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Boise State football: AAC keeps pushing for ‘P6’

The top Group of 5 conference would rather not be a Group of 5 conference. The American Athletic Conference still envisions a “Power 6.”
Credit: John Raoux/AP Photo
Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder lunges for a 1-yard touchdown against UCF during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. Cincinnati won 36-33.

BOISE, Idaho — Tuesday, June 15, 2021.

Is there a scenario under the proposed College Football Playoff expansion that would keep a Group of 5 team from making the field? Maybe—if the Group of 5 becomes the Group of 4. The American Athletic Conference is going to continue its relentless effort to be added to the Power 5. In a letter obtained by the blog site “Out of Bounds” that was dated May 7, the AAC requested a meeting with the Power 5 to discuss that conference’s inclusion. The American compared its 19 NFL draft picks and two first-rounders in 2021 to the 15 players combined selected from the rest of the Group of Five, along with stats about bowl games and top-10 finishes. “The fact that the American has separated itself completely from the other conferences makes it abundantly clear that the American belongs in the (Power 5),” the letter says.

BOISE STATE & PROJECTED CFP FIELDS OF THE PAST

Max Olson at TheAthletic put together an analysis of what the College Football Playoff would have looked like the past 10 years under the proposed new 12-team format. Very simply, “The six highest-ranked conference champions in either the final CFP or BCS rankings were selected, then the rest of the spots were filled with the highest-ranked at-large teams.” And it shows that Boise State would have made the CFP field three times. The 2014 Fiesta Bowl team is a given. The 2011 Broncos, Mountain West runnerup during Kellen Moore’s senior year, actually made the cut as an at-large team. And how bout this? Boise State’s 2012 team, a three-way champ in the MW, was the highest-ranked Group Of 5 champion that year and would have made the CFP. That’s the team that beat Washington in the Las Vegas Bowl.

THE MW IS BACK ON THE STRIP

A year ago when Mountain West Media Days was cancelled due to the pandemic, it was suggested that such gatherings may go online forever. Not so fast, my friend. The Mountain West is going to get coaches, players and media together in person again this summer, July 21-22 in Las Vegas. There’s nothing like in-person meetings to get the best nuggets, especially with new head coaches this year at Boise State and Utah State—and new faces last year at Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV that we really didn’t get to hear from. Besides, aren’t you just about Zoomed-out?

SHAKIR’S BEEN THIS WAY SINCE DAY ONE

Nevada quarterback Carson Strong will probably be the Preseason Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year at Media Days, but don’t sleep on Boise State’s Khalil Shakir. ESPN’s Bill Connelly last week came up with the “Top 50 Swiss army knives—The most versatile players for 2021,” and Shakir is among five wide receivers on the list. “BSU had to bounce between three quarterbacks in seven games last year, but they all had a star to work with out wide...or in the slot...or wherever,” writes Connelly. “Shakir caught 52 passes for 719 yards—44% from wide, 42% from the slot, 4% inline and even 10% from the backfield (where he also rushed 17 times for 148 yards). Watch this dude.” You’ll hardly be able to help it.

THE CALL OF THE HALL

The show is back on. The Boise State Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony, wiped out by COVID-19 last September, has been re-scheduled for October 15 this fall, the night before the Broncos’ game against Air Force. The six inductees remain the same: 10,000-meters national champion Emma Bates, former athletic director Gene Bleymaier, wrestling national champion Ben Cherrington, national decathlon champ Kurt Felix, former Broncos star linebacker Korey Hall and tennis All-American Luke Shields. There should be another Hall of Fame class in 2022 as the university plays catch-up—the 2018 class was the first in 10 years, as Boise State’s Athletic Hall of Fame had been in hibernation.

ALLIE O’S TRUE LEGACY

We’ve heard a lot about Boise State women’s distance-running luminaries recently, from Clare O’Brien earning two All-America honors at the NCAA Championships to Bates and Marisa Howard positioning themselves for the U.S. Olympic Trials. But one name was missing—until Friday. Three-time national steeplechase champ Allie Ostrander, the best of the best, posted an emotional and heart-wrenching video detailing her struggles with an eating disorder and her partially-hospitalized treatment the past five weeks. Ostrander yearns to be a role model for others going through the same thing. “Long-term health and living a full life is more important than a season,” said Ostrander. Even one that had been headed toward the Olympic Trials. Mad respect for Allie Ostrander and her courage. 

ALSTON, JESSUP ITINERARIES

Derrick Alston Jr. worked out for the Golden State Warriors last week and is one of 40 players invited to the G-League Elite Camp this weekend in Chicago. The goal would be to land a spot in the NBA Combine as Alston tries to attract attention in next month’s draft. Former Boise State teammate Justinian Jessup has a clearer picture of what lies immediately ahead. Jessup, the Warriors’ second-round pick last year and a finialist for NBL Rookie of the Year honors in Australia, has been promised a spot in the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League in August by Golden State general manager Bob Myers. Originally Jessup was going to be stashed in Australia until next year, but he has earned his NBA shot.

MERRITT’S NEXT MAJOR

It’s U.S. Open week, and former Boise State star Troy Merritt is playing as well as he ever has going into Torrey Pines (save for the final round at The Memorial eight days ago). Since the beginning of May, Merritt has recorded three top 10 finishes and has made more than $740,000. Due to COVID wreaking havoc with the schedule last year, this will actually be Merritt’s second U.S. Open this season. He made the cut at Winged Foot last September but had a disastrous weekend. The PGA Tour is back to normal now, and Merritt is set up nicely this week.

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…June 15, 2014:

The San Antonio Spurs win their fifth NBA championship and avenge a bitter seven-game loss to Miami in the NBA Finals a year earlier by blasting the Heat, 104-87. One of the most dominant Finals runs in NBA history denied the Heat and LeBron James their three-peat, as all four of the Spurs’ wins came by 15 or more points. Coach Gregg Popovich and star forward Tim Duncan were part of all five San Antonio titles, and Manu Ginoboli and Tony Parker had a hand in four.

(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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