Mountain West Conference

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Joe Fernandez #84 of the Fresno State Bulldogs makes a catch for a touchdown against  Justin Wyatt #29 of the USC Trojans during the game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 19, 2005 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Fresno State, USC announce new 3-game series


Fresno State can tell recruits it will play at least one Power 5 opponent in each of the next eight seasons after amounting a new scheduling agreement with USC.

The Trojans will host the Bulldogs in 2019, 2022 and 2025.

USC leads the all-time series between the California schools 3-1, including comfortable victories in 2013 and ’14.

Prior to that, the Bulldogs memorably challenged a loaded USC squad featuring Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush in a 2005 clash. Fresno State led 42-41 in the fourth quarter, but the Trojans prevailed 50-42.

Fresno State’s only win in the series came in the 1992 Freedom Bowl when quarterback Trent Dilfer engineered a 24-7 triumph.

Taking on power conference teams is nothing new for Fresno State, which is set to play at Nebraska on Sept. 3.

The Bulldogs will play at Alabama and Washington next season, at Minnesota and UCLA in 2018 and host Minnesota in 2019. In 2020, they have a trip to Texas A&M on the docket while 2021 includes visits to Oregon and UCLA.

After the 2022 tilt with the Trojans, the Bulldogs will travel to Arizona State in 2023.

No hops for you: beer sales nixed at Boise State football pregames

Beer festival (Bierboerse) in Bonn.
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ohio State announced earlier this month that they would sell beer to all of-age ticket holders at football games beginning in 2016, joining a growing number of football programs across the country.  Out west, however, a pair of programs are headed in the opposite direction.

In June of last year, the Idaho State Board of Education approved a request from Boise State and Idaho that allowed the sale of beer and wine to fans with a ticket prior to the start of home football games.  In the former’s case, the policy allowed ticketed fans to purchase beer or wine inside the Caven-Williams Sports Complex, the indoor practice facility, even as there were still no general alcohol sales inside of Alberstons Stadium.

Previously, the board had approved alcohol service for corporate sponsors and their guests at the facility.

Thursday, that same governing body reversed course, declining a request from both schools to continue the policy for the 2016 season.

From the Idaho Press-Tribune:

However, board members said they no longer wanted to waive the state’s current policy — which requires a special invite to buy alcohol at collegiate games.

Only board member David Hill opposed the board’s decision.

Hill says that the board’s decision will essentially shut down BSU’s pre-game function known as “The Huddle,” which offered fans food, alcohol and entertainment in lieu of tailgating.

No reason has been given for the reversal.

Alcohol sales will still be permitted in the premium seating areas at Albertsons Stadium.  The Associated Press did write that “[f]ans can still drink alcohol at designated pregame tailgating areas at BSU and University of Idaho with alcohol they bring in.”

Colorado State’s Justin Sweet, projected starter at safety, arrested on suspicion of DUI

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 19:  Justin Sweet #29 of the Colorado State Rams and his teammates prepare to face the Colorado Buffaloes during the Rocky Mountain Showdown at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 19, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. Colorado defeated Colorado State 27-24 in overtime.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

After a (very) brief respite, it’s time to, once again, push that “Days Without An Arrest” ticker back to double zeroes.

The latest program with a player doing the triggering is Colorado State, with the Loveland Reporter Herald reporting that safety Justin Sweet was arrested very early Wednesday morning for suspicion of driving under the influence. What led to a sheriff’s officer initiating the traffic stop that led to the defensive back’s arrest is unclear.

According to the Reporter Herald, head coach Mike Bobo was out of town for a football camp and unavailable for comment. A school official has confirmed that the coach is aware of the situation, though.

Sweet, a redshirt junior, played in five games last season. All told, he’s played in 14 games during his career in Fort Collins.

Prior to the incident, Sweet was viewed as a potential, or even likely starting safety. In fact, the Rams’ spring prospectus listed him as the starting strong safety.

