BOISE, Idaho — Wednesday Weekly: June 7, 2023
Good things come to those who wait. Boise State great Kellen Moore won’t have to wait forever for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Moore is on the College Hall ballot for the third consecutive year, one of 78 FBS players listed. As a reminder, a player becomes eligible 10 full seasons after his final active year. First and foremost beyond that, a player must have received first-team All-America “by a selector utilized in the NCAA’s consensus All-America teams.” Check, as Moore was named first-team by the Football Writers Association of America in 2010. And, of course, he’s the winningest quarterback in college football history with those numbers you know: 50-3. Less than two one-hundredths of a percent of those who have played the game during the past 153 seasons are in the College Hall.
Moore is competing against names like Randy Moss, Michael Vick and Larry Fitzgerald for FBS spots in the Hall this year. But The Athletic understands that this is all about college careers and tabs Kellen as one of two players on the ballot who definitely belong in the Hall. Writes David Ubben, “Moore helped take Boise State from a Fiesta Bowl pan flash into a true annual contender and left Boise with college football’s highest winning percentage as a quarterback. He won 50 of his 53 starts and was the engine behind Chris Petersen’s efficient Boise program.” The only Boise State alumnus in the CFB Hall is the late Randy Trautman, the Caldwell High grad who was a dominating defensive tackle for the Broncos from 1978-81. Trautman was the defensive centerpiece of the 1980 Division I-AA national championship team.
BRONCOS TV GUIDE
Guess I have to weigh in on the Boise State TV schedule for 2023, released last week. Last year the Broncos had two games on big boy CBS, plus the Mountain West championship game on Fox. This year so far, there’s one on big boy ABC, the opener at Washington on September 2 (an afternoon game). Boise State doesn’t get CBS for the Black Friday game against Air Force. It will be on FS1. However, it kicks off at 2 p.m. instead of 10 a.m. There is one 10 a.m. kickoff, though, but it’s in mid-September against North Dakota. Okay. The home opener versus UCF is a 5 p.m. game on FS1. (I like these kickoff times.) As always, there are wild cards - at home, it’s Wyoming in October and New Mexico in November. If the Broncos are playing well, those games won’t be relegated to no-man’s land on FS2.
A GOOD EVAL OF TAYLEN GREEN
Some people have done their homework on Boise State’s Taylen Green. College Football Network is among them as it ranks the starters for all 133 FBS teams. Green is No. 31 in the country and No. 1 in the Mountain West, with this capsule: “The big-armed, deceptively athletic Green took a while to get his footing, but once he did, he was a tough puzzle to solve. Green has a terrific frame to work with and uses his athleticism to buy time in the pocket, unlike his predecessor, who took beating over beating during his Boise State career. Green is accurate to most levels of the field, and as his footing continued to evolve, he maintained vision downfield. He’s a dual threat, but he’s far more advanced as a pocket passer than you’d imagine. The sky is the limit for Green. He enters 2023 as the best returning quarterback to the MWC …easily.”
Back on May 3, there was a “Blue Blood” tweet from coach Andy Avalos, which meant another commit for Boise State. Only, we never really found out who it was. Many guessed Ethan Carde, a 6-8, 320-pound lineman from Texas Tech. Avalos tweeted another “Blue Blood” last Thursday, and - better late than never - this one was Carde. Can confirm the bigness, assuming that was Carde I saw at breakfast with Avalos at Bacon Boise at the end of April. Wow. Carde, who’s a grad transfer, played in 12 of the Red Raiders’ 13 games as a reserve last year. He’s the second Texas Tech O-lineman in three years to transfer to Boise State. Will Farrar, who’s now a recruiting assistant on the Broncos staff (fitting in Carde’s case), joined the team in 2021 and made 15 starts at three different positions the past two seasons.
MATTISON REALLY COULD BE MOVIN’ UP
Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell indeed appears to be setting the table for the departure of Dalvin Cook and the elevation of former Boise State star Alexander Mattison to running back No. 1. In March, the Vikings re-signed Mattison to a contract that guarantees him $6.35 million over the next two seasons, good money for a backup. Cook is supposed to make $11 million this year, and he’s 28 years old - a bit up there for a running back (his efficiency numbers dropped off noticeably in 2022). ESPN’s Kevin Seifert calls Mattison “a younger, less expensive but less explosive version of Cook. He is a physical inside runner, having averaged 1.91 yards per rush after contact - slightly higher than Cook's mark of 1.77.” Seifert says the Vikings seem to have made their decision, and he thinks it makes sense.
