Williams bounces back; Ian meets media; win tickets

By Chadd Cripe

One of the Boise State football team’s top game-changers returned last week. Junior defensive end Mike T. Williams has put a difficult August behind him and appears ready to make a big impact on defense.

Williams’ stepfather died suddenly in August and Williams missed most of fall camp because of a knee injury — his second knee injury of the summer.

He sat out the season opener against Weber State but had a sack and a pass breakup last week at Washington.

He says his stepfather’s death will serve as motivation for him this season. His stepfather and mother were regulars at Boise State home games.

“My stepdad, he would always encourage me to do better out there,” Williams said. “He would always tell me he wants the quarterback’s back to get dirty, to make the quarterback always look where I am. That’s the thing I think of when I’m out there.”

Williams has become a complete defensive lineman, but he always will be known for his playmaking as a pass rusher. He has 7.5 sacks and six pass breakups in his career, and he set up a Boise State touchdown with a forced fumble in the Fiesta Bowl.

Williams also is an emotional leader on the defense.

“It’s nice to have him back,” junior linebacker Kyle Gingg said. “He’s one of those guys who helps get the energy level going for us on defense.”

Read more about Williams in Thursday’s edition of the Idaho Statesman.

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Here’s some of what Ian Johnson had to say today:

On the loss to Washington: “It’s been a good week for us. It’s kind of humbled a lot of guys. We’ve all got back out there and we’re working with more intensity than we ever had, more attention to details. Even though it hurts in our win-loss column, it definitely did help the team out a lot.”

On last year’s game at Wyoming: “Basically they said, ‘We’re going to stop the run.’ And we said, ‘We’re going to run the ball.’ And it came down to a dogfight, and we won by seven.”

On abandoning the run at Washington: “Being a team that prides ourselves on being able to run the rock as much as we do, it did hurt to see us have to stray from it and start passing the ball more.”

Conferences Merging

I also would like to see the Mtn. West and WAC top teams merge into a BCS conf....It would shake up college football a little and make it more competitive.....Not so lopsided like it is now.

possible conference merging Mtn West/Wac

Sounds like a good idea but too many teams to play. Suggest Hawaii and La Tech be carved off to other conferences. Should be lots of interest. Also, Idaho should go back to the Big Ski where they will be a contender.

Merged Conferences

If we were to merge the WAC and Mountain West to create an interior western BCS conference. This is how I would do it. This is all wild speculation and more fun than anything else. We could call it the Skyline Conference to use a name from the past. I would build a 12 team conference with two divisions so we could have a conference championship. I picked three "weak" teams that would preserve some traditional rivalries and give the conference some flavor and to fill out the conference to 12.

The "Mountain Division" would include Colorado State, Air Force, Wyoming, Boise State, Idaho, and TCU

The "Southwest Division" would include Utah, BYU, Utah State, Fresno State, New Mexico, and New Mexico State.

The teams regular seasons would include playing the other five teams in your division and three from the other with three non-conference games a year to fill out a 12 game schedule. TCU and Fresno would be interchangeable in their divisions. Idaho, Utah State, and New Mexico State are the three "weak" teams in this conference but they preserve in state rivals for the Utah schools, UNM, and you guys at Boise State. They also serve to bring the conference up to 12 and make room for a conference championship.

This scenario will never happen, but it would make for a pretty strong conference that would at least be on par with the PAC-10 (sans USC) and the Big East in terms of overall strength. I put this out merely for debate and discussion, and it was a fun thought exercise.

Try These Conferences on For Size

If I was going to move teams around to new conferences, I'd do it geographically. Why? Because it makes sense. Having teams close creates better rivalries because the fans will travel better. On to the redesign of conferences. I'd get rid of the PAC-10, the MWC, and the WAC. The new conferences would be the NWC (North West Conference), the SWC (South West Conference) and the new MWC (Mountain West Conference). The teams are as follows:

NWC
Boise State
Idaho
Fresno State
Nevada (Reno)
Oregon
Oregon State
Washington
Washington State

SWC
Arizona
Arizona State
Cal
Hawai'i
San Jose State
San Diego State
UCLA
USC

MWC
Air Force
BYU
Colorado State
New Mexico
New Mexico State
UNLV
TCU
Utah
Utah State
Wyoming

These keep a large amount of instate rivalries as well as keep the travel distance to a minimum (at least for conference games). This line up also leaves two teams hanging (LA Tech and Stanford). LA Tech is just too far out of the way to travel to, so it makes sense to move them to a conference that is closer to them (Sunbelt makes the most sense). Stanford has proven that they just cannot hang with the big boys now, so why not move them to a conference that makes sense (Great West is a possibility).

The 3 redesigned conferences now have an even number of teams so a championship game is possible but not necessary at the end of the season. As far as dealing with the BCS, I would just get rid of it and have a playoff between the conference champs. We'd still keep all of the existing bowl games though.

Dominate

Makes sense, who do you think would dominate in the new conferences?

NWC
Toss up: Oregon, Washington, BSU

SWC
USC

MWC-this one is the weakest.
TCU

Another though, isn't size of school, city involved in the selection process to which conference you belong to?

Hit and Miss

Looking at the teams as they are today, I think it is a real hit and miss to say who would dominate.

