Wednesday, June 1, 2011.
If you like afternoon games, you’ve come to the right conference. The Mountain West has announced that the Boise State-Nevada game, a non-conference clash controlled by the league because it’s a Bronco home game, will kick off at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 1, to accommodate a VERSUS telecast. Unless somebody can recall something I can’t, this will be the earliest calendar day game in the history of Bronco Stadium, which opened in 1970. Boise State has played night games forever—in September because of temperature, and in October primarily because of hunting season. The last Saturday in October has normally ushered in daytime football. The Nevada game and the Air Force game October 22 would both have evening kickoffs under normal circumstances. But normal ended a long time ago for the Broncos.
Athlon Sports made it official yesterday, unveiling Boise State as its No. 5 team in its preseason countdown. What’s interesting is Athlon’s profile of the Bronco program. Here are the magazine’s Top 10 players in Boise State history, in reverse order: Quintin Mikell, Titus Young, Ian Johnson, Kyle Wilson, Jared Zabransky, Ryan Clady, Cedric Minter, Ryan Dinwiddie, Randy Trautman, and Kellen Moore. Hats off to Athlon for a nod to the Broncos’ past by including Minter, still the team’s career rushing leader, and Trautman, the only former Bronco in the College Football Hall of Fame. I would say Austin Pettis should be on the list—you decide in place of whom. If this list is repeated a year from now, what do you want to bet Doug Martin’s name will be on it? I’ll touch on another Athlon list tomorrow.
It’s been pointed out that a good chunk of the Ohio State tattoo-for-memorabilia story broke on December 22 last year and was a hot topic that night during the ESPN telecast of the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas between Boise State and Utah. It was noteworthy because one-time Buckeyes quarterback Kirk Herbstreit was handling the color with play-by-play man Brent Musburger and revealed that Terrelle Pryor, Daniel Herron, and DeVier Posey were all subjects of the tattoo parlor investigation. You could hear an “Oh, no” from Musburger when Pryor’s name was mentioned. How do you suppose Musburger reacted when he heard about Pryor’s shiny new car with dealer plates Monday night?
Incidentally, that December night was the beginning of the end for Herbstreit and his family as residents of Columbus. Ohio State fan venom came fast and furious after the Las Vegas bowl telecast as Herbstreit, who many considered “a Buckeye through-and-through,” continued to ask questions about Tressel. The backlash eventually spurred a family move to Nashville in March. Herbstreit deleted his Twitter account a month ago for the same reason.
Numbers crisis averted in the ECHL. Less than a month after the folding of the Victoria Salmon Kings, the league has a replacement in its Western Conference in the form of the Colorado Eagles of the Central Hockey League. The Eagles play in Loveland and are renowned the strongest franchise in the CHL, a circuit considered a half-step below the ECHL. Colorado has made the CHL Finals in five of their eight seasons of existence. Just as important is the fact the Eagles have sold out every game in their history in the 5,289-seat Budweiser Events Center. The 311 consecutive sellouts are the most ever in minor league hockey. The addition of Colorado puts the ECHL at 20 teams for the 2011-12 season, with the Chicago Express coming in as well.
This is a good time to check up on Lance Galbraith, the popular former Idaho Steelhead who migrated to the CHL. The Rooster, a catalyst for the Steelheads when they won their first Kelly Cup championship in 2004, played for the Wichita Thunder this season and scored 16 goals in 61 games. Galbraith’s penalty minutes weren’t what you would expect, because he was a magnet for those as a Steelie. He had only 113 PIMs, a career-low. Former Steelheads Kory Scoran and Travis Wight also played for Wichita this season. Scoran had the most consistent campaign, scoring 12 goals in 76 games.
The WAC made it official yesterday: Boise State has won the Commissioner’s Cup in its final year in the conference. The Broncos snagged the all-sports trophy by winning five WAC championships, including a regular season title in football (a three-way tie with Nevada and Hawaii) and postseason titles in men's cross country, women's swimming and diving, men's indoor track and field, and gymnastics. The Broncos accumulated 95.5 points, with Fresno State second at 89.5 and New Mexico State third at 82.5. It’s Boise State’s second straight Commissioner’s Cup and third in the last six years.
Not to forget Boise High grad Brian Scott’s Memorial Day weekend. Scott is now ranked ninth in NASCAR Nationwide Series points with three top 10 finishes, including his eighth place result last Saturday in the Top Gear 300 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 23-year-old great grandson of Joe Albertson is driving the No.11 Shore Lodge Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide. Scott was 14th in series points last season—he made the switch from the Camping World Truck Series in 2009.
This Day In Sports…June 1, 1979:
The Seattle Supersonics, led by Jack Sikma, Gus Williams, and Downtown Fred Brown off the bench, beat Washington, 97-93, to win the NBA Finals in five games. The Bullets were coached by Dick Motta, the pride of Fish Haven, Idaho, who guided Grace High School to the 1959 Idaho Class AA championship. It was the only NBA championship for Seattle, which watched the Sonics become the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008.
(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.)