Tuesday, August 12, 2014.
The Albertsons Stadium poster boys have been unveiled for the 2014 season. On the east side of the stadium facing Broadway, the huge banners will feature Matt Miller for "Discipline," Jay Ajayi for "Conviction," Donte Deayon for "Bleed Blue," and Corey Bell for "Toughness." Truth be told, Bell would qualify for any of the four categories. But it's interesting that two juniors, Ajayi and Deayon, made the cut in this year's foursome. Ajayi's arguably the program's best player, and this may be the last chance the Broncos have to use him on the banners. In Deayon's case, it demonstrates how much the staff thinks of his ability—and "Bleed Blue" speaks to his effect on the locker room.
There are three prongs to the drop in Boise State season ticket sales this year. First, you have the departure of Chris Petersen. That is what you call an extenuating circumstance, even with the tremendous job of outreach done by coach Bryan Harsin. Second, there's the 8-5 record last season, Boise State's worst in 15 years. Third, despite the attractive 2014 home schedule (all six opponents coming off bowl seasons), it's the most fan-unfriendly set of kickoff times in school history. The 7.4 percent reduction in sales reported by the Statesman could be worse. The current 20,250 number really isn't bad (and it's not final).
Okay, sports fans. I'll accept Petersen's explanation of his vote in ESPN's informal poll, asking if the Power 5 conferences should refrain from playing schools from the Group of Five, the non-power schools. I accept that the 65 coaches go through a meat-grinder when they're shuttled around on their annual trip to ESPN in Bristol. I accept his description of Boise State as a "power team." And I accept his declaration that he is "always a Boise State fan." The most telling quote was the terse "there's no question that we'd wanna play those guys and that they'd wanna play us." Maybe that Albertsons Stadium calendar won't change after all in September, 2015.
Some writers suggested after Saturday night's Detroit-Cleveland preseason opener that Kellen Moore could be challenging Dan Orlovsky for the Lions' No. 2 quarterback spot rather than merely fighting for a roster spot. In fact, an article posted yesterday by Chris Burke at SI.com wonders the same thing. Moore seriously outplayed Orlovsky in leading the Lions to a 13-12 win over the Browns, throwing the winning touchdown pass with 1:05 remaining and spoiling Johnny Manziel's introductory night in Cleveland.
"He just has that 'it,'" said Detroit starter Matthew Stafford. "He's got that 'it' factor," new Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi agreed. Burke made a big deal of Moore's 50-3 career record at Boise State offsetting his 6-foot height and lack of arm strength. "This is a Lions team that for years and years has been knocked because of its inability to secure a winner's mentality," wrote Burke. "If nothing else, Moore has that."
Up until now, Orlando Scandrick was generating training camp publicity for all the right reasons, being called by one Dallas beat writer the best player on the Cowboys defense. Now comes the wrong reason. The former Boise State star has been suspended for four games by the NFL for violating the league's drug policy. Scandrick told Fox Sports' Jay Glazer he "took something" in Mexico while on vacation and tested positive for it. Scandrick also told Glazer he takes full responsibility for the suspension. The seventh-year cornerback was expected to start opposite Brandon Carr in the Dallas secondary. That'll have to wait now.
The "firsts" just keep on comin' at the College of Idaho. The Coyotes' first fall camp since 1977 was launched yesterday, with 117 players on the roster. Yotes coach Mike Moroski had 55 players to work with in spring football and said at the time he expected to double that for fall camp. Voila. It's a different world now on the Caldwell campus, and C of I athletic director Marty Holly all but said that when he was with us on Idaho SportsTalk a couple weeks ago. "Football is big—I just never knew how big," Holly said. "Selling a sign last year at our home gym, where we were 17-0, that was hard. Selling a sign at our new football stadium, that was easy."
Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham professes to be surprised at his sudden firing last Friday. CSU president Tony Frank cited "substantial differences in our views" in terminating Graham, who had been the driving force behind a push for a new on-campus football stadium for The Rams. Frank says fundraising for the stadium project will "move forward as planned." Coloradan columnist Mike Blumhardt's response: "Read my lips. The stadium is mothballed." The dismissal of Graham didn't stop CSU from granting coach Jim McElwain a contract extension yesterday through at least 2018, upping his salary to a Mountain West-high $1.5 million per year.
What does Graham DeLaet do with his 15th-place finish Sunday in the PGA championship? He builds on it. It was by far the former Boise State star's best performance in one of golf's majors (he finished 83rd in the 2013 British Open). It could have been top 10 had DeLaet not three-putted the 17th and 18th holes. "I felt like my nerves were great," DeLaet said. "I just didn't really play all that well." According to the Toronto Sun, the Meridian resident is headed down to his second home in Phoenix to start practicing for his PGA Tour playoff run.
A three-run homer in the third inning by Danny Canela propelled the Boise Hawks to an 11-6 win over Eugene last night at Memorial Stadium. Canela's blast, his sixth of the year, was part of a five-run uprising that gave the Hawks a 5-1 advantage—the lead would stretch to 11-2 by the end of the sixth. Canela was 3-for-3 with four runs batted in on the night, while Calvin Graves added three RBI. Since the embarrassing 16-3 loss at Salem-Keizer, Boise has scored 28 runs in the first two games of a three-game set versus the Emeralds. The victory was the Hawks' 30th of the season.
A couple weekend wraps: Congrats to Vince Hordemann and his BAM Jam Boise crew on another successful hoops takeover of Downtown Boise. Team Stadia was the upset winner in the Men's Elite division. And Les Bois Park wrapped up its season Saturday with Nikeela Renae Black going wire-to-wire as the track's leading jockey. The top Quarter Horse trainer this season was Monty Arrossa, and the leading Thoroughbred trainer was Dru Hall.
This Day In Sports…August 12, 1994, 20 years ago today:
One of baseball's darkest hours, as players go on strike, ultimately wiping out the rest of the season and—for the first time—the World Series. The ordeal would last through spring training and into the 1995 season, 233 days in all. Many fans said they'd never come back. But, as they always do, most eventually did.
(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.)