BOISE, Idaho — Thursday, September 24, 2020.
There’s a good chance the Mountain West will announce its return to fall football before the Pac-12 does. That would be ironic, considering all the dissing the Mountain West has absorbed since postponing the season six weeks ago. Assuming the eight-game scheduling goes through, inquiring minds want to know: What would be the minimum number of conference games required to be eligible for the league championship? There will inevitably be some games that are canceled and can’t be made up, since there would be no bye weeks.
There have been 21 college games postponed or canceled so far due to the coronavirus, including five involving Houston. Two ACC games scheduled for Saturday have been pushed back—North Carolina State at Wake Forest and Notre Dame at Wake Forest.
Yes, if the Mountain West gets it done over the next 24 hours, the best-case scenario is eight games in eight weeks. So what is Air Force’s situation? Would the Falcons sacrifice games against Navy and Army and a shot at the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy for conference games and a chance at a Mountain West championship? Air Force has the Midshipmen at home on October 3 and visits West Point November 7. The Falcons always stress how much the C-I-C hardware means to them. Are they allowed to play only six Mountain West games? And is that enough to compete for the conference title?
SOCIAL DISTANCING IN PROVO
Boise State will be scouting BYU on Saturday night. Not because the Broncos are going to play the Cougars—they’re not. But Boise State will be watching from a game management standpoint as BYU plays its home opener against Troy. Only about 6,000 fans will be allowed in LaVell Edwards Stadium per the state of Utah’s current COVID-19 guidelines. That’s less than 10 percent of the facility’s capacity. The attendance policy down the line this fall allows increased attendance “based on available pandemic data and the recommendation of state, university and public health officials,” said a BYU release.
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RYPIEN: ONE WEEK WITH THE CLIPBOARD?
Newly-signed quarterback Blake Bortles reported to Denver’s headquarters early Tuesday to begin the COVID-19 testing process, but the soonest he’s expected to be able to practice is Friday, according to the Denver Post. “It is unlikely the Broncos would thrust him into the No. 2 role behind Jeff Driskel Sunday against Tampa Bay,” writes Ryan O’Halloran. “They would promote Brett Rypien from the practice squad.” But all bets are off for Rypien beyond this week. The Mountain West’s career passing leader apparently has more to prove to Denver in practice.
CHICAGO’S REVOLVING DOOR AS IT APPLIES TO HUTCH
The Billy Donovan coaching hire by the Chicago Bulls is generally getting rave reviews. Now we’ll see how former Boise State star Chandler Hutchison fits into Donovan’s plans. The new coach will like Hutchison as a locker room guy and will appreciate his work ethic. Will his skill set be a match?
Donovan is Hutchison’s third coach in a little more than two years. The 2018 first-round draft pick has been dogged by injuries in the NBA. When the Bulls gather for camp, Hutchison will be making up for lost time—he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder in March.
A NICE DIVERSION FOR APSEY
It’s been a trying year for Boise State Athletic Director Curt Apsey, mostly due to things out of his control. But Apsey is being recognized for what he could control before the pandemic, as he is one of five finalists for the Sports Business Journal’s Athletic Director of the Year award. The others are Kirby Hocutt of Texas Tech, Rob Mullens of Oregon, Mack Rhoades of Baylor and Scott Stricklin of Florida. Apsey is now in his sixth year as the Broncos’ AD. In each of the two years preceding the pandemic, Boise State finished as the top athletic department among Group of Five schools in the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup Standings. The winning athletic director will be announced next Wednesday.
THIS DAY IN SPORTS…September 24, 1977:
Former Boise State coach Tony Knap is on the field for his first game in Bronco Stadium in two years, now as the leader of UNLV. In the last of a six-game series between the two schools, Boise State ambushed the Rebels, 45-14. Former Borah High star Terry Hutt sealed the deal with an 85-yard touchdown catch from Hoskin Hogan. The Broncos—with 629 total yards—bounced back stunningly from the worst total offense output in their history to this day, 69 yards the previous week in a loss at Fresno State.
(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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