Looking at the NWC. I've seen BSU blow teams out of the water and then barely make it out alive with a win. Last season we saw Oregon State beat a very tough USC, but then last week they got blown out by the Bearcats. I've seen WSU waste BSU in the last decade, but they haven't been that great lately. Everyone saw what UW did to BSU last week, but if Locker keeps up his running, he's going to get hurt playing those PAC-10 D's.

Looking at the SWC. Cal and UCLA are turning out to be very good teams. Sure USC is great, but OSU proved that they can be beat. A couple years in the new conference and I believe San Jose State could be hanging with them as well. Arizona, not going to happen. ASU though is another story. I detest Dennis Erickson for what he did to UI, but I think he's going to make ASU the powerhouse that it was not too long ago.

Looking at the MWC. They have a lot of good teams. Utah, BYU, TCU. All good. Tomorrow we'll see how good Wyoming is.

Seriously?!?

I understand that this is discussion only, and that these ideas are "for a perfect world" only. But, come on guys. Seriously?!?

First off, the Pac-10 has historically been one of the "elitist-thinking" conferences the NCAA has. They were the last ones to sign on to the BCS. They hold academia AS high as athletics. And, football is not necessarily their highest priority. They aren't breaking up anytime soon, nor will they add 2 teams for a championship game. That's reality.

As far as joining the MWC and WAC...That all sounds like a good idea. Pooling together the top athletic programs in both conferences would make it more respectable, almost to the point of BCS stature...HOWEVER, Boise State can not really afford to move to the MWC in the near future.

Moving to the MWC would require some changes in the athletic programs. For example, BSU would have to add a baseball program. Right now, BSU can't even farm a CLUB baseball team (as a former club baseball player, it sickens me that you can't get 15 guys out of 19,500 students to coordinate that). It would require a lot of money by the athletic department (one that needed Fiesta Bowl money to get out of the hole) for equipment, a coaching staff, and most importantly somewhere to play.

Now that is only one example, and I know there are plenty others. Until we can put together a more substantial athletic budget, moving conferences just will not happen. Like Murph's latest post said: conference affiliations have more to them than just football...think bigger picture, and be somewhat realistic. Skyline conference? Seriously?!?

Re; Seriously?!?

I just said Skyline conference because I was building a whole new conference and I needed a name for it. I used the old conference name Wyoming was a part of before the WAC. No other reason than that. It could be called whatever. I like this discussion because it should at least get us thinking about what the schools between the Big 12 and Pac 10 could do to get into the national discussion. I mean it is great that Utah rose up a few years ago, and then you guys at Boise State did last year. I would like to see though where our schools could somehow become relevent nationally year in and year out. Pooling together the best in the MWC and the WAC seems like the best way in my mind. The logistics of this actually happening are enormous and quite possibly impossible.

The problem is, until we get a legitimate playoff scenario that includes all the Div. 1A schools to determine a national champ. Those of us caught in the middle have no chance. I mean you guys played your hearts out last year and went undefeated, beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, and even then you guys had no shot at the National Championship. Were you guys better than Florida or Ohio State? Let's be honest, probably not, but you guys didn't get the chance to show the country if you were or not. Every other sport that is competitive at all has some sort of playoff or tournament to determine its champ except for major college football. I know the tradition and the pagaentry and all that with the bowls, but come on we still can't get a legitamate national champ where everyone in Div. 1A at least has a shot at winning it all.

We've got some good schools with strong football programs out here in the intermountain west. If we could somehow pool them together, along with a strong a program out in Hawaii possibly, these programs could build a conference that could rival that of the BCS conferences. We could start to recruit and attract the top college prospects across the nation. It would take major investments in cash and other capital, and is probably not feasible now or in the future, but it is fun to at least have the thought experiment and talk about the possibilities.

Baseball and softball

BSU ought to have BB and women's SB. They are cheap to play and equip. More than a few good High School players would be interested in scholarships. I have often wondered why we didn't offer.

I agree with you, but the

I agree with you, but the reason why things do or don't happen always comes down to money. If it is not going to provide enough revenue to the athletic department they will choose not to have those sports, unless they are obligated to by state or federal government. If you can show BSU that baseball and softball with make sufficient revenue and not cost them money, you will see them find a way to have a baseball and softball team.

BB and SB

You say it is money tomellen, but equipment is not expensive and I'll bet a dollar to a donut hole that there are already coaches on staff capapable of getting the programs off the ground. There is a built-in fan base that supports high school and American Legion ball in the area so I find it hard to understand what the problem is. It's not like you have to charter a 737. 40 people will fit nicely on a bus for most of the regional games. It isn't high end but...

BSU Softball

BSU will have a softball team, I believe in '08-'09 season. As for having a baseball team(which would be AWESOME), look no further than Title IX. They need to ammend Title IX and take football out of the equation.

Title IX is not the problem

Women's sports are not the problem when it comes to adding other sports. Low attendance at the money sports is. In our case it is the poor attendance at men's BB games. The coaches are undoubtedly fine people but the they can't recruit worth a dang. A southern Cal coach with a big rep and strong ties to the HS coaches could be the answer. Maybe a former NBA player would be interested. I just have to think it is recruiting recruiting recruiting.

Soft Ball

I coach softball at the highschool level and have had some girls go on to play SB at the next level but their options are limited. NNU, CSI, and Albertson's college have SB. I was wondering why smaller schools have the program that the bigger schools don't? I did hear from the revenue that the Fsta Bwl brought in that SB is going to make it to BSU. I think that will be a good move for Boise looking to expand.