Friday, January 22, 2010.
ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel’s series on the best of the past decade continues. Yes, there’s more. His latest installment is “Programs of the 2000s.” Maisel has Boise State as the seventh-best over those 10 years, writing, “