BOISE, Idaho — Wednesday, May 27, 2020.
It seems inevitable that the Mountain West will expand its conference season from 18 to 20 games in men’s and women’s basketball. The benefit: as scheduling promises to be a lot more difficult for most MW teams moving forward, this will take care of two more of the dates that drive some coaching staffs crazy. The drawback: the league’s upper-echelon teams will have fewer opportunities to arrange non-conference games attractive enough to build a resume fit for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. Boise State is somewhere in between. The Broncos rarely attract those elite opponents to ExtraMile Arena. But they do attempt to schedule those teams on the road and at neutral sites. San Diego State is the program most upset at this development. The Aztecs often go for the gusto.
Right now, the Mountain West plays an unbalanced schedule, with each team skipping one home opponent and one road opponent each season. Boise State played Fresno State only on the road and Colorado State only at home this past season. The new setup will provide for a double round-robin format, but it wouldn’t begin until 2022-23. The conference apparently wants to wait until the two-year Mountain West-Atlantic 10 Challenge series contract expires. The league’s presidents are scheduled to vote on the athletic directors’ recommendation in early June, and it’s expected to fly through.
EVERYTHING’S IN PENCIL
I’ve seen this question on social media more than once: “Can anyone tell me when kickoff is for the Florida State game on September 19?” Boise State will just be happy to see it played—in September on whenever. Kickoff time is not an issue right now. Magnifying that was a joint statement Monday on behalf of the FBS conferences, along with CBS Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports and their affiliated networks: “Collectively, the conferences and television networks have agreed to an extension for determining college football’s early season game times beyond the standard June 1 deadline. These kickoff times and network designations will be announced at a later date as we all continue to prepare for the college football season.” It’s maddening, but that’s just the way it is.
MOUNTAIN WEST STADIUM BLOTTER: SAN DIEGO
Did San Diego State get the city of San Diego’s attention? The City Council has called a special meeting this Friday to consider the school’s purchase agreement for the Mission Valley stadium site. SDSU president Adela de la Torre said the university “looks forward to the Council’s consideration of this agreement and to make this project a reality.” Athletic Director John David Wicker had threatened last week to explore sites throughout Southern California for Aztecs football in 2021 if the purchase agreement is not completed. That came after the Council had removed the item from last Tuesday’s agenda. The project includes a 35,000-seat stadium and massive adjacent development. San Diego State still hopes the deal can close by the end of July.
Hawaii has been under a lockdown like few other states, closing down tourism and seeing an unemployment rate of 22 percent. But that hasn’t caused the cash-strapped state to hit the pause button on plans for a new Aloha Stadium. “Request for qualifications” were due Tuesday from firms seeking to bid on the project, and they don’t think they’ll have any problem selecting three finalists for the June 8 RFP. As it stands now, the stadium project will cost at least $350 million.
The new facility is scheduled to debut with the Hawaii’s 2023 home opener against Albany. Boise State is slated to play at the rusty old Aloha Stadium this season—the Broncos’ next trip to the Islands wouldn’t be until 2024.
Trying to clear the confusion on UNLV’s arrangement with the Las Vegas Raiders to play games in the new Allegiant Stadium. It’s been testy, but now all but one of the Rebels’ home games will be played in the Raiders’ shiny new jewel.
The only exception is the September 5 matchup versus Louisiana Tech. The one date still in doubt had been UNLV’s October 24 contest with Colorado State. The Raiders had stipulated that the CSU game must be moved to Friday, October 23, to allow for prep for a Sunday Night Football date against Tampa Bay. The Rebels said, well, okay. Part of the deal was that the UNLV-Arizona State game on September 12 would remain at Allegiant and not be moved back to Sam Boyd Stadium.
THE KIWI STAR HANGS IT UP
Boise State was pretty excited when it landed commitments from two 2016 Olympic gymnasts, Courtney McGregor of New Zealand and Isabel Amado of Panama. Amado’s college career is over, and McGregor says hers is, too, despite the opportunity to use an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic. The COVID-19 shutdown gave McGregor a double-whammy, as her senior season actually ended in January when she ruptured her Achilles tendon. “Ultimately, there is too much uncertainty in the year ahead,” McGregor said in a Twitter statement Tuesday. “One messy, frustrating senior year was bearable, but the idea of two in a row is not extremely appealing!” McGregor was the 2019 Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference all-around champion and was a three-time first-team all-conference pick.
THIS DAY IN SPORTS…May 27, 1968:
The National League announces the addition of Montreal and San Diego, to begin play in 1969 as the Expos and the Padres. The Kansas City Royals and short-lived Seattle Pilots would join the American League at the same time, spurring the formation of East and West Divisions in each league for the first time. The Expos were Major League Baseball’s first franchise in Canada and played 36 seasons there before moving to Washington in 2005 and becoming the Nationals. The Pilots lasted just one year in Seattle before becoming the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970.
(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.)
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