Tuesday, May 8, 2012.
There’s something new every day in the conference chaos. Yesterday it was the mutual-agreement resignation of Big East commissioner John Marinatto. My first thought was probably shared by many: could Marinatto’s exit give Boise State an out? With the WAC on the brink and no other potential home for BSU’s non-football sports—not an apparent one, anyway—there’s an increasing groundswell asking why the Broncos couldn’t just stay in the Mountain West and call it good. Newspaper columnists in Reno and Honolulu suggest it may shake out that way. But they have a $10 million Big East penalty hanging over their heads. What are the options? There appears to be only one: Boise State offers up some sort of travel subsidy plan, a la Hawaii, and gets into the Big West for non-football sports after all.
Andrea Adelson, who has written extensively about Boise State as ESPN.com’s non-automatic qualifier blogger—and continues to now as she has moved to the Big East beat—has a different perspective. Adelson was on Idaho SportsTalk yesterday to talk about the status of the Broncos’ plans for the Big East. She said Marinatto’s departure has nothing to do with any second thoughts among conference presidents about Boise State. “Adding Boise was a no-brainer, because if football drives the engine, you have to have a football power,” said Adelson. “And Boise is a football power.” Actually, she says, “There is a fear now that Boise is going to change its mind if the WAC collapses.”
What kind of a signal was sent from ESPN when it picked up a conference game in the Mountain West and moved it back a week? Boise State at Nevada will be shown on the Worldwide Leader, if not ABC (Hawaii at Air Force made the ESPN cut, too). League games were off-limits to anyone except CBS College Sports, NBC College Sports and “The mtn.”—until the latter announced its folding effective the end of this month. ESPN was allowed to step in and scoop up a marquee game. Adelson said yesterday, “The TV money is going to be way better (in the Big East) than whatever the Mountain West is going to get.” But if ESPN seriously gets back in the Mountain West picture, maybe it won’t be that much better.
Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports.com asks the big question: “With the AQ and non-AQ labels gone in 2014, when the new BCS playoff format is determined, will the Big East still receive AQ type revenue or non-AQ revenue, or something in between?” TV dollars become the differentiator now. And do they outweigh the upheaval caused by sending the rest of the athletic program to an unwanted destination? Adelson is not in the camp that thinks it would be sad if the Bronco football team did end up in the Big East, though. She feels it would be sad if it didn’t, saying Boise State deserves to play at a higher level. “I can tell you there’s nothing that I post on the Big East blog that comes close to the Facebook shares that I get on a Boise State story,” Adelson said.
We almost forgot about “watch lists.” But the season is on, as college football awards organizations release their initial rosters of candidates. And here comes J.C. Percy, the classic Boise State walk-on out of Blackfoot. Percy has been named to the watch list for the 2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is named after Ronnie Lott and honors the top collegiate defensive player in the country. Percy, who worked his way from special teams standout to scholarship spot-starter, is the Broncos’ top returning tackler—he had 48 last season. The senior linebacker has appeared in all 40 of Boise State’s games since his redshirt freshman year in 2009. Percy is one of 42 players on the list, and one of only two from the Mountain West.
When Boise State opens the season at Michigan State August 31, it looks like the Spartans will have a student assistant coach named Andre Rison. Yes, that Andre Rison. The one who starred as a wide receiver at MSU in the late 1980’s before embarking on a five-time Pro Bowl career in the NFL. Rison was 30 credits short of a degree when he left Michigan State after the 1988 season. Now, at the age of 45, Rison is going back to school at MSU, and the Flint Journal reports he’s going to be a student assistant with the Spartans.
Norm Chow’s approach to his quarterback situation at Hawaii is very different than that of his colleague at Boise State, Chris Petersen. At the end of spring ball, the Warriors had not named a No. 1 quarterback to replace Bryant Moniz. “That’s not a real good situation to be in,” said Chow in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “I don’t like doing that.” Petersen, on the other hand, is happy to wait for his answer with the Broncos. Chow’s current choices include David Graves, who started two games last year, and Jeremy Higgins, a transfer from Utah State who redshirted last season. A third quarterback, Cayman Shutter, had been in the middle of the battle this spring until he was suspended indefinitely after a DUI arrest.
The Belmont Stakes is the longest of the three Triple Crown races, which would suit Idaho’s Rousing Sermon just fine. Tree Top Ranches horse manager Dan Kiser told the Statesman yesterday it’s not out of the question that Rousing Sermon would run in the Belmont June 2. The Parma-raised three-year-old had a strong close in finishing eighth at the Kentucky Derby Saturday and could have perhaps contended in a longer race. Rousing Sermon, back at Hollywood Park now, needs some rest according to Kiser and will not run the Preakness Stakes May 19.
Our former Boise Hawk of the Day is Tony Campana, who has had an impact on the Chicago Cubs since being called up from Triple-A April 21. Perhaps no larger impact than Sunday, when he doubled in the tying run in the bottom of the ninth against the Dodgers in a game the Cubbies won in 11 innings, 4-3. Campana went 2-for-4 in that game and again last night in a 5-1 win over the Braves and has upped his average to .341. The 25-year-old outfielder’s speed is just as big an asset as his bat, though. Campana has seven stolen bases and drew seven pickoff throws from a Cardinals pitcher during one at-bat in his fourth game back in the bigs.
This Day In Sports…May 8, 2011:
Phil Jackson’s 20-year coaching career ends on an ignominious note, as the L.A. Lakers are pummeled 122-86 by the Dallas Mavericks to complete a sweep in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. The ending couldn’t diminish Jackson’s body of work, though. He was arguably the best coach in NBA history, winning 11 NBA championships with the Lakers and Chicago Bulls while partnering with superstars like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Jackson posted 1,640 regular season victories with a winning percentage of .704.
(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.)