking student-athletes out of the classroom more, or the poor team that finishes No. 9, or even the burden of fans having to make as many as three big road trips in December and/or January.  A team that qualified for an eight-team playoff that also participated in a conference championship game would play 16 games.  Even with the better depth you find at the top of the FBS, that kind of wear and tear is going to take its toll.  There will be teams that are scotch-taped together.

I distinctly remember the 1994 Division I-AA Playoffs—as much for their spills as their thrills.  It was Pokey Allen’s Boise State team that he said “has got a little magic,” but it also had very little gas left in the tank by December 17.  The I-AA championship tilt, a 28-14 loss to Youngstown State, was the Broncos’ 15th game of the season, and they were banged up.  Quarterback Tony Hilde was sore from head to toe, and running back K.C. Adams was a shell of the player who wowed fans all fall on the way to a Big Sky title.  I can’t say Jim Tressel’s Penguins weren’t in similar shape, but it would have been nice to see Boise State go to Huntington, WV, at its peak.

This week’s announcement that the Boise State-Washington game next year will move to the opening weekend of the season has elicited some interesting reactions from UW fans, says Seattle Times columnist Bob Condotta.  Some Huskies faithful were wishing for a more marquee opponent for the christening of the new Husky Stadium (with Condotta dutifully pointing out the Broncos’ record under Chris Petersen).  Others thought playing Boise State on such an historic day is too risky.  So Condotta conducted a readers poll.  “Wish they’d found a bigger-name team:” 10 percent.  “A risky way to debut the new Husky Stadium:” 12 percent.  “Like it just fine:” 78 percent.

Quaylon Ewing-Burton has gone from Boise State castoff in January to NFL Supplemental Draft prospect today.  That doesn’t mean he’ll be selected—and he probably won’t.  Ewing-Burton was a symbol of the Broncos’ injury woes in the secondary last year, having to replace Jerrell Gavins against Nevada in the fourth game.  Things went fine for a while—until TCU came to town and Casey Pachall picked on Ewing-Burton.  The clincher was the Horned Frogs’ winning two-point conversion, a Pachall pass which Ewing-Burton tried to pick instead of bat down.  But the big picture was maturity concerns, with the Broncos dismissing him for not living up to the program's standards.”  Ewing-Burton first planned to transfer to Sam Houston State, but has elected to make himself available for the supplemental draft.

The University of Hawaii athletic department has egg on its face.  Man, is this embarrassing.  I wrote Monday about the Warriors partnering in a Stevie Wonder concert next month to raise funds for their financially-strapped athletic department.  Well, it seems nobody cleared that with Mr. Wonder, and the event has been cancelled.  AD Jim Donovan has been put on indefinite leave.  Honolulu Star-Advertiser columnist Ferd Lewis thinks Donovan could lose his job over it.  UH had already sold 6,000 tickets for the concert in the 11,000-seat Stan Sheriff Center.

Boise State commit Joey Martarano of Fruitland will have plenty of opportunities to test the baseball waters before he has to make a football decision once and for all next February.  One of them will come in early August at the Area Code Games in Long Beach, a tournament chock full of elite baseball prospects invited via nominations by major league scouts.  Martarano is one of the top high school prospects in the country and will play for the Kansas City Royals entry in the event.  He led the Grizzlies to the Idaho 3A championship in May.  Martarano will be joined at the Area Code Games by Rocky Mountain High’s Mason Smith and Lake City’s Mitch Bevacqua.

The Boise Hawks seemed rested and rejuvenated last night as they returned to Memorial Stadium with a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canadians.  Since Opening Night, Jose Arias has been the Hawks’ most reliable starter.  Sometimes he’s ended up with hard-luck no-decisions due to Boise slip-ups after he’s left games.  But last night Arias got the victory, going five innings and allowing one run on six hits.  He improved to 2-0 with a 2.83 ERA.  Offensively, Rock Shoulders homered for the second straight game, and Trey Martin provided the ultimate winning tallies with a two-run homer, his first of the season.  The Hawks had gone into the series opener against Vancouver with losses in seven of their previous nine games.

Coby Karl has not given up on the NBA.  The former Boise standout is on the Minnesota Timberwolves’ summer league roster as sessions get underway in Orlando and Las Vegas.  The T-Wolves will participate in the Vegas circuit beginning tomorrow.  Karl most recently played for Olimpia Milano in Italy.  He has played in 24 NBA games in his career, 17 of them with the L.A. Lakers in 2007-08 but hasn’t been on an NBA roster the past two seasons.  Karl played 46 career games in two seasons for the Idaho Stampede, most recently in 2010, averaging 19 points a game.

The 26th annual Exergy Twilight Criterium rolls through Downtown Boise Saturday night.  Naturally, the Team Exergy women’s squad will be riding—sans Kristin Armstrong.  The 2008 Olympic gold medalist, gearing up for the Summer Games in London late this month, will be there rooting her teammates on, though.  Also, the 2012 Idaho Men’s Amateur tees off tomorrow at SpurWing Country Club.  And hey—temperatures are supposed to stay below 100.

This Day In Sports…July 12, 1979:

It’s “Disco Demolition Night” at Chicago’s Comiskey Park.  Fans got in for 98 cents if they brought a disco record to burn between games of a doubleheader between the White Sox and Detroit.  When fans refused to leave the field after the bonfire, the White Sox had to forfeit the second game of the twin bill to the Tigers.

(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.)