Tuesday, June 25, 2013.
The separation of the classes in college football continues. Eventually there’ll be, in effect, a new Division I-AA, and the Mountain West will probably be part of it. More indication of that came yesterday, when the Big Ten and Pac-12 struck deals for the Holiday Bowl and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl beginning in 2014, further restricting the chances of non-BCS schools to ply their wares against the five power conferences. The Holiday in San Diego doesn’t affect the Mountain West, but the Fight Hunger in San Francisco (moving to the 49ers’ new stadium in Santa Clara next year) is one that had in the past been accessible to non-BCS schools. The power conferences have found a way to circle the wagons, and the fallout is beginning to be felt.
The Las Vegas Bowl, Boise State’s destination the past three years, seems to be secure with its matchup of the Mountain West against a Pac-12 opponent for now. But unless an arrangement with the proposed Christmas Bowl in Los Angeles comes to pass, the Vegas game will be the Mountain West’s only postseason matchup against a power conference school after this year, as the Pac-12 has dropped the New Mexico Bowl after this season. The Albuquerque game is said to be hooking up with Conference USA. Furthermore, it looks like the Las Vegas Bowl will drop in the Pac-12’s pecking order.
This increasing crevasse between the haves and have-nots seems to be the reason Boise State is not included in an ESPN.com crystal ball list of the top 25 teams most likely to compete for and win championships over the next three seasons. They call it the College Football Future Power Rankings. Travis Haney, Brock Huard, Tom Luginbill, Todd McShay and Mark Schlabach rated programs in five different categories (Coaching, Current Talent, Recruiting, Title Path and Program Power) to generate an overall score. There’s not a single non-BCS team on the list. Looks like TCU (No. 19) skedaddled to the Big 12 just in the nick of time.
Respected ESPN.com writer Ivan Maisel took note. “The biggest surprise is the omission of Boise State,” writes Maisel. “Perhaps everyone not in the top five conferences will suffer in the playoff era. But I don’t buy that. If the Broncos aren’t among the Top 25 programs in 2016, that means head coach Chris Petersen has finally been lured away from Boise. And I don’t buy that, either. Petersen is the winningest active FBS coach. How good is his 84-8 record? If Boise State goes 0-12 this season, Petersen’s record of 84-20 would still be fourth among active coaches.”
Michel Bourgeau, director of the Varsity B Club at Boise State, has glued together Bronco athletes of the past during his tenure. He keeps in contact with an informative semi-annual newsletter, and sometimes there’s sad news mixed in with the good. There was one Bronco athlete who passed away recently that we didn’t know about, and he bears mentioning. Bill Otey, a member of Boise State’s first four-year basketball teams in 1968-69 and 1969-70, died earlier this month in Washington, D.C. Otey to this day holds the top two single-season rebounding marks in Bronco history, averaging 17.3 per game as a junior and 13.0 as a senior. Think about that. Otey was inducted into the Boise State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991.
Titus Young, who faces four felony charges and 11 overall for his crime spree in Southern California last month, missed his court date yesterday in Orange County, but his lawyer covered for him. Attorney Altus W. Hudson II said he explained to the judge that Young was absent for “personal reasons” and that he knows where Young is, and “he is safe.” The judge held a bench warrant but will issue it for the former Boise State standout if he doesn’t appear for his next court date next Tuesday.
It’ll be one tired bunch of Boise Hawks who roll back into town today, lugging with them a four-game losing streak. The Hawks were up late in rain-soaked Spokane last night, falling to the Indians 5-3 in 11 innings. Boise had tied it in the ninth only to see Spokane’s Chris Garia hit a walk-off two-run home run in the 11th. Tonight the Hillsboro Hops come to Boise for the first time since they were known as the Yakima Bears. The Hawks were part of the final Northwest League game ever played in Yakima last September when they eliminated the Bears from the playoffs. Fans there were resigned to the team’s fate—only 368 showed up that night.
This guy deserves a couple victories. But since he doesn’t have them, he’ll have to settle for Northwest League Pitcher of the Week honors. Boise Hawks right-hander Paul Blackburn nabbed the award after posting a 0.00 ERA in 10 innings of work over tow starts. Blackburn has allowed just five hits and has struck out 12—and obviously hasn’t yielded an earned run. He was a supplemental first-round pick of the Cubs in the 2012 draft. Blackburn is due to start again tomorrow night if today’s weather doesn’t mess up the rotation. If it doesn’t, the Hawks go back to the top of their rotation tonight with Opening Night starter James Pugliese.
The ramp-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics is beginning, and this is a good sign for Hilary Knight of Sun Valley. She has been named to the USA Women’s hockey team after making it through a selection camp at Lake Placid that whittled 41 hopefuls to a 25-player roster. Knight, a 23-year-old forward, played for the U.S. in the 2010 Vancouver Games, registering one goal and seven assists in five games. The former Wisconsin Badger has played in three world championship tournaments since.
This Day In Sports…June 25, 1999:
Two years to the day after being drafted in the first round by San Antonio, Tim Duncan is named Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals after the Spurs finish off the New York Knicks, four games to one. Playing alongside eventual Hall of Famer David Robinson, Duncan averaged 27.4 points and 14 rebounds per game in the series. It was San Antonio’s first-ever trip to the championship round. Incidentally, the point guard for the Knicks was Chris Childs, the first (and still only) former Boise State player ever to appear in the NBA Finals.
(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.)