Wednesday, November 6, 2013.
I don’t know if it’s the most credible, but it’s probably the most recognizable of the college football computer rankings. So, since major oddsmakers don’t establish point spreads when FBS teams play FCS schools, I went to the Sagarin list to check on Old Dominion and Idaho. I first noticed that Fresno State, ranked in the teens in the polls, was 50th on the Sagarin computer. And Northern Illinois is down at No. 46. So, naturally, I searched for some other schools. And what did I find? Boise State at No. 35 and Utah State at No. 36, the top two Mountain West schools in the ratings. Should the Broncos be fortunate enough to get to the Mountain West championship game in Fresno, it makes one curious as to what could happen. Oh by the way, Sagarin favors Old Dominion over the Vandals by a touchdown.
Boise State became bowl-eligible with its win over Colorado State last Saturday, but they don’t have a 16th straight winning season in the bag yet. The Broncos are 6-3, and they need a seventh victory to clinch the winning campaign. You may say, “But Boise State would play 14 games if it makes it to the Mountain West championship game. Therefore, don’t the Broncos need eight wins?” Well, if they lose two of these final three regular season games, there will be no berth in the title game—consequently no 14th game. So one more victory gives Boise State a winning season. Follow me?
Boise State and Fresno State are the only Mountain West teams already bowl-eligible. Utah State, with five wins, is sure to get there. After that, there are nerves galore. UNLV and San Jose State have won five games apiece. The Rebels still have Air Force to play, so their outlook is good. The Spartans will probably get there, too, but there isn’t a true gimme among their final four games. The four-win teams currently are San Diego State, Wyoming and Colorado State. The Aztecs’ schedule isn’t favorable, and the Cowboys’ slate is even less so. The Rams are 4-5 and need seven wins for bowl eligibility since they play 13 games. Their chances of winning three of their last four are slim.
Who’s going to be the first Mountain West football coach to go this season? This summer you may have thought UNLV’s Bobby Hauck, but the Rebels may have finally turned the corner. Now you have to look at Hawaii’s Norm Chow, whose Warriors are 0-8. During the postgame question-and-answer session after Hawaii’s 47-10 loss at Utah State last Saturday, the 67-year-old Chow said, "I'm too old for this. I'm way too old for this. I was having fun when I was an assistant. I don't know about all this stuff." The announcing crew for the game apparently mentioned Chow said something similar to them earlier in the week. Many Warrior fans think that type of honesty is brutal on recruiting, and rightfully so.
Chow responded after hearing of the hubbub, though. "I'm not going to quit ever," Chow told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Stephen Tsai. "I preached not quitting to these kids. You expect me to quit? Are you crazy?" Chow said it was a "tongue-in-cheek" remark directed at Deseret News columnist Brad Rock, who he’s known since his days as offensive coordinator at BYU and Utah. Rock told the Star-Advertiser he did not take Chow's comment seriously. Nevertheless, it’ll be interesting to see what happens if Hawaii goes 0-12. The Warriors have Navy, San Diego State, Wyoming and Army left on their schedule.
This happened last weekend, but I wanted to mention it. Chris Carr, one of the great NFL success stories out of Boise State, was released by New Orleans after appearing in five games for the Saints this season and making eight tackles with one interception. But this happened yesterday: Carr was re-signed by New Orleans. He has played 20 snaps on defense and 13 on special teams and broke up a pass in the end zone 10 days ago in a win at Buffalo. In his career, Carr has 221 tackles and seven interceptions in nine seasons since being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Oakland Raiders in 2005.
As if ECHL Rookie of the Month Tim Coffman wasn’t enough for the Idaho Steelheads to deal with this week, they get to face the league’s Goaltender of the Week as well. Alaska’s Laurent Broissoit earned the honor after going 2-0 with two shutouts last week, helping the Aces to a three-game sweep of Bakersfield and a 7-1 season record. Steelheads goalie Pat Nagle hopes to keep up. Nagle’s been a busy guy, recording at least 31 saves in each of his four starts. The rivalry between Alaska and Idaho, renewing tonight, goes back to the beginning of the Steelheads franchise in the old WCHL. Only two teams have been on the Steelheads schedule every season since 1997, the Bakersfield Condors (originally the Fog) and the Anchorage/Alaska Aces.
There’s plenty of good tape for Boise State to go over in advance of Friday night’s season hoops opener against Texas-Arlington in Taco Bell Arena. In their 80-52 exhibition win over Lewis-Clark State, the Broncos were strong on the boards, out-rebounding the smaller Warriors by 15. But Boise State shot just 44 percent from the field and had only nine assists on 29 made baskets. Thing is, the ball went where it needed to be when it needed to be there as the Broncos pulled away. “One of the best things about this team is that they can identify who’s got the hot hand and they go to them,” said coach Leon Rice.
The postgame quotes give you an idea of where Boise State’s concentration is in practice this week, despite holding Lewis-Clark State to less than half of its season scoring average. “We need to contest shots for the whole 40 minutes of the game,” said senior forward Ryan Watkins. Added Rice, “I told our team that defense is a grind. It’s possession by possession. You’re never going to shut anybody out and you’re not going to be perfect. But if you keep grinding it then you get better after every game. We have to get better before we play UT‐Arlington.”
The College of Idaho’s seven-game losing streak to Canyon County rival Northwest Nazarene is over. In Part I of the United Heritage Mayors’ Cup last night, the Coyotes rode their newly-minted offensive machine to a 93-83 win over the Crusaders at the J.A. Albertson Activities Center. Two Yotes topped 20 points: Demetrius Perkins with 23 and Taylor Pruett with 21. It was NNU’s first game of the season.
Catching up on former Boise Hawks showing up on the transaction wire: Eliot Soto, a shortstop for the Hawks three years ago, has been suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for an amphetamine. Soto hit .271 with 21 runs batted in for Boise in 2010. The Houston Astros have picked up southpaw reliever Darin Downs off waivers from the Detroit Tigers. Downs went 0-2 with a 4.84 ERA this season and was left off the Tigers’ postseason roster. He’s one of those rare players who played in three different seasons for the Hawks, compiling a 14-9 record from 2004-06. And Geovany Soto has been signed to a new one-year contract by the Texas Rangers.
This Day In Sports…November 6, 2010:
A record-breaking day as Boise State routs Hawaii, 42-7, ending the Warriors’ six-game winning streak before a sellout crowd in Bronco Stadium. Three of the Broncos’ most coveted all-time records fell, as Kellen Moore became the career leader in touchdown passes with 85 and Austin Pettis grabbed the career lead in receptions with 196. The team broke the third, amassing 737 yards in total offense for the game, with Moore throwing for a career-high 507 yards, third-most ever at Boise State. The Broncos also tied their record for longest winning streak with their 22nd victory in a row.
(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.)