Wednesday, December 26, 2012.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen was classic in his KBOI postgame show after the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas last Saturday. Amidst the euphoria of the victory, Bob Behler asked him about playing Washington again to open next season. Replied Petersen, “I probably won’t think of that for…about three days.” His three days are up. It’s not seriously on his mind yet, but he knows what he’ll be facing at the grand re-opening of Husky Stadium August 31. Washington loses just two starters on offense and three on defense—the only big name departing is cornerback Desmond Trufant. The UW offensive line will be healthy again. And consider the running back position. That was supposed to be Jesse Callier’s job until he was injured in the opener. Bishop Sankey took over, and man did he take over. Both Callier and Sankey will be back.
Whoever lost the game in Las Vegas was going to carry it in the gut until next August, and it is Washington who bears the burden. "It hurts," said Husky wide receiver Kasen Williams after the game. "And the worst part is you have to live with it for nine months until we get the opportunity to play them again. We just have to continue to drive and get better, and this is going to be our edge. This is what we are going to have on our backs while we are working out because we know we are going to have the opportunity to play them again."
Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley looked at the Huskies this way: “I've always believed this is the year-before-the-year for Washington. Next season could be memorable, with the young offensive line a year older and the defense seasoned with another spring under Justin Wilcox; with quarterback Keith Price, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, receiver Kasen Williams, running back Bishop Sankey and linebackers Shaq Thompson and John Timu returning; and another good recruiting class arriving.” OBNUG.com’s Kevan Lee had a good label for the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas: “the prematch.” That’s all the hype for now. It’ll resume soon enough.
There were several entries into Boise State’s postseason record book coming out of Las Vegas. The records go back 30 games to the Broncos’ first postseason appearance as a four-year school, the 1971 Camellia Bowl win over Chico State in Sacramento. We’ve already mentioned Michael Frisina tying the mark for field goals in a game with three. Holden Huff equaled the record for touchdown receptions in a game with two, the eighth time that’s been done (Drisan James was the last in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl). Joe Southwick is tied for third for most pass completions in a game with 26 against Washington, Shane Williams-Rhodes is third in kickoff return yards with his 135, and the Broncos as a team had the third-highest postseason completion percentage at 69.2 percent. There you go.
Rod Couch, a longtime Bronco chronicler, has this nugget for us. With Boise State's bowl victory over Washington, the Broncos tied the modern college football record for consecutive 11-win seasons with five. The mark is shared with Nebraska (1993-97), Florida State (1996-2000) and Oklahoma (2000-04). Boise State’s seven straight 10-win seasons are tied for fifth in modern college football history.
Catching up on coaching movement the past week. Barry Sacks, Pokey Allen’s defensive line coach at Boise State from 1993-96, now fills the same post at Cal. Sacks has been on the Nevada staff the past 11 years and is known in Reno as “the man who found Colin Kaepernick.” Departing Cal is another former Pokey assistant, Ron Gould, who’s the new head coach at UC Davis. Gould spent 16 seasons in Berkeley after leaving Boise State. Also at Cal, Randy Stewart is the new secondary coach. Stewart played for the Broncos and got his coaching start at Boise State. He’s best known for his long-time stint as one of Pat Hill’s lieutenants at Fresno State.
Jeff Pitman, the former Melba Mustang who played at Boise State and later became Dan Hawkins’ strength and conditioning coach with the Broncos, has taken the same job on former BSU offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin’s new staff at Arkansas State. There could be a couple more assistants with Boise State ties announced by Harsin in coming days. Elsewhere, former Idaho Vandal Joel Thomas leaves his running backs post at Washington to take the same job with Arkansas. Unforturnately for the Broncos, he leaves Mr. Sankey behind.
This is left over from Brett McMurphy’s original ESPN.com story on Boise State seeking TV rights for its home games from the Mountain West and the Big East. Sources had all sorts of things to say, like this: "Boise reminds me of the teenage recruit who is starting to believe he's the biggest star in town," a source said. "It might be a pretty big letdown when all is said and done. Actually the sentiment of 'who do they think they are' is starting to seep into conversations with folks across college football. Let's remember this isn't Alabama, or even Texas Tech, we're talking about. This sorry episode is starting to make it seem like Boise is one of the power assets in college football. In reality their value is relative to the conference they belong to." Well, “source,” I think that’s exactly the point the Broncos are trying to make. Don’t you just love it when “source” talks?
Mountain West basketball is making a pretty compelling argument for Boise State to stay put right now. The conference is now No. 2 in college hoops RPI ratings at TeamRankings.com, behind only the Big Ten. Yes, the MW is ahead of even the Big East, Catholic schools and all. And Boise State is helping, currently No. 38 on the RPI list. There are currently two Mountain West teams in the AP Poll, San Diego State at No. 17 and UNLV at No. 20. There were three last week, but New Mexico fell out of the polls after its stunning loss in The Pit to South Dakota State. Wyoming, like the Lobos, is bubbling under the Top 25. The Cowboys are one of only five unbeaten teams remaining among the 347 Division I schools. SDSU, by the way, almost knocked off No. 3 Arizona in the Diamond Head Classic championship game last night before falling 68-67.
It’s intersectional basketball tonight for the Idaho Stampede, as they host the Maine Red Claws in CenturyLink Arena. The Stampede’s single affiliation agreement with the Portland Trail Blazers is a great arrangement in the long run, but it hasn’t done much to light a fire under the Boise populace yet. The Stampede have the worst record in the D-League at 1-10. They’re shooting 40 percent from the field and are being outscored by an average of more than 12 points per game. Maine comes in tonight at 7-4.
This Day In Sports…rewind a day to Christmas, 1999:
Rebounding from an 0-12 record the previous season, Hawaii completes its stunning turnaround under first-year head coach June Jones by beating Oregon State, 23-17, at the Oahu Bowl. The Warriors finished 9-4 to record the best-ever one-season reversal of fortune in NCAA history. One of those wins was a come-from-behind 34-19 decision over Boise State at Aloha Stadium in September. Jones looked right at home back in Honolulu on Christmas Eve, when his SMU Mustangs spanked Fresno State in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, 43-10.
(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.)