Friday, May 21, 2010.
This has nothing to do with the Mountain West Conference, but everything to do with the future. Tony Barnhart in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes about comments by Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany that most people did not see. Delany did a Q&A with The Chronicle of Higher Education, and said, “Intercollegiate athletics is sort of unique in that institutions that have certain advantages—based on demographics or history or tradition or fan base—somehow are seen as the sources of resources for others that do not. There’s certainly a lot of gnashing of teeth, like why doesn’t the Rose Bowl spread its revenue around to Boise State?”
Barnhart asks that we read this Delany elaboration carefully: “Well, partially because we developed it. We built it, it’s our tradition and to the extent that it’s successful, it’s successful for our institutions. So that’s essentially a home-rule approach. I think it’s an honest approach. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with money, but life’s a lot easier when you have it than when you don’t.” Okay, I read it carefully. You have to give Delany credit for saying what is politically incorrect—that he feels the BCS schools have earned their money, and they shouldn’t have to share it with the little guys.
Two thoughts on that: 1) I really do understand Delany’s stance on the century-long equity most of the BCS schools have in football. You can read between the lines when he talks about the “institutions that have certain advantages.” When he talks about “demographics,” it relates to Boise State’s alumni base, which is small. The Broncos have only been playing four-year football since 1968. History and tradition? Boise State has been in Division I-A for just 14 years. Fan base? Boise is the nation’s 112th-largest television market, and Bronco Stadium seats only 33,500 fans. But…2) the Broncos are unique. What are you supposed to do with a team that went 112-17 in the decade just ended and won two BCS bowl games? Pretend it’s not there? San Jose State would have been a better example.
Everything appeared to be going the Idaho Steelheads’ way at the end of the second period last night. They were leading Cincinnati 2-1, looking like they were going to reclaim home ice advantage in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. But these are those resilient Cyclones we’re talking about, and they blasted back for a 3-2 victory, placing the Steelies squarely on the ropes. Two goals less than a minute apart early in the third period gave Cincy a three games-to-one lead, and Idaho faces elimination tonight.
All this after the Steelheads had finally gotten their power play knack back, scoring both their goals on the man-advantage. And they got the pressure game going on offense again after a day of rest, firing 29 shots on goal to the Cyclones’ 15. And the Steelies struck first, which looked to be a good omen, as they had gone into the game 6-0 when leading after the first period in the postseason. Now Idaho is left to desperately try to get this series back to Qwest Arena next week. Every contest in this series has been a one-goal game.
Par is proving to be elusive for the two Boise State products on the PGA Tour. Neither Graham DeLaet nor Troy Merritt could crack it yesterday in the opening round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, TX, as DeLaet came in at one-over 71 and Merritt at five-over 75. At last week’s Valero Texas Open, both rookies made quick exits—Merritt shot 74-76, while DeLaet struggled with back-to-back scores of 80-75.
This weekend is a big one for Davey Hamilton. It’s when the Nampa native finds out if he has a place in his 10th Indianapolis 500. Tomorrow is Pole Day, when they fill the first 24 positions in the field. Sunday is Bump Day, when the final nine spots are determined. Once they get to 33 cars, drivers who missed have an opportunity to bump. “If we can get a good, solid speed on Saturday and not get bumped, we can go to work,” said Hamilton earlier this week on Idaho SportsTalk. His prospects are improving all the time—Wednesday he ran 35 practice laps at the Brickyard and recorded the 14th-fastest time of the day at 224.460 miles per hour. Yesterday he was 17th-fastest, but his time was better, at 225.431 MPH.
Another major leaguer to catch up on: Jason Hammel, who pitched at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario from 2001-02. The 27-year-old righthander starts tonight as the Rockies open a three-game interleague series at Kansas City. Hammel is coming off his best performance of the season in a win over Washington last Sunday, allowing three runs over seven innings after coming off an 18-day stint on the disabled list. He needed it—his record is now 1-2 with a 7.71 ERA. One of Hammel’s 2009 starting assignments for the Rockies came during the National League Divisional Series last October. Last season was the best of his five-year major league career; he went 10-8 with a 4.33 ERA.
Is it the athletic directors’ answer to the Heisman Trophy? Sounds like it. Ohio State’s Gene Smith won the Athletic Director of the Year award from Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily last night in New York City. Boise State’s Gene Bleymaier was one of the other four finalists—and the only one from a non-BCS school. Bleymaier is in his 29th year as the Broncos’ AD, second only to DeLoss Dodds of Texas among FBS schools.
This Day In Sports…May 21, 1930, 80 years ago today:
After hitting three home runs in a game against the Philadelphia A’s, the Yankees’ Babe Ruth decides to bat right-handed in his final trip to the plate. The one-time-only experiment in switch-hitting fails, as the Babe is struck out by Jack Quinn. It was a missed opportunity—only 15 players have ever hit four homers in a game, and Babe Ruth is not one of them.
(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.)