SCOTT SLANT: The TV monopoly theory

Presented by BBSI.
Tuesday, July 21, 2020.

Bruce Feldman’s column at The Athletic Saturday sure got me thinkin’. Should the Group of 5 just unilaterally move its season to the spring and take over the football-starved TV airwaves? “It’s becoming more apparent that the gap between the ‘haves’ (Power 5) and the ‘have-nots’ (everyone else in the sport) is widening in the wake of the pandemic,” writes Feldman. “(It’s also possible a few of the best-resourced Group of 5 programs could move up into a Power 5 conference at some point.)” Read: Boise State. But that’s a story for another day. It remains such a longshot, that we’ll stick with the story at hand. Feldman’s idea revolves around the NFL Network, which could use live programming in the spring and has already dipped its toe into college football.

“It would blow away the AAF and XFL ratings,” a former NFL coach told Feldman. “If we’re in the spring and I’ve got a chance to watch Houston and Louisiana Tech, I’d be stoked. Give me that! I’ll take that all day long over two teams in the XFL that I know nothing about or don’t care about.” Said another former scout, “Be the king of the spring.” Thing is, they’re talking about moving Group of 5 football there permanently. That would be a helluva adjustment psychologically for fans. In the end, it would be all about the money. Could Group of 5 teams replace the guaranteed dollars they get from playing non-conference games against Power 5 schools?

ALONG THOSE LINES…

Does it seem like we’re one step closer to the Mountain West season being postponed? The conference has suspended plans for its 2020 Football Virtual Media Days “until further notice.” The event had been scheduled for July 27-29. “Any future decisions and announcements will take place at the appropriate time,” said the MW’s release. The league will, however, still release its 2020 football predictions. The predicted order of finish will be today, the Preseason All-Mountain West team on Wednesday, and indidual awards on Thursday.

MAINSTAYS OF THE SECONDARY

Kekaula Kaniho and Jalen Walker are on their second watch lists of the 2020 season. The Boise State teammates are both candidates for the Jim Thorpe Award that goes to the nation’s best defensive back. Kaniho, the senior nickel, was named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list last month. Walker, the senior cornerback, was on the docket for the Chuck Bednarik Award last week. Kaniho was a first-team All-Mountain West pick last season, with his most eye-popping stats being three sacks and 11 tackles-for-loss. Pretty impressive for a 5-10, 185-pounder. Walker’s signature number last year was nine pass breakups, best among the Broncos. Both players were significant contributors as freshmen in the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl—Kaniho with a pick-six and Walker as a fill-in for the injured Tyler Horton.

DECISIONS FOR DEMARCUS

Well, DeMarcus Lawrence could be one of many. The former Boise State star is unsure about reporting to Dallas Cowboys training camp a week from today, as he has questions about the safety of that environment. Lawrence and his wife, Sasha, are expecting a child in October, and the COVID-19 pandemic has him skittish. “Family is No. 1,” said Lawrence in an ESPN.com story. “After the game of football is done, that’s the only thing I have to depend on, so I’ve got to take care of them.” The NFL and the players association have not agreed to opt-out possibilities for the 2020 season. But at least the league and the union have settled on a daily coronavirus testing plan for the start of training camp.

BRONCOS HOOPS EASES INTO IT

A week after football programs were allowed by the NCAA to hold organized team activities, the Broncos men’s basketball team returned to the practice gym on Monday. Players and coaches were all in masks and working in small groups of 3-4. B.J. Rains of the Idaho Press reports that 11 players are in Boise, including returners (and transfers who redshirted last season), as well as the team’s two JC transfers. The freshmen will arrive next month.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by VETERANS PLUMBING…eliminate your drips and drops!

July 21, 1980: The birthday of one of the top pitchers (so far) in the 21st century. CC Sabathia retired at the end of last season after a 19-year career with Cleveland, Milwaukee and the New York Yankees. Sabathia, a six-time All-Star, won the American League Cy Young Award with the Indians in 2007 and was the ace of the Yankees’ 2009 World Series championship team. His career record was 251-161. CC Sabathia…40 years old today.

(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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