Wednesday, December 16, 2009.
If you check out the All-America team at SI.com, you’ll see the offense and defense pictured in columns side-by-side. At the top left is Boise State’s Kellen Moore, the first-team quarterback. At the top right is TCU’s Jerry Hughes, first-team defensive end. It looks like Hughes is looking at Moore. How perfect. But in a college football quarterback world dominated by Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow (and even Jimmy Clausen and Case Keenum), it’s amazing to see this. Just 16 months ago, Kellen was an unassuming redshirt freshman battling two older guys for a starting job in fall camp. Now he’s a first-team QB on some All-America units? Moore had previously been named first-team by CBSSports.com.
Idaho’s Mike Iupati is turning into a one-man publicity band for the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl December 30. Iupati was named first-team AP All-America, one of the five squads used to determine consensus All-Americans. He was also first-team at SI.com, with this simple and powerful summation: “The Outland finalist did not allow a sack and notched 49 knockdowns.” Iupati will get plenty of ESPN2 camera time when the Vandals take on Bowling Green at Bronco Stadium. Boise State’s Kyle Wilson was a second-team cornerback on the AP squad.
Dave Curtis of The Sporting News goes against the conventional grain in ranking the 34 bowl games this season. He has the BCS Championship Game at No. 5 and the Fiesta Bowl at No. 8 (“still wishing for TCU against Florida and Boise State vs. Iowa”). Curtis puts the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl between Nevada and SMU, which many rank among the also-rans, as No. 4. It’s June Jones’ run-and-shoot against Chris Ault’s pistol. “First team forcing a punt earns another week in paradise,” writes Curtis. Ault installed the pistol offense in 2005, so Jones prepared for it three times at Hawaii before moving on to Dallas. And Ault has plenty of experience against Jones’ run-and-shoot.
The “best of the decade” compilations are coming out, and the 2007 Fiesta Bowl is, not unexpectedly, very visible. One of the best lists is featured at ESPN.com, because it includes everything that’s happened the past 10 years, from college football games to Super Bowls to tennis matches to Olympic events to golf majors and beyond. And Boise State’s overtime victory over Oklahoma three years ago is No. 11 among “ESPN.com’s 25 best games (and/or events) of the decade.” As Pat Forde says, “When it was over, there was nothing left to do but stand up and scream. In the press box. That's a no-no. But really, who could maintain decorum at a time like that?” The winner was Syracuse’s 127-117 victory over UConn in six overtimes in the Big East Tournament last March.
Has a Pac-10 school ever modeled anything it does after Boise State? Things are bleak for Washington State football, but the Cougars are not giving up. Wazzu is in a major fundraising effort for proposed luxury suites and club seats, the third phase of a remodeling of Martin Stadium. They’d like to get the project underway in the spring and have it done in time for the 2011 season. If completed, it would give WSU 24 suites, 31 loge boxes, 1200 club seats and a new club lounge. And yes, the idea is based on the Steuckle Sky Center at Bronco Stadium.
It was four years ago today that Dan Hawkins’ departure from Boise State was official (see “This Day In Sports” below). Times are tumultuous for Hawkins at Colorado now, even after athletic director Mike Bohn elected to keep Hawk aboard despite four losing seasons. The Buffaloes had another recruit decommit last weekend—this time it was four-star running back Mister Jones of Littleton, CO, who has opted for Texas A&M. Hawkins also lost secondary coach Greg Brown to Arizona last weekend.
David Ramsey in the Colorado Springs Gazette says the Buffs need the original Hawk or there’s no hope. “When I met him in the spring of 2007, he talked with almost frightening enthusiasm,” writes Ramsey. “We were in a crowd, and everyone started staring as Hawkins shouted and waved his arms. He didn’t care. Hawkins kept shouting and waving. Talking about football ignited the pilot light of his soul. Last summer, a transformed Hawkins traveled to Colorado Springs to talk about his Buffs. Questions irritated him, and he talked softly. All the losses and the criticism had beaten him down. The charismatic believer of old must return to Boulder. And he must return soon.”
The Idaho Steelheads go into tonight’s home date with Utah having lost two of their last three games (one in a shootout). But the Steelheads are still 7-2-1 in the last 10 games and 19-5-2 overall to top the ECHL in winning percentage. The Steelies lead the West Division by 10 points over the second-place Grizzlies. As for the game, four weeks ago Idaho may have thought it was going to get a break from Utah scoring machine Ryan Kinasewich after he was called up to Hamilton of the AHL. But it was a short stint, and Kinasewich will be in uniform tonight in Qwest Arena. He has 17 goals on the season but only one in his last six games.
It’s been a marshmallow season so far in WAC men’s basketball, with weak schedules and weak performance. The only compelling game on the docket this week was New Mexico State at UCLA, and that happened last night—a 100-68 blowout by the heretofore struggling Bruins. There’s not a lot you can do to hype Boise State’s Saturday afternoon game against Houston Baptist in Taco Bell Arena. You’d be hard-pressed to find quality wins by WAC school in the non-conference season so far. The only two that might qualify are Idaho’s 94-87 victory over Utah in the Vandals’ opener and Utah State’s 71-61 triumph over BYU. That’s it.
Back to football: former Boise State star Chris Carr will have to be part of the plan if Baltimore is going to get off the bubble and into the NFL Playoffs. Carr appears to be peaking at the right time after a well-rounded game in last Sunday’s 48-3 win over Detroit. The fifth-year cornerback and special teams specialist had an interception for 13 yards (his second of the season), a tackle-for-loss, a pass deflection, a special teams tackle, and two punt returns for 31 yards. The Ravens need to win out to get in the postseason—and even then they don’t control their own destiny. But Baltimore’s final three opponents all have losing records, starting with the Bears at home Sunday.
This Day In Sports…December 16, 2005:
Dan Hawkins ends the best coaching run in the history of Boise State football when he is introduced as the new head coach at Colorado. Hawkins went 53-11 in five seasons at BSU with four straight WAC championships and bowl appearances and three Top 15 finishes. Offensive coordinator Chris Petersen was simultaneously announced as the Broncos’ new head coach. Ironically, it was that day BSU first practiced in Hawkins’ pet project, the Broncos’ new indoor practice facility.
(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 also handles color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football.)