ESPN networks to carry MW football championship game

ESPN and the Mountain West have reached an agreement for rights to the conference’s annual football championship game, enhancing an existing multimedia pact through the 2019-20 season.

The MW title game, played at the site of the divisional champion with the highest College Football Playoff Selection Committee ranking, will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 every season, beginning with the 2015 matchup on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 5:30 p.m. MT on ESPN2.

The football title contest adds to an extensive deal, which began with the 2013 season, that provides ESPN with exclusive worldwide rights to televise up to 16 Mountain West football games, plus every Boise State home game, as well as up to 31 conference-controlled men’s basketball games annually.

According to the contract with the MW and ESPN, MW football teams that have regular-season games carried on ESPN or ESPN2 during the regular season receive appearance bonuses. If games are televised on Saturdays, each team receives a $500,000 appearance bonus. If the games are on days other than Saturday, they get $300,000.

A spokesperson from the MW office said Friday that there will be no appearances bonuses for teams that play in the MW championship game.

CBS televised last year’s title game, and the game was played at 8:15 p.m. MT — not good for fans or TV ratings.

A late afternoon kickoff is much better for everyone involved. ESPN exposure is always a good thing, although the appearance bonuses would have been even nicer for the schools involved.

Overall, this is a good move for the MW. What do you think, folks?

 

Nance Jr. measures up at NBA Draft Combine

Former Wyoming men’s basketball player (kind of sounds weird to read that, doesn’t it) Larry Nance Jr. is currently at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and will be there through the weekend.

Larry Nance Jr.

Larry Nance Jr.

Similar to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, players go through a wide range of sport-specific tests. With the NBA Draft Combine, players also will play games for scouts and NBA team officials to watch, and interviews will be held.

Here are some of Nance’s specifics:

Height without shoes: 6-7 1/2

Height with shoes: 6-8 1/2

Weight: 226.6

Body fat percentage: 6.4

Hand length: 9.0 inches

Hand width: 9.75 inches

Standing reach: 9 feet

Wingspan: 7-feet, 1.5 inches

Lane agility time: 10.89 seconds

Shuttle run: 3.01 seconds

3/4-court sprint: 3.25 seconds

Standing vertical jump: 29 inches

Maximum vertical jump: 37.5 inches. That tied for the best jump among all power forwards at the combine.

Here’s the link to all the measurables for all the players at this year’s NBA Draft Combine:
http://stats.nba.com/draftcombine/#!/anthro/?ls=iref:nba:specialst3b

Nance played in the Combine’s first 5-on-5 game Thursday afternoon, and finished with eight points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots in 21 minutes. He was 3 of 6 from the field and had five offensive rebounds. Nance was 2 of 7 from the free-throw line, which is uncharacteristic of him as he was well over a 70 percent free-throw shooter at UW.

Friday, Nance had four points, seven rebounds (four offensive), four turnovers and three fouls. He was 2 of 5 from the field.

Nance received some high praise from the broadcast team from ESPN2 during Thursday’s game. Friday, ESPN’s Fran Frachilla said he thinks Nance will be drafted in the second round, but may spend some time in the NBA’s Developmental League..

Nance will not be with four of his senior teammates in Laramie this weekend for graduation ceremonies. However, UW sent this picture of those guys along with coach Larry Shyatt.

From left to right, Jack Bentz, Charles Hankerson Jr., Derek Cooke Jr., Larry Nance Jr. and Riley Grabau pose with coach Larry Shyatt as all five Wyoming men's basketball seniors will receive their degrees this weekend. Photo from UW.

From left to right, Jack Bentz, Charles Hankerson Jr., Derek Cooke Jr., Larry Nance Jr. and Riley Grabau pose with coach Larry Shyatt as all five Wyoming men’s basketball seniors will receive their degrees this weekend. Photo from UW.

UW football to be on national TV six times in 2015

Wyoming’s football game at San Diego State on Saturday, Nov. 14 will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. MT.

The Mountain West released its football schedule of Saturday games that will be televised by CBS Sports Network and ESPN’s family of networks.

UW’s games at Air Force on Saturday, Oct. 10, versus Nevada Saturday, Oct. 17, at Boise State Saturday, Oct. 24 and versus Colorado State Nov. 7 will be carried on ESPN’s family of networks. However, which network and times for those games have yet to be determined.

If any of those games are televised on ESPN or ESPN2, UW and its opponent will receive a $500,000 appearance bonus per the Mountain West’s national television contract.

UW’s game at Utah State will be played on Friday, Oct. 30 and carried by ESPN2. Both schools will receive a $300,000 appearance bonus.

Question now is will UW get any more appearance bonuses for those games against Air Force, Nevada, Boise State and Colorado State. And, what will be the times for those games?

Continue reading

Some final UW spring football notes, quotes and video

Some observations and quotes from Wyoming’s spring football game Saturday in Laramie.

–The hit of the game came in the first half when redshirt freshman free safety Chavez Pownell Jr. drilled junior wide receiver Tanner Gentry over the middle. Pownell was penalized for targeting, which could lead to an ejection in a real game. As a learning lesson, UW coach Craig Bohl had Pownell sit the rest of the game.

Tanner Gentry

Tanner Gentry

“I looked up for the ball and he made a really good hit,” Gentry said. “He put his helmet right in my chest. It didn’t feel too good, but he made a good play on the ball and it was a good hit. There was nothing dirty about it.”

Gentry was shaken up on the play, but he came back and played the second half. He led the Gold team with five catches for 62 yards.