S. Illinois announces additions of four FBS transfers, including ones from Florida, K-State

FORT COLLINS, CO - SEPTEMBER 05:  Deionte Gaines #2 of the Colorado State Rams returns a punt against the Savannah State Tigers at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Colorado State defeated Savannah State 65-13.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

When Southern Illinois takes the field in 2016, their roster will have a decidedly FBS look to it.

In a press release Monday, the FCS football program announced that it has added four former FBS players to the team.  Those four are wide receiver Deionte Gaines (Colorado State), cornerback CJ Jennings (Wyoming), running back Jarvis Leverett, Jr. (Kansas State), and wide receiver Ryan Sousa (Florida).

All four of those players will be eligible to play in 2016. Jennings and Sousa will have three years of eligibility remaining; Gaines will have two; and Leverett one.

Originally a Florida State commit, Sousa was a three-star member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, rated by as the No. 67 receiver in the country and the No. 70 player at any position in the state of Florida. In addition to UF and FSU, Sousa also held offers from, among others, Arizona, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan State, Missouri, UCLA and Wisconsin.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Sousa played in two games in 2015. The fact that Sousa was a depth-chart afterthought after two springs in Gainesville likely played a sizable role in the player’s decision to transfer last month.

Despite being at K-State the past four years, Leverett played in just five games for the Wildcats.  He rushed for 67 yards on 20 carries, all of which came during the 2014 season.

As a redshirt freshman last season, Jennings played in 10 games. Exiting the spring, Jennings was one of the Cowboys’ starting corners before announcing his decision to transfer earlier this month.

Gaines started five of the 22 games in which he played the past two seasons prior to a mid-May decision to transfer from the Rams. He caught 22 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown, and added another 153 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.

As a true freshman in 2014, the 5-8, 180-pound Gaines led the Mountain West and was 20th in the FBS with 672 kick return yards on 28 returns (24.0 average).

Nevada’s Marc Ma disappears while paddle boarding, presumed drowned

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 11.41.54 AM
Nevada athletics
Leave a comment

Sadly, tragedy has struck the Nevada football program.

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, Marc Ma was one of a half-dozen or so Wolf Pack football players who went paddle boarding Friday afternoon on Lake Tahoe.  At some point during the outing, police were called after Ma disappeared.

From the Gazette-Journal:

Ma was with five other Wolf Pack football players, who were on a paddle board trip at Lake Tahoe’s west shore. The group turned toward shore because of high winds that caused 3 to 5-foot swells, authorities said.

“Everyone else in the group had been washed off their boards,” Placer County Sheriff’s deputies said on the agency’s Facebook post. “Mark headed back to shore to get help.”

Obexer’s Marina Sports staff went out on the water to help.

“They had their eyes off of him for two minutes, and he was gone,” Erwin said, adding Obexer’s Marina Sports staff only found his paddle board and life vest in the water.

“Only one of the six was wearing their life vest,” she said. “The biggest take away from this is people have to wear personal flotation devices.”

Firefighters abandoned their search late Saturday night, with Ma being presumed drowned.

He was just 20 years old.

Below is a statement from Wolf Pack head coach Brian Polian.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office is calling this search one of recovery, not rescue. As such, it is with an incredibly heavy heart that we acknowledge the loss of Marc Ma, a beloved member of our Wolf Pack family.

“Laura and I spent time at the lake today with Marc’s parents, Michele and Michael, and our thoughts and prayers are with Marc’s entire family and friends in Hawaii and with those close to him here in Reno. We share in their devastation and will support them in any way we can. We are thankful for the courageous efforts of search personnel.

“Marc was a very special young man and it was an honor to work with him. He was universally liked and respected by his teammates, coaches and staff. Marc excelled in the classroom and had grown by leaps and bounds in the weight room and on the football field. His easy smile and cheerful demeanor belied a fierce competitive nature that would emerge in practice and excite our team.

“Our team has lost a friend and a brother and we are hurting right now. I have no doubt that we will rally together to love and support one another in manner that will honor Marc’s memory.