Friday, December 7, 2012.
Here’s how it was originally painted on December 7, 2011: “Hoping to finally find a path to automatic-qualifying status in the BCS system, Boise State moves its football program from the Mountain West into the Big East Conference, effective with the 2013 season. Just three days earlier, the Broncos had been passed over for a BCS bowl despite a No. 7 ranking, the fourth time they had finished in the top 10 and had been left out of college football’s biggest bowls. Boise State was also betting on a dramatic increase in television revenue for the program. At the same time, the Broncos announced their non-football sports would return to the Western Athletic Conference.”
Happy Anniversary. One year later, everything has changed. There will be no BCS system after next year, and the Big East won’t have a guaranteed spot in the newly-dubbed “access bowls.” And, of course, Boise State’s non-football sports are headed for the Big West instead of the WAC. All that remains is what was hoped to be that “dramatic increase in television revenue.” But Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports.com reported yesterday that the new Big East TV deal could be worth only $60 million-$80 million per year. With the conference once estimating that the number would be considerably more than $100 million, that would be a drop of at least 20 to 40 percent. At least. And each Big East school could reap less than $5 million per year from the deal.
Dodd reports, “Boise State can reduce its buyout to leave the Big East if there is a drop of 25 percent in current aggregate total revenue. Also, Boise State can have that fee reduced if less than 70 percent of the new TV contract goes to football.” Dodd again brought up the rumors that Boise State, San Diego State and BYU have contacted the Mountain West about returning. With that said, BSU president Dr. Bob Kustra will tell you this, “Regarding conference realignment, do not worry about where we are right now.” Not a quarter-hour goes by that he doesn’t think about it and/or work on it.
On the field now, Boise State not only knows how to win the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, the Broncos know how to win, period. They haven’t had a regular season losing streak in seven years, since the 2005 team lost the first two games of the season at Georgia and Oregon State. Quarterback Jared Zabransky had a sub-par junior year, although Boise State did still win a share of a fourth straight WAC championship while going 9-4. Sounds familiar, but 2005 was far more disappointing than 2012. Not to say history will ever repeat, but does anyone remember what happened the year after that?
Washington will have double-edged motivation in Las Vegas. The Huskies are trying to expectorate the sour taste of their surprising fourth quarter meltdown in the Apple Cup that led to a 31-28 Washington State overtime victory. And they’d like to avoid a third straight 7-6 season by beating a ranked team for the third time this season, seeking to add the Broncos to Stanford and Oregon State on the UW mantel. "Boise has done it for such an extended period of time," said UW coach Steve Sarkisian. "They have been doing this for year after year after year. So for our guys it's just another opportunity to go play a great football team that is really well-coached on a national stage. That's why these guys chose to come to the University of Washington, to play in these types of games."
Paul Petrino’s coaching staff is starting to take shape at Idaho, according to various reports. The only member of Robb Akey’s staff who appears he’s going to be retained is tight ends coach Al Pupunu, the one-time Weber State Wildcat and San Diego Charger. Interim head coach Jason Gesser will have to move on, and defensive coordinator Mark Criner’s bio has already been removed from the Vandals’ website. Petrino’s hires reportedly include Ronnie Lee as defensive coordinator. Lee is running backs and special teams coach at Indiana State and was secondary coach at Idaho in 1992. Also: Mike Anderson, a former Idaho linebacker who was most recently a grad assistant at Washington, and Bryce Erickson, who’s been coaching high school ball in Oregon but coached running backs for his dad Dennis, the former Idaho coach, at Arizona State.
The Idaho Stampede’s new Portland Trail Blazers single-affiliation era didn’t start so well this season—four straight losses on the road with scoring shrinking game-by-game. But the Stampede are ready for a fresh start, as they make their home debut tonight against Austin in CenturyLink Arena. It’s still early, as coach Mike Peck tries to match Portland’s offensive and defensive systems with his personnel. The Stampede are one of 11 teams with NBA single-affiliation agreements this season in the 16-team D-League. And the association with the Blazers is worth celebrating. It’s a major change in dynamic for Boise’s pro basketball franchise that made its debut 15 years ago in the Continental Basketball Association. The phrase “one call away from the NBA” has never been more true.
Boise State hoops has a week now to pull it back together after Wednesday night’s rout at Utah. One of the Broncos’ biggest non-conference home games in history awaits a week from tonight against LSU. Dating back to last season, Boise State’s Derrick Marks has scored in double figures in 11 conscutive games. But despite putting up 14 points against the Utes, the sophomore guard made some of the same decisions that make coach Leon Rice cringe. Marks picked up his third foul with less than a minute left in the first half. And he was whistled for his fourth when he was called for a technical with 7½ minutes left in the game. Rice talks about this team maturing, and Marks is at the heart of it.
It’s out of the cozy confines now for the Idaho Steelheads as they play at Las Vegas tonight and at Ontario tomorrow and Sunday. The Steelheads have played just seven road games so far, but they’ll be away from Boise for 17 of the next 23 games. On top of that, the Steelies’ top goal-scorer, Kael Mouillierat, has been loaned to the St. John’s IceCaps of the AHL. Mouillierat has potted 14 goals this season and has 55 goals and 64 assists in 117 career games with Idaho. With their potent offense missing some of its scoring punch this weekend, the Steelheads’ special teams will come into play. Idaho's penalty-kill unit has successfully killed off 31 of the last 34 penalties it has faced.
When the Miami Marlins began their jettison of high-salaried players this fall, several general managers were told starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco also is available. Nolasco, the former Boise Hawk who is the highest-paid player remaining on Miami’s roster, is now saying that’s fine with him. His agent told ESPN this week the righthander wants to be traded. Nolasco has pitched some gems for the Marlins and is 76-64 overall in his career, but his ERA is 4.49. He is friends with fired Miami manager Ozzie Guillen and is said to upset about the team’s wholesale purging of talent. Another ex-Hawk, San Diego righthander Andrew Cashner, will be sidelined three months after cutting a tendon in his right thumb. A friend accidentally stabbed Cashner’s hand while the two were cleaning a carcass after hunting.
This Day In Sports…December 7, 2003:
Following a 52-28 win over Oregon State, USC begins a record streak of 33 consecutive weeks atop the AP Poll. The Trojans were ranked No. 1 for the conclusion of the 2003 season, the entire 2004 season and the entire 2005 regular season until falling to No. 2 Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl, 41-38. The 33-week run holds the record by a wide margin, but it is now tainted by the Reggie Bush scandal.
(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.)