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Could be a different kind of December day on the blue

Could be a different kind of December day on the blue

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on May 23, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 4:43 PM

Wednesday, May 23, 2012.

It was one thing for Boise State to play in its first-ever bowl game in Bronco Stadium in the 1999 Humanitarian Bowl.  Imagine the clamor for a Big East championship game on the blue turf.  That could happen as early as 2013, with the Big East choosing to hold its first title game at a campus site as opposed to a neutral field.  It would have to be a pretty passionate place outside of the Big East’s footprint to draw more than a smattering of fans to a neutral-site championship tilt.  So this makes sense.  Now, what divisional foes would the Broncos have to beat out to get there?  That’s still up in the air.  The Big East says the divisions won’t necessarily be drawn along geographical lines (like there are any in this conference).  Boise State and San Diego State could be in separate divisions—but still play each other every year.

After the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl houses a WAC representative for the final time this season, there may be room for the game in the Big East’s bowl stable.  Nothing will be decided until the conference sees what kind of wrenching changes there are (and there will be some wrenching ones) at the top of the bowl system.  But now that Boise State and San Diego State are aboard for 2013—as of right now—Big East senior associate commissioner Nick Carparelli says the league will be looking to Texas and out West to see what’s available.

Boise State fans are undoubtedly anxious to hear more about this.  Tampa Bay waived former Bronco wide receiver Tyler Shoemaker late Monday.  Shoemaker was listed as "waived/left squad" which is taken to mean he decided to leave the team.  Shoemaker had signed as a free agent with the Buccaneers 3½ weeks ago after going undrafted.  The Mountain View High grad broke Boise State’s single-season record for touchdown catches last year with 16, while tying for the team lead with 62 receptions and coming within six yards of a thousand-yard season.

The Boise School District listened to the passionate pleas of the Idaho SportsTalk denizens about four weeks ago.  The christening of Dona Larsen Park had been planned for Friday, August 31, directly opposite Boise State’s season opener at Michigan State, with the inaugural game pitting Boise High against Vallivue.  Justice prevails, as a request has been placed with the Idaho High School Activities Association to move the grand opening up a week to August 24—and to switch the matchup to the longest-running intra-city rivalry, Boise vs. Borah.  Furthermore, the Boise-Vallivue game has been pushed up a day to August 30 to avoid the conflict with the Broncos on ESPN.  Bravo.  This will be a great night for the city and for high school football.

Several news items out of the Boise State basketball program.  The Broncos have signed 6-9 forward Vukasin Vujovic of Belgrade, Serbia.  ”Vukasin is one of the top power forwards in his age group in Serbia, one of the top basketball playing countries in the world,” coach Leon Rice said.  Vujovic played for his country’s U16 team in 2009, leading the squad to a bronze medal at the European Championships.  Rice has also awarded a scholarship to walk-on mainstay Jeff Elorriaga, who has started 27 of his 56 games as a Bronco.  Elorriaga is a defensive sparkplug and led Boise State in three-point percentage last season.  Rice also confirmed that Jarrell Crayton and Drew Wiley have left the program.  Crayton has already been announced as a transfer by Montana State-Billings.

One of the key ingredients in Don Verlin’s turnaround of the Idaho basketball program has been top assistant Ray Lopes.  Now, Lopes goes eight miles to the west, as Ken Bone has hired him onto the Washington State staff.  Lopes has spent the last four seasons with the Vandals after helping coach Bryan Gates and the Idaho Stampede to their lone D-League championship in 2008.  Lopes has reinvented his career after resigning under pressure as Fresno State head coach in 2005.  He admitted at the time that he had violated NCAA rules on telephone contact with recruits.  Lopes played college basketball under Marty Holly at the College of Idaho.

The inaugural Exergy Tour already has a prestigious spot on the women’s cycling calendar.  Not only is it among the final tuneups for the 2012 Summer Olympics, it’s also the only UCI 2.1 designated race (meaning elite multi-day event) for ladies this year in North America.  It comes 10 years after the final Women’s Challenge, the grueling event that toured Southwest Idaho’s valleys and mountains from 1984-2002.  The Exergy Tour kicks off with a prologue in Boise tomorrow night, starting in Julia Davis Park, circling in front of the Depot, and heading back to the park.

Boise State senior Damian Hume will face Kentucky’s Alex Musialek in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships today in Athens, GA.  Musialek, also a senior, is 28-10 this season and is in the second group of seeded players, ranging from Nos. 9-16 nationally.  Hume, with a 30-6 record, is the 10th player in Boise State history to make the individual side of the NCAA Tournament. 

The College of Idaho baseball team got a state sendoff yesterday when it met with Gov. Butch Otter at the Capitol.  Otter, a C of I graduate, saluted the Coyotes on their first trip to the NAIA World Series in 10 years.  The Yotes are 41-19 and will head north to Lewiston to face Point Park of Pennsylvania to open the series Friday.  C of I is not one of the six seeds in the 10-team tournament, so if the Coyotes stay alive throughout, they could play five games in six days.

This Day In Sports…May 23, 1998:

Having just pitched a perfect game against Minnesota—that coming after retiring the final 10 batters in his previous start against Kansas City—the Yankees’ David Wells extends his AL-record string of consecutive outs to 38 when Red Sox leadoff hitter Darren Lewis grounds out in the first inning.  However, his streak would come to an end when Boston’s second batter, Darren Bragg, reached base on a short, high pop that was lost in the sun.  The Yankees went on to win nevertheless, 12-3.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket.  He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)