The Southern Utah football team may still be reeling from two straight whip-pings by Big Sky teams, but that hasn't dampened the school's interest in joining the conference.
The Cedar City school has come a long way in the last few years, moving up to Division I-A in basketball and I-AA in football. SUU is keeping its eye on the game of conference dominoes going on all over the country, particularly in regards to the Big Sky.With Boise State and Idaho being seriously considered by the Big West Conference, which has been depleted by the recent WAC expansion, SUU is looking to fill any void in the Big Sky.
"We're looking with interest at what's happening with the Big Sky and Big West and where we might end up," said SUU athletic director/football coach Jack Bishop. "I think we would be a natural in the Big Sky with Weber State and Northern Arizona."
Arnie Sgalio, the assistant commissioner of the Big Sky Conference indicated that Southern Utah would be a possibility for his conference.
"The next two years a lot of things will shake down," said Sgalio. "We've had no serious talks, but Southern Utah certainly would be an option."
SUU, which has beaten a few Big Sky schools in basketball and two years ago defeated both Northern Arizona and Idaho State in football, gets one more shot at the Big Sky this year. On Oct. 15, the T-Birds will play host to Weber State.
POOR TIMING: Talk about a case of bad timing.
Idaho State University athletic director Randy Hoffman contends in a letter made public this week that the Pocatello school is a better choice than the University of Idaho to jump from NCAA Division I-AA to I-A in football. This news comes on the heels of Saturday's 66-0 loss to Utah.
As stated above, the Big West Conference is interested in Idaho and Boise State becoming members, but has never considered Idaho State. The Idaho Board of Education will consider the schools' requests to make the move next week.
While Idaho has competed favorably against I-A schools, beating Utah and Colorado State the last two years, Idaho State has beaten just one I-AA school in three years.
BIAKABUTUKA FOR HEISMAN: With Michigan's Tyrone Wheatley out, how about Wolverine tailback Tshimanga Biakabutuka for the Heisman? The sophomore came off the bench to rush for 100 yards and a touchdown, the second time in as many weeks he has scored and hit triple figures in rushing yards. But Biakabutuka, who was born in Africa and grew up in Canada, is expected to see a reduced role if Wheatley comes back next week against Colorado.
PICKS: Last week, Michigan spoiled a perfect week here, although it wasn't too upsetting for us to see Notre Dame lose. As for this week . . .
Utah at Oregon, 2 p.m. - After stomping Idaho State last week, the Utes get a real test with a Pac-10 team. The injury-depleted Ducks will bounce back from last week's loss in Hawaii, but not enough beat the Utes . . . Utah 27-23.
Colorado State at BYU, noon - The casual fan may not know how good the Rams are this year. Picked for third in the WAC, CSU has looked good in two victories this year. But the game is in Provo and the Cougars have extra incentive, going for LaVell's 200th win . . . BYU 30-20.
Utah State at Ohio, 11 a.m. - We don't know anything about Ohio except that it's not Ohio State . . . Utah State 20-16.
Montana State at Weber State, 6 p.m. - We don't know anything about Montana State except that it has a former BYU quarterback in Brock Spencer and is a lot better than Western Montana and Montana Tech, Weber's first two victims . . . Montana State 31-24.
Western State at Southern Utah, 7 p.m. - We don't know anything about Western State, period . . . SUU 32-10.
No. 13 UCLA at No. 2 Nebraska - The Bruins only beat SMU by 7? Good luck against the Cornhuskers, who don't want to be No. 1, yet . . . Nebraska 31-20.