By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
The Rose Bowl champion TCU Horned Frogs could be playing in Boise in 2011.
The Mountain West Conference athletic directors favor tweaking the football schedule to make TCU play at Boise State in the only conference game the two schools will play, commissioner Craig Thompson said Wednesday. TCU is leaving the Mountain West after the 2011-12 academic year to join the Big East.
The final decision on the Boise State-TCU game site will be made by the league presidents in the next couple weeks. It takes a majority vote — and TCU doesn’t have a vote.
If the game is moved to Boise, one of Boise State’s other conference home games will become a road game, Thompson said. The Broncos are scheduled to play Air Force, New Mexico, Wyoming and San Diego State in Boise.
Moving the game to Boise would make sense for the future of the Mountain West. As the league chases an automatic bid for the Bowl Championship Series, it gets to count results from Boise State and TCU for the evaluation period that ends in 2011 (2008-11). But for the next period, which runs from 2010 to 2013, the Mountain West gets Boise State’s results and TCU’s results carry over to the Big East. The Mountain West and Big East could be competing with each other for BCS positioning in that cycle. Boise State hasn’t lost a conference home game since 1998.
Later in the day, the Mountain West office informed me that changes have been made since the athletic directors originally agreed to game sites for the 2011 season, so there could be several changes. For 2011, four schools get four home conference games and four get three. The league has had a balanced schedule in recent years and will in 2012 and 2013, so nobody is "owed" the extra home game this year.
I’ll have a full recap of my interview with Thompson in Thursday’s newspaper, but here are a couple notes:
— The Mountain West has settled on an eight-game conference football schedule for 2012 and 2013. Previously, Thompson had said he expected to play nine games for a full round robin. That means Boise State has an opening in 2012 and two openings in 2013. The Broncos have six home games scheduled in 2012 — so they have the flexibility to play another big-money road game, sign another home-and-home deal or play Idaho. In 2013, the Broncos need two home games — they have four conference road games and dates at Washington and BYU — so Idaho would make sense there.
— The Mountain West has meetings Monday and Tuesday in Las Vegas but several presidents are going to be unavailable, which could hinder decision-making. It’s also unclear who is going to vote. Right now, the 2011-12 members except for TCU hold the only voting rights. Six of those seven members must vote in favor of expanding to add a team.
— A report in the San Jose Mercury News indicated San Jose State could be an expansion target. Thompson said the only conversation with the Spartans was when the school called him to ask that it be considered.
— In a change from previous interviews, Thompson waffled when asked whether it was certain that the Mountain West would remain with the same TV partners. Still, he expressed optimism about the recently approved purchase of NBC Universal by Comcast. The expectation is that Comcast-owned Versus will become an NBC-branded sports channel. Versus, CBS College Sports and The Mtn. air Mountain West events. “What we ultimately want to do is play in front of as many television sets as we can,” Thompson said.
Offensive lineman Adam Sheffield (6-foot-5, 300 pounds) of Branham High in San Jose, Calif., told the Mercury News he chose Boise State over San Jose State and Fresno State. He visited Boise State the weekend of the Broncos’ 51-0 defeat of the Bulldogs.
“I’m in awe that this is all happening,” he told the newspaper. “I’m excited to go to Boise — they’ve proven that they can go toe to toe with anyone.”
Also, I was able to confirm this evening via text message that linebacker KT Tu'umalo of Honolulu has backed out of his commitment to Boise State to go to Colorado.
2011 RECRUITING CLASS
High school seniors
— QB Jimmy Laughrea, 6-2, 185, Rocklin (Calif.) HS
— DE Sam Ukwuachu, 6-5, 203, Pearland (Texas) HS
— WR Dallas Burroughs, 5-8, 165, Rocky Mountain HS (Meridian)
— DT Jeff Worthy, 6-4, 280, Whittier Christian HS (La Mirada, Calif.)
— DL Robert Ash, 6-3, 255, Cosumnes Oaks HS (Elk Grove, Calif.)
— S Taylor Loffler, 6-3, 195, Kelowna (B.C.) Secondary
— OL Rees Odhiambo, 6-3, 298, Mansfield (Texas) Legacy HS
— RB Jay Ajayi, 6-0, 200, Liberty HS (Frisco, Texas)
— LB Blake Renaud, 6-2, 230, De La Salle HS (Concord, Calif.)
— OG Marcus Henry, 6-3, 275, Bellevue (Wash.) HS
— CB Eric Agbaroji, 6-1, 180, Midlothian (Texas) HS
— S Corey Bell, 5-11, 200, Capital HS
— DB Darian Thompson, 6-2, 172, Paraclete HS (Lancaster, Calif.)
— TE Hayden Plinke, 6-4, 230, Glencoe HS (Hillsboro, Ore.)
— K Jake Van Ginkel, 5-11, 185, Upland (Calif.) High
— S Jamie Byrd, 6-1, 195, Pasco HS (Dade City, Fla.)
— LB Dillon Lukehart, 6-1, 200, Eagle HS
— OL Adam Sheffield, 6-5, 300, Branham HS (San Jose, Calif.)
Junior college transfers
— S/LB Dextrell Simmons*, 6-0, 210, Blinn College (Spring, Texas)
Grayshirts from 2010:
— WR Troy Ware*, 6-2, 164, Vista (Calif.) HS
— DE Tyler Horn*, 6-4, 225, Mountain View HS (Meridian)
— TE Holden Huff*, 6-6, 195, Rocklin (Calif.) HS
* already enrolled
Auburn quarterback Cam Newton has won the Manning Award, which takes into account bowl performance. Boise State’s Kellen Moore was one of 10 finalists.