Wednesday, August 13, 2014.
USA Today's college football countdown doesn't just offer one-paragraph capsules of each team. These things are lengthy dissertations, and the Boise State Broncos got theirs yesterday when they were tabbed as No. 25 by the newspaper's Paul Myerberg. Why does USA Today believe the Broncos are a ranked team when others disagree? "The most positive idea stems from a simple theory: (Grant) Hedrick is only going to be better as a senior. I'll buy that idea and double down, saying Hedrick won't just be improved but be one of the best quarterbacks in the Mountain West."
And listen to this from Myerberg: "On paper, this looks very much like the Mountain West's best defense. Not that there aren't issues: Boise is retooling up front, for instance, and the pass rush will be viewed with a bit of skepticism until proven otherwise—but we'll have some idea as to the answer by the start of September, I suppose. What's funny about the group as a whole is that while undergoing the biggest personnel shift of any unit on the defense—three starters lost up front—the line is as experienced a group as you'll find in the Mountain West, with at least two options at each starting spot. Boise just needs to find answers on third down. There are better individual linemen in the Mountain West; no team has as much depth."
The profile contains a revealing quote from coach Bryan Harsin. "When (former offensive coordinator Brent) Pease left, things started to change here offensively away from some of the things that we had done in the past," Harsin told USA Today after spring drills. "So I think coming back, you start to look at some things that were staples for us that weren't done anymore, and you go, 'We've got to get back to doing some of that.'" Meanwhile, Myerberg's "Arbitrary Top Five List" for Boise State is enough to make any Bronco fan grin. It's "Kellen Moore's Worst Losses." No. 1 is Nevada in 2010, followed by TCU in 2011 and the Horned Frogs again in 2008. Next to No. 4 and No. 5: "Not applicable."
If you googled "Thomas Boeh" late yesterday afternoon, you'd see "Thomas Boeh named an AD of the Year by NACDA," followed by "Thomas Boeh out as Fresno State athletic director." The first headline was from three months back, and the second was 19 minutes old. We don't know if it was an actual firing, but Boeh has been "reassigned" to a new position within the university. Boeh had been the Bulldogs' AD since 2005, and Fresno State had some tumultuous years early in his tenure. But the program appears to have come back, mainly through a resurgence in football and its two straight Mountain West championships. Finances and fundraising have been a problem, though.
Dallas cornerback Orlando Scandrick is doing damage-control after reports revealed that the drug he tested positive for was MDMA, commonly known as "Molly." The former Boise State standout, who has been slapped with a four-game suspension by the NFL, is said to have consumed the drug during a vacation to Mexico with his ex-girlfriend. Scandrick tested positive for the substance in April. The story has been a fixture on sports networks the past two days, and yesterday he issued a lengthy apology to everyone from the Jones family to Cowboy Nation to his own family. Scandrick was set to make $4.5 million this year, so with a quarter of the regular season wiped out, he stands to lose a million bucks.
With Dezmon Epps gone from the Idaho program, Deon Watson is putting his hat in the ring to take over the feature wide receiver's spot, and he's the favorite at this point. The sophomore from Coeur d'Alene snagged six catches for 86 yards in the Vandals' first fall camp scrimmage last Saturday. The big play guy, though, was another sophomore, Jacob Sannon. The 5-11, 185-pounder from Bradenton, FL, covered 108 yards on just four catches and scored two touchdowns. Sannon had five receptions for 84 yards as a true freshman last season.
Former Idaho standout JoJo Dixon is fighting for a roster spot with the Arizona Cardinals, and he knows how to get noticed. Dixon tackled Houston rookie quarterback Tom Savage for a safety last Saturday with a minute and a half left in the Cards' 32-0 rout of the Texans. Dixon made it to the final cut with Cleveland in 2012 and with the Jets a year ago—then was picked up by the Cardinals last winter. Also in Arizona, former Boise State star Nate Potter missed Cardinals practice the last two days due to a back problem and is day-to-day going into Saturday's game at Minnesota.
Boise State's Ty Travis missed the cut yesterday at the U.S. Amateur in Johns Creek, GA, after carding a two-over 73. The senior from Eagle had a shot at moving on to match play on the Atlant Athletic Club course until a devastating four-hole stretch on the back nine that saw him collect three bogeys and a double-bogey. Travis had earlier eagled the par-5, 576-yard fifth hole.
The Boise Hawks were one out away from a sweep of Eugene last night when a Trey Santos double tied the game for the Emeralds at 8-8. But lo and behold, the Hawks got it done in the 10th when Charcer Burks singled in Bryant Flete in the bottom of the 10th for a 9-8 victory. The annual Western Idaho Fair road trip begins tonight as Boise faces Hillsboro in the first of a three-game series. The Hawks will play 11 games in 12 days and won't be back in Memorial Stadium until August 25. One note on a former Hawk: Josh Donaldson continues on his 2014 power tear. Donaldson is hitting only .255, but he went 3-for-4 last night and hit his 24th and 25th home runs of the season in Oakland's 11-3 rout of Kansas City. With four more runs batted in, Donaldson now has 84 RBI for the season.
The Idaho Steelheads are going to have an uncommon number of returnees for the 2014-15 season. The Steelheads have announced last season's team MVP, Brett Robinson, will join a growing nucleus of familiar faces in CenturyLink Arena this fall. This will be Robinson's third campaign with the Steelies, who last season won at a 63-percent clip with him in the lineup and posted a .500 record without him. Robinson scored 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists) in 47 games last season for Idaho with a team-best plus-19 rating.
This Day In Sports…August 13, 2013:
Bishop Kelly graduate Nick Symmonds turns in the top American men's 800-meter performance in international championship competition in 41 years when he wins the silver medal at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia. Symmonds, a five-time national champion in the 800, claimed the highest spot on the podium in the event for the U.S. since Dave Wottle's gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.
(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.)