Added Pownell: “The quarterback was looking down Tanner, I knew the post was coming so I ended up breaking on the play and it was just football after that. We did all this hard work during the spring and winter conditioning so I just wanted to play.”

–Gentry was one of only three wide receivers who caught passes in the spring game for either team. Junior Jake Maulhardt sat out with a sprained shoulder. “I feel like we have a lot of work to do, for sure,” Gentry said. “We definitely have to get better. I feel like we progressed pretty well this spring. We have to have a great summer.”

UW has four true freshmen receivers that join the team this summer.

Here is Bohl talking with the media after the spring game.


Continue reading

UW spring football game live chat replay

Here’s the replay of WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s live chat during the University of Wyoming’s spring football game on Saturday, April 25.

The Brown team defeated the Gold 24-21 in front of an announced crowd of 1,375 at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

For more UW sports coverage, see the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Live Blog Wyoming spring football game live chat

Thornton gives his take on UW’s quarterbacks this spring

Wyoming junior Tom Thornton ended last season as the Cowboys’ backup quarterback.

Prior to the start of spring drills, Thornton was one of six scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. With a logjam there, UW moved him to wide receiver.

Tom Thornton

Tom Thornton

Thornton’s transition to receiver is still a work in progress, but he’s happy with the move. For more on that, see Saturday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

Earlier this week, I asked Thornton what he thought of the play of UW’s four quarterbacks this spring: senior Cameron Coffman, sophomore and junior college transfer Josh Allen, redshirt freshman Nick Smith and redshirt sophomore Aaron Young.

Coffman was named the starter earlier in spring drills. Allen is currently listed as the backup, followed by Smith and Young.

“I think they’re doing a great job. Going form last year to now, you can see their knowledge of the offense has improved.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

“Cam has looked fantastic. His accuracy is on point. His reads are on point. I think he’s goin to have an unbelievable year. Josh is doing well, but is the newest guy. He has an unbelievable arm. He needs to know when to tone it down a little bit. He threw a screen pass bout 90 miles an hour. He’s starting to pick up the offense. Nick’s is doing a solid job and Aaron is as well.”

Thornton also said that losing redshirt freshman Austin Fort “kind of sucks.” Fort was moved from quarterback to tight end last week. Soon after that, UW announced Fort will transfer.

Continue reading

Bach another in long line of German-born players on UW’s football roster

Wyoming has had a football player on its roster from Germany since 2011, and this season, junior linebacker Eric Nzeocha is competing for a starting spot at middle linebacker.

But there’s another German on the roster who also is competing for playing time at linebacker.

Luis Bach is a 6-foot-2, 208-pound true freshman from Burgoberbach, Germany. He enrolled at UW in January, and played high school-aged football in Germany with Eric Nzeocha and his older brother, Mark.

“Ever since the Nzeochas got over here I was interested in the program,” Bach said. “Mark, Eric and (former UW linebacker Alex Borgs — also from Germany) have all been talking to me and helping me out.”

Bach said some colleges in the United States wanted him to attend their football camps last summer to see him in person. He attended camps at UW and North Dakota State. Bach said he showed enough to the Cowboys’ coaching staff, despite pulling a hamstring, that they offered him a chance to walk on.

Continue reading

UW sports live chat replay

Here’s the replay of WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi’s weekly live chat on University of Wyoming sports on Thursday, April 23.

Some great conversation and opinions on football, men’s basketball and other UW related sports topics.

Also, join Gagliardi for another live chat from UW’s spring football game, starting at 2 p.m. Saturday. Links will be at wyosports.net and wyomingcowboysblog.com.

Live Blog University of Wyoming sports live chat

Quarterbacks picking it up as spring drills draw to an end

There hasn’t been much drama with Wyoming’s quarterbacks in terms of who would be named the starter.

Cameron Coffman

Cameron Coffman

Senior Cameron Coffman was that guy just after UW’s first scrimmage of the spring a couple of weeks ago. Junior college transfer and sophomore Josh Allen remains the No. 2 quarterback.

But one thing second-year coach Craig Bohl has been disappointed with in UW’s two spring scrimmages has been the completion percentage from all of UW’s quarterbacks. The four currently on the roster now are a combined 26 of 66, a completion percentage of 39.3 percent.

Coffman has the best percentage at just under 50 percent at 13 of 27.

Allen, we’ve been told, has a big arm but is still learning to control it — as well as learn UW’s offense. In the two scrimmages Allen is 6 of 17.

Bohl said at the start of Wednesday’s 13th practice of the spring that Monday’s practice was the best day all of UW’s quarterbacks had throwing and completing passes. However, after Wednesday’s Bohl said said he’s still seeing a few too many errant throws and decisions.

Continue reading

UW looking ahead to final week of spring drills

Wyoming begins its final week of spring drills Monday with the first of three practices, capped by the spring game at 2 p.m. Saturday in Laramie.
Here is what some of the players and coaches said they hope to accomplish this week:
Craig Bohl

Craig Bohl

–“We’re going to continue to get some padded work. There won’t be a lot of scrimmage downs. We’ll look at redefining the packages that we do have. There will be some more evaluation, but the cream is starting to rise to the crop.” — coach Craig Bohl

–“We have one more week now to get better and get ready for the spring game. At first spring practice was just a lot of install. Now we’ve got everything pretty much installed and now it’s just getting more comfortable with everything every day. I felt more comfortable this week than I did in last week’s scrimmage and I’m hoping to say the same thing Saturday. I’m hoping I can take that next step and feel really comfortable with the offense in the spring game.” — senior quarterback Cameron Coffman

Continue reading