Tuesday, June 26, 2012.
The conference conundrum hits a crescendo this week as Boise State’s Mountain West/Big East crossroads approach. I think ESPN.com’s Andrea Adelson nails the big picture. She’s been covering the Broncos nationally for a long time. “I firmly believe the No. 1 goal remains to join the Big East in football,” writes Adelson. “Though there is no automatic qualifying status and the Big East won't be among the top revenue generating schools in the four-team playoff structure, Boise State still has more to gain on two fronts—money and access. The Big East may get beat up for its reputation and soft strength of schedule, but it is better than the Mountain West. The money should be better as well—but keep in mind no final determination has been made on how revenue will be distributed.”
As for Plan B, Adelson writes, “What are the chances Boise State stays in the Mountain West? I still think the chances are small, but they are not zilch. If a home cannot be found for its other sports, then Boise State has no choice but to stay put. But if it has the choice, Boise State would still want to move on to the Big East. My guess is that it may be worth the risk and the extra financial penalty to hang tight to see how the landscape shapes out and where its other sports teams land before formally withdrawing. The clock is ticking toward Saturday.”
Brian Murphy’s take on Idaho SportsTalk yesterday was a good one. Murphy’s inclined to think Boise State will go ahead and withdraw from the Mountain West by Saturday night’s deadline without knowing where its non-football sports will land. It’s the most fiscally prudent of the options, avoiding massive Mountain West penalties while waiting for everything else to shake out. Unless, that is, the Big West feels it has even more leverage with the Broncos’ non-football sports orphaned and tries to make life financially miserable for BSU. That’s the scary part for Boise State. If the Big West still says no, where in the world would those non-football sports go? The WAC has become a distasteful option, if it even exists. The Big Sky? Yikes. Uh, the Missouri Valley Conference? Wow.
By the end of the day, there may be some clarity on one issue that may influence Boise State. The BCS Presidential Oversight Committee will vote today in Washington, DC, on a playoff system. The new four-team, three-game playoff could be sold to television for as much as $500 million a year over 10 years, a source told the Sporting News. How that money might be distributed might have a bearing on the Broncos’ decision. By comparison, the 2011 BCS contract was worth $174 million.
The deck in this new playoff system is against mid-majors, which—for all practical purposes—Boise State and its Big East brethren will remain. But the latest plan leaked might still give the Broncos and their friends access. The structure would involve seven games, one of them new, serving as the national championship game. The playoff semifinals would be held at two major bowls that rotate annually, with four other bowls not involved in that year’s semis serving as de facto BCS bowls for teams that didn’t make the top four. You’d still have five major conferences tied to bowls depending on which ones were hosting the semifinals, but there might be enough room in that setup for the Big East to be treated favorably.
Watching video of the prelims and semifinals of the men’s 800-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Trials, you could kind of tell Nick Symmonds was sandbagging. The Bishop Kelly grad was on cruise control down the stretch, knowing he had done enough to secure a spot in the finals. Last night, Symmonds was as fast as he’s ever been, running a personal-best 1:43.92 with his renowned final-lap kick to smoke the field in Eugene and win his fifth national championship. More importantly, Symmonds will make a second trip to the Summer Olympics, as he’s headed for London next month.
Elsewhere, former Boise State All-American Jarred Rome qualified for the men’s discus finals with the third-best qualifying mark yesterday at 202 feet, 10 inches. One-time Idaho Vandal Mike Winger was second, and Post Falls’ Ian Waltz, the Washington State product, was fifth. Former Boise State swimmer Amber Boucher dolphin-kicked through the 100-meter butterfly in 1:01.87 yesterday at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha. That was good enough for second in her heat—but only 85th overall. Boucher has two events remaining, the 100-meter freestyle Friday and 50-meter freestyle Sunday. Today Bronco sophomore Heather Harper competes in the 100-meter breaststroke.
Boise Hawks left the friendly confines last night, and now they’re 1-5 on the road this season after a 4-1 loss at Spokane. The Indians broke open a 1-1 game with a two-run single by Ryan Rua in the sixth inning. Boise brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but three consecutive strikeouts ended it. Jose Arias, who was the Hawks’ Opening Night starter a week and a half ago, turned in another quality start, throwing the first five innings and yielding just one earned run on three hits. Arias’ record is still 0-0, but his ERA is now a sparkling 1.38. The Hawks and Indians play two more in Spokane before both teams come to Memorial Stadium Thursday night.
Former Boise Hawk Ricky Nolasco was in good position to beat the St. Louis Cardinals for the first time in his career last night. The Miami Marlins right-hander left the game in the seventh inning with a 2-1 lead, having scattered four hits. The Marlins would up the lead to 4-1, but a four-run ninth by the Cards sent the game to extra innings, where St. Louis won 8-7 in 10. Miami had to appreciate Nolasco’s outing nevertheless. He began the season 4-0 but had lost his last three starts to drop to 6-6 with a 5.16 ERA. Nolasco was coming off a disastrous outing against the Red Sox that saw him yield nine earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings. He was a key part of the Hawks rotation during their Northwest League championship season 10 years ago, going 7-2 with a 2.48 ERA.
This Day In Sports…June 26, 2003:
Wesley Moodie, the first Boise State tennis player ever to reach the main draw of Wimbledon, wins his second round match in four sets over Frederic Niemeyer of Canada. The 24-year-old South African had beaten Switzerland’s Marc Rosset in the first round—Moodie would finally be ousted in the round of 32 by 13th-seeded Sebastian Grosjean of France in four sets. Moodie’s specialty was doubles, though, and he would win the 2005 Wimbledon men’s doubles championship with playing partner Stephen Huss of Australia.
(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.)