SCOTT SLANT: Big Ten–domino or not?

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020.

The Big Ten is on the cusp of announcing it will play football this fall after all, although a predicted reveal Tuesday night did not happen. If the Big Ten really ends up playing, the natural question moving forward: will the Pac-12 and the Mountain West follow suit? Neither is well-positioned to do it right now, but the Pac-12 could if the states of California and Oregon will let it. The conference has a partnership with a manufacturer of FDA-approved rapid coronavirus testing that would allow schools to test players daily.

Sources tell ESPN, though, that the Pac-12’s “most aggressive” return plan is currently targeting mid-to-late November. And that’s if the California and Oregon schools are cleared to play. The Mountain West has been silent on testing plans—and most everything else. It has the same problem as its big brother, with San Diego State, Fresno State and San Jose State in limbo as part of the California State University system. And the Mountain West certainly wouldn’t start any earlier than the Pac-12. What say you, conference presidents?

EASY ALL-DECADE CHOICE

This week’s position in Boise State’s All-Decade Team voting is placekicker, and it doesn’t take too much digging to find the man. It’s Tyler Rausa, hands-down. Rausa is the only Broncos kicker ever to be named first-team All-Mountain West. He earned that honor in 2015, when he broke the school record for single-season field goals with 25. Rausa was in the short-lived XFL early this year and scored the first points in league history with a field goal on February 8. Later in that game he connected on a 54-yarder. In the DC Defenders’ five games before the great sports shutdown, Rausa was 9-for-12 on field goals, including three makes from 50-plus yards. You would think NFL teams would be looking that up right now, because plenty of them need kicking help.

BEEF ON THE BLUE

On the heels of the weekend commitment by 6-5, 325-pound offensive tackle Joseph Amos, Boise State has received a verbal from 6-4, 280-pound guard Mason Randolph of Yorba Linda, CA. “Could be the nastiest OL in the state,” said 247 Sports’ Greg Biggins when he posted the news.( Biggins is talking the state of California.) Randolph also had offers from Utah, Arizona, Utah State and UNLV. “There was so much that stood out about Boise State for me,” Randolph told Biggins. “My biggest thing was development and going where I’ll have a chance to play in the NFL someday, and I think Boise State is the place that will give me that opportunity.”

REMEMBER K.C. ADAMS?

As Boise State was landing three more recruits with Power 5 offers since last Friday, I noticed this tweet from K.C. Adams, Boise State’s star running back during Pokey Allen’s magical 1994 season. Adams is now running backs coach at Laney College in his hometown of Oakland, and one thing he tries to manage is players’ dreams. Tweeted Adams, “All you recruits who would prefer to take a PWO (preferred walk-on) at a Power 5 school better ask the Big 12 how good mid major and FCS football can be…” Yes, three Big 12 teams fell to Sun Belt schools last Saturday. Adams’ message is clear. Go where you can play, go where you can succeed, go where you can get noticed. Adams played for the Broncos when they were Division I-AA (FCS) and won a Big Sky championship while being named first-team All-Big Sky.

MERRITT GOES TO WORK AT WINGED FOOT

It’s three months late, but make no mistake—it is the U.S. Open, and Meridian’s Troy Merritt will tee off in his second one Thursday at Winged Foot. Merritt said Tuesday on Idaho SportsTalk that the course is not set up well for him (“a lot of long right-to-left doglegs”). Goal No. 1 is to make the cut Friday, something he didn’t do at the 2017 U.S. Open. This is the former Boise State star’s fifth career major and his second in the past two months; Merritt missed the cut at the PGA Championship in August. He tied for 54th in the 2015 PGA. Merritt’s best finish in a major was a tie for 42nd at the 2016 Masters.

HILLARY HOLT TO THE HALL

College of Idaho has its first athlete in the NAIA Hall of Fame. Same for the Cascade Conference, in fact. Former Coyotes cross country and track national champion Hillary Holt has selected for induction next fall. Holt, a former Mountain View High star, graduated from C of I in 2014 after a career that saw 17 NAIA All-America honors, nine NAIA individual and two relay national titles and nine Cascade Conference championships. Only two Coyotes have previously made the Hall: former football and basketball great R.C. Owens in 1966 and former men’s basketball coach Marty Holly in 2002.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by FRANZ WITTE NURSERY…where everyone is part of the flock!

September 16, 2000, 20 years ago today: Boise State plays its first-ever game against a team from the Southeastern Conference, facing Arkansas and former Boise State coach Houston Nutt in Little Rock. It took the Broncos awhile to settle down as they fell behind 24-0 in the second quarter before rallying to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Then, trailing 38-31 with just over a minute to play, Boise State had a fourth-and-goal from the Arkansas nine. Bart Hendricks hit Jay Swillie, but he was stopped a half-yard short of the goal line and a possible overtime.

(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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