Thursday, May 20, 2010.
Dr. John Keiser went through the ringer as Boise State president 20 years ago. He wanted the Broncos to move to Division I-A, and by 1991 he had secured an invitation to the Big West. Thing is, it was without the State Board of Education’s blessing. “I took it to the board, and they went berserk,” said Keiser yesterday on Idaho SportsTalk. He was then relieved of his duties. Keiser, not surprisingly, had a unique perspective on the Broncos’ prospects of getting an invite to the Mountain West. “It’s not whether Boise State is qualified. It’s what the affiliation with Boise State will do for the universities in the conference,” said Keiser. Or to them.
For example, Keiser says, Mountain West presidents will ask how Boise State’s presence affects the number of wins their schools can muster. “It is, in effect, power and prestige politics,” Keiser said. “If they think they don’t have a chance to compete, a lot of them will say no. They’re just covering their backs.” Also, they’ll be calculating whether BSU will mean enough of a revenue increase to boost each school’s take—when the conference’s pot is divided by 10 instead of nine. So that’s the backdrop Keiser paints. First, the Mountain West presidents have to bring it up for a vote at their meetings in Jackson Hole in a little over two weeks. Then…they have to vote. “Seven out of nine (required for approval) is a lot,” said Keiser. “I think it’ll be a very close vote.” Keiser would expect BSU to be invited. “But I wouldn’t bet my house on it.”
Bryan Harsin hasn’t given any indication that he’s bolting Boise State after this season. But there are lots of assumptions about that in the national media. Matt Hayes’ list of the top 10 offensive coordinators in the Sporting News has Harsin at No. 2 behind Auburn’s Gus Malzahn. Hayes calls it a “natural progression for Boise State offensive coordinators: Dan Hawkins replaced Dirk Koetter as head coach when Koetter left; Chris Petersen replaced Hawkins when Hawkins left. But Harsin, maybe the most talented of the bunch, likely won't continue the trend. Petersen isn't going anywhere, but Harsin—whose scoring offenses have been ranked first, 20th, fourth and second in the nation in his four seasons—will be a hot coaching candidate this winter.” For the record, Hawk was never actually the offensive coordinator. Whatever.
Slowly but surely, Legedu Naanee’s NFL star is rising. In ESPN.com’s rankings of the top receivers in the AFC West, the former Boise State standout is ranked No. 9. Bill Williamson writes, “Naanee is a good player. He’s a very nice No. 3 option and is very versatile.” Well, that was kind of a vanilla analysis, wasn’t it? Naanee, the fourth-year San Diego Charger, was a fifth-round NFL Draft choice. Oakland’s Darrius Heyward-Bey, a first-round pick who played for Maryland in the 2008 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl, is rated No. 13. “Heyward-Bey doesn’t have good hands at all,” says Williamson. “He was horrible during his first year and still didn’t fix his catching issues at last week’s minicamp. He has potential with great speed, but a receiver is nothing without reliable hands. He has a lot of work to do.” Not so vanilla.
A sometimes forgotten midseason move made by Idaho Steelheads coach Derek Laxdal came to the forefront during the 4-3 double-overtime win in Cincinnati Tuesday night. It was a victory that gave the Steelheads new life going into tonight’s Game 4 of the Kelly Cup Finals. On January 13, Laxdal sent defensemen Matt Sorteberg and Kyle Radke to Utah in exchange for defenseman Dustin Friesen, and they don’t win that crucial Game 3 without him. Friesen assisted on the Steelies’ first goal, and he scored the second one. Most tellingly, he was plus-3 on the plus-minus scale. While toiling on the defensive end, Friesen had just three goals and 15 assists in 30 regular season games. He has one goal and 11 assists in 13 playoff outings.
Goalie Richard Bachman was lights-out for the Steelheads during their first seven playoff games. Then came a three-goal first period Stockton explosion accompanied by an injury—and a callup to the Texas Stars. And the whole ball o’ wax was handed over to Rejean Beauchemin. He has faced more pressurized situations than Bachman as the competition has become more intense and desperate deeper into the playoffs. But Beauchemin has still managed to stop 92 percent of opposing shots on goal.
One of the first names to pop up two months in ago in Boise State’s basketball coaching search is being linked to the opening with the Atlanta Hawks. Portland Trail Blazers assistant Dean Demopolous will be interviewed by the Hawks, according to SI.com. He is Nate McMillan’s highly-respected lead assistant in Portland. John Canzano of the Oregonian wrote in mid-March that Demopoulos was “apparently on the (Broncos’) radar.” Demopoulos offered no comment to Canzano at the time, other than to say, "I think Boise State could do in basketball what they do in football.” That’s Leon Rice’s mantra, too.
Two runs on 15 hits? Never heard of such a thing. But that’s what College of Idaho pitchers were able to escape with yesterday in the Coyotes’ first elimination game of the day against Huntington University, a 4-2 win at the NAIA Baseball National Championships Opening Round. Unfortunately for the C of I, Vanguard University made the most of its 18 hits in the second elimination game, and the Yotes’ season is done after a 13-12 loss in 11 innings in Riverside, CA.
This Day In Sports…May 20, 1978:
In the Preakness at Pimlico, the second act of horse racing’s most fabled trilogy, Affirmed reprises his narrow Kentucky Derby victory, beating Alydar to the wire again. Three weeks later, Affirmed would beat Alydar one more time—this time by a nose at the Belmont Stakes—to become only the 11th Triple Crown winner since 1919. There have been none since.
(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’s also handled color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football the last five seasons.)