STEELIES LOOK FOR A FIRST-ROUND SEQUEL
You could say the Idaho Steelheads have been here before - down two games-to-none in a playoff series. That’s the way it is now against the Florida Everblades in the Kelly Cup Finals, and that’s the way it was in the first round versus the Utah Grizzlies. This is a much bigger mountain to climb, though, as Game 3 approaches tonight in Estero, FL. The Everblades punched the Steelheads in the mouth, literally, in the first two games in Boise. And these next three games (if it gets that far) are not 4½ hours down the freeway. They’re 2,800 miles from Idaho Central Arena. What the Steelies have to hope is that there’s some carryover from their wild third-period rally in Game 2 Sunday (the one that ultimately fell short 5-3). The Steelheads know they have it in them. Can they mount an epic comeback in this series?
THE ’SIGHTING OF THE DAY’ LAST FRIDAY
The most interesting participant at the Bronco Nation News tournament last Friday was Larry Eustachy, the former Idaho, Utah State, Iowa State, Southern Miss and Colorado State coach. It’s been a long and winding road for Eustachy, who has won a lot of games and created a lot of controversy in his career. He and his wife have lived in Boise since retiring two years ago. And Eustachy is said to have been key in guard Roddie Anderson’s commitment to Boise State, having coached his father at USU once upon a time. You don’t think Eustachy could assume a role on Leon Rice’s staff, do you? Don’t count it out. Rice did reveal during the tournament that the Broncos, who nixed one foreign trip this summer because it was a possibly dangerous destination, will play three exhibition games in Canada in late July and early August.
MW BASKETBALL BAR KEEPS RISING
As much as Mountain West football is struggling these days, men’s basketball seems to be in power mode. After a great recruiting season and some prime picking from the transfer portal (not to mention two straight NCAA Tournament trips), Boise State is among the title favorites next season, but that’s not by default. The rest of the conference is upping its game. Example: UNLV has a new commitment from Dedan Thomas Jr. to join the Rebels for the upcoming season. Thomas Jr., a five-star recruit and the son of UNLV legend Dedan Thomas Sr., is ranked as the 22nd-best prospect in the class of 2024 by 247 Sports, but he has reclassified in order to become a Runnin’ Rebel this year.
MERRITT GRINDS AWAY WITH A SMILE
The ever-philosophical Troy Merritt played U.S. Open Final Qualifying Monday in Springfield, OH, after missing the weekend last Friday at The Memorial. Merritt shots rounds of 66 and 69 in the 36-hole grind and just missed the cut. “Most golf days this season have felt like the longest day of golf, but (this) TRULY IS the LONGEST day of golf!” the former Boise State star tweeted. One of his hash tags was “golf is still fun.” What an ordeal it’s been for Merritt this year. Meanwhile, Eagle High junior Wheaton Ennis, a Texas A&M commit, made the final field in Tacoma Monday but did not qualify. Ennis has helped the Mustangs win two team state 5A titles and was the individual champion as freshmen.
IDAHO ON THE UP & UP
The past week has been good to the Idaho Vandals. First, they found out they have their second home game ever on one of the two major ESPN platforms when they face Montana for the Little Brown Stein, October 14 on ESPN2. The other one was in November, 2010, the last time Idaho faced Boise State. Then the Vandals were picked fifth in the Hero Sports FCS Preseason Poll, a vote of validation of sorts after the coach Jason Eck turned them around in his first year with a 7-5 record and their first playoff appearance since returning to the Big Sky in 2018.
THIS DAY IN SPORTS…June 7, 2018, five years ago today:
The Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup for the first time in their 44-year history, rallying for two goals in the third period to notch a 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Knights, an expansion franchise that became one of the great Cinderella stories in sports history, had won Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, fostering hope of more storybook magic. But the Capitals won the next four games behind MVP Alex Ovechkin, who had toiled for 13 seasons in the NHL waiting to hoist the Cup. And the Capitals’ Jay Beagle became the first Idaho Steelheads alum ever to have his name engraved on the legendary trophy.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)
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