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Tradition returns to the Bronco-Bulldog rivalry

Tradition returns to the Bronco-Bulldog rivalry

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on April 24, 2013 at 7:31 AM

Wednesday, April 24, 2013.

When it was announced that the Boise State games against Air Force and Fresno State had been moved to Friday night, you could have figured they were ticketed for ESPN.  It’s official now, as the Broncos’ matchups at home against the Falcons September 13 and the one in Fresno September 20 are on ESPN’s schedule.  Boise State’s other Friday night game this season, at BYU on October 25, was already set for ESPN.  The games versus Air Force and the Bulldogs earn Boise State a total of $600,000 in bonus money as part of the new Mountain West TV arrangement.  There’s more to come, as ESPN decides where it wants to plug in the Broncos’ other five home games.

The Boise State-Fresno State game, which has become an annual affair on national TV, returns to ESPN after a one-year hiatus.  The first-ever conference matchup between the Broncos and the Bulldogs was telecast by ESPN in 2001.  It was a launching pad for Boise State, who took down eighth-ranked Fresno State before a stunned Bulldog Stadium audience, 35-30.  The next 10 games between the two schools were on the Worldwide Leader—then last year the Mountain West TV contract relegated it to the NBC Sports Network.  Enjoy the rivalry while you can, though, as the series is scheduled to take a two year hiatus beginning in 2015.

Where Jamar Taylor will go in the NFL Draft this week—and in what round—remains anybody’s guess.  There continues to be a lot of talk about him.  From (in the Boston area): “In our Patriots mock draft, New England takes cornerback Jamar Taylor out of Boise State with the No. 29 overall pick.  Taylor is one of the best press-man corners in the draft, and could fill in for Alfonzo Dennard or Aqib Talib in an instant.  With a one-year deal for Talib, Taylor could play as a reserve for a year before taking over as a starter if Talib can’t be re-signed.”  From SB Nation’s Atlanta Falcons fan site: “All the intangibles check out—his ability to play outside or in the slot, his familiarity with both man and zone coverage schemes, and his likeliness to fit into just about any NFL defense.  The Falcons could possibly trade back into the early second and still nab Taylor.”

Maybe Titus Young will be picked up by some NFL team after the smoke clears from the draft this week.  But many doubt the one-time Boise State star will get another chance until he shows genuine remorse for what’s happened over the past 10 months or so.  Since being cut by the Lions in February for myriad transgressions (and being rejected by the Rams), Young has all but disappeared.  About the only time his name has popped up in the media was last week in the Detroit Free Press, which reported on a short-lived apology.  According to the Free Press, “Young's Twitter account sent the following: ‘I apologize to the Detroit fans.  Thank you, for the 2 years of Love and joy.’  One minute later, he tweeted: ‘Thank Jesus amen.’"  Both tweets, however, disappeared within an hour.

What’s this?  Two Michel Bourgeau shout-outs within a week or so?  Once in a while I get nailed on my Sunday Sports Extra trivia question.  And this past Sunday was one of those “in a whiles.”  I talked about the three players drafted off Boise State’s 1980 national championship team (David Hughes, Rick Woods and Randy Trautman).  I didn’t go through the 1984 draft to double-check for the fourth.  It is there you will find Bourgeau, going in the 11th round to the New Orleans Saints despite three well-documented knee surgeries, including one that ended his senior year in October.  Bourgeau ended up with a distinguised pro career in his native land in the CFL.

The Idaho Steelheads will be without one of the top defensemen in the ECHL when they take the ice against the Ontario Reign in Games 3 and 4 of the ECHL Western Conference semifinals in CenturyLink Arena.  The league has suspended the Steelheads’ Gord Baldwin for two games after being assessed a “leaving the bench to join an altercation” penalty that’s a bit controversial from the Steelheads’ point of view.  But what’s done is done.  Baldwin returned to the Steelheads early in the playoffs after appearing in 29 games with the Texas Stars of the AHL.  The Steelies will do without him tonight and Friday night in a series that’s at a crossroads, tied at a game apiece.  Word is that Patrick Cullity is on his way back from the AHL, though.

The ECHL will be down to 22 teams next season (should there be no further changes).  The league has announced that the Trenton Titans have ceased operations after 14 years.  The Titans, who won the Kelly Cup in 2005, finished third-to-last in the ECHL in attendance this season.  The Trenton ownership group hopes to bring the team back after a year away, but you know how that goes.

Paul George will probably be known as the last player to rise to NBA stardom out of the WAC, at least the WAC as we once knew it.  George, the former Fresno State star, was named the NBA’s 2012-13 Most Improved Player yesterday.  The Indiana Pacers swingman was the overwhelming choice of sportswriters and broadcasters and justified the vote with a triple-double in the Pacers’ playoff win over the Atlanta Hawks Sunday.  There were lots of doubters when George announced in 2010 he was skipping his senior year at Fresno State to enter the NBA Draft, but he ended up as the 10th overall pick.

The Los Angeles Times reports that longtime UCLA assistant Scott Garson, who was cut loose by the Bruins when coach Ben Howland was fired last month, will be the new head coach at the College of Idaho.  Garson joined the UCLA program as video coordinator in 2004 before becoming a full-time assistant when Howland was hired in 2006.  He’ll replace Rod Jensen, the former Boise State coach whose contract wasn’t renewed last month after he went 38-51 in three seasons with the Coyotes.

The L.A. Dodgers are now going to be without Chad Billingsley the rest of the season, as the 28-year-old righthander needs Tommy John surgery.  It’s not the way Borah High grad Stephen Fife wanted to stick in the majors, but his chances are much better now than they were last summer when he made five spot starts for the Dodgers.  Amazingly, L.A. has three of its five starters on the disabled list, with a fourth, Ted Lilly, slated to come off the DL today.  So Fife may be around awhile.  He was called up from Albuquerque as an emergency starter last Sunday when Billingsley was scratched.  Fife is still looking for his first big league victory.

This Day In Sports…April 24, 1967:

The Philadelphia 76ers defeat the San Francisco Warriors, 125-122, to win the NBA championship in six games.  The Sixers went down as one of the greatest teams in NBA history, finishing the regular season at 68-13.  They were led by Wilt Chamberlain, who had moved with the Warriors from Philly to San Francisco five years earlier.  Chamberlain was not as loved by the Bay as in the City of Brotherly Love, and he was traded to the 76ers mid-season in 1965.

(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.)