BOISE, Idaho — (TOM SCOTT'S COLUMN WILL RETURN TUESDAY.)
Friday, May 31, 2019.
Consider this a win for Boise State. The Broncos are facing an FCS team this season for the first time since Tennessee-Martin in 2013. Portland State visits the blue turf on September 14, and I figured Boise State’s contract for home game rights with ESPN would put this one on ESPN3 at best, perhaps in the afternoon. But alas, the Broncos and Vikings will appear on ESPN2, which makes the 8:15 p.m. kickoff worth it (especially at that time of the year). Sure, attendance will take a hit. But what else is new? That leaves three home games without specified TV plans or start times—Hawaii, Wyoming and New Mexico. Those will revert back to the 12-days-ahead-of-the-game routine. One afternoon kickoff, please?
We also found out Thursday that the Mountain West championship game will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 7, wherever it is. If it’s back in Albertsons Stadium, that’s a major improvement over the last two years. Last December, of course, the title tilt kicked off in the rain at 5:50 p.m., and about an hour later it was snowing—and sticking. A repeat of that scene is at least slightly less likely with an afternoon kickoff. More start time news: BYU’s website says ESPN has announced that the Cougars’ home game against Boise State on October 19 will be broadcast nationally on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU. Three of those four would be fine. Elsewhere, it was revealed that Idaho’s season opener at Penn State on August 31 will kick off at 1:30 p.m. Mountain time on the Big Ten Network.
OVERCOMING CALAMITY WITH COMRADERIE
Boise State football has put together 21 straight winning seasons, the longest streak in the FBS. Florida State held that mark until going 5-7 last year, its first losing season since 1976. Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com posted a column on the “state of Florida football” the other day, and it hasn’t been pretty outside of Orlando. FSU is in the eye of the storm. How well coach Willie Taggart has pieced it back together in his second season will largely determine what happens between the Seminoles and Broncos three months from today in Jacksonville. "The biggest issue here hasn't been talent; it's the team chemistry,” said Taggart. “When you're together as a team you find ways to fight through things, and we weren't there. Think back to last year. You've got a new coach, things don't go the way it's supposed to and (it’s) human nature.”
KELLEN WILL BE IN THE THICK OF IT ON GAMEDAY
Kellen Moore was never detached as Boise State’s quarterback from 2008-11, constantly communicating on the field with offensive teammates from play to play. Moore figures the only way to replicate that as Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator is to call plays from the sidelines this season while quarterbacks coach Jon Kitna serves as his eyes in the booth. "I like the sideline, just being able to interact with the players and talk to Dak (Prescott),” Moore told Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “I think it will be perfect. It'll be good." Until then, Moore is busy installing his offense during the Cowboys OTAs. Not surprisingly, there have been lots of different formations and personnel groupings. And by all accounts, Kellen is way ahead of schedule.
THE SVELTE AND SPEEDY AVERY SEES HIS OLD MATES
Jeremy Avery is part of the star-studded lineup (it really is) at the 10th annual Gridiron Dreams Football Academy today and Saturday at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex. It’ll be good to have Avery back in town. Boise State has strung together 10 straight seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher, the longest run (pun intended) in the country. Most fervent Bronco fans can name Doug Martin, D.J. Harper, Jay Ajayi, Jeremy McNichols and Alexander Mattison as members of that club. The forgotten one is Avery, the smooth and versatile 5-9, 175-pounder who started the streak in 2009. He still holds the Boise State record for yards per carry in a single game—by 2.7 yards. Avery rushed for 190 yards on just 11 attempts, a 16.9-yard average, in a 51-34 win at Fresno State in 2009.
STURDY START FOR MERRITT AT THE MEMORIAL
Troy Merritt nearly had himself a SportsCenter highlight Thursday in the opening round of the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, OH. On the par-three eighth, the Meridian resident and former Boise State star lofted his tee shot to within three feet of the hole and knocked in his birdie putt. Merritt finished the day in a tie for 12th at three-under 69, four shots off the lead.
FRESNO STATE BASEBALL TO REGIONALS
Host duties for the Mountain West Baseball Tournament has been awarded to San Diego State next year. The four-team event will be the first-year goal of the revived Boise State baseball program, which begins play next February. Getting that far would be an accomplishment. Fresno State won the 2019 tournament last weekend for the first time to advance to the NCAA Stanford Regional, where it’ll face Big West champion UC Santa Barbara tonight. It’s the 21st-ranked Bulldogs’ first trip to the NCAA postseason since 2012. They won the national championship in 2008.
IF HE EVER WEARS A STEELHEADS SWEATER…
Tony Cameranesi could be a gamer of major proportions for the Idaho Steeheads, but there’s a couple of asterisks. The Steelheads have acquired the ECHL rights for Cameranesi next season—if he chooses to play for Idaho. He scored 24 goals with 29 assists in 55 games for the Manchester Monarchs last season but has signed to play in Europe this fall. The Steelies are in “you never know” mode, though. “Tony is an elite player with excellent offensive pedigree and pull away speed,” said coach Neil Graham. “We will own his ECHL rights for the 2019-20 season and would welcome him with open arms if he were to join us at any point throughout the season.” File Cameranesi’s name away.
This Day In Sports…May 31, 2000:
Diamond Sports announces the sale of its flagship franchise, the Boise Hawks, to the Horizon Broadcast Group of Bainbridge Island, Washington. Diamond had owned the team for all 13 years of its existence—the last 11 extremely successful ones under the ownership group headed by Bill Pereira and Peter Gray. The sale also included the Hawks ballpark, Memorial Stadium. The move would ultimately end the Hawks’ successful affiliation with the Los Angeles Angels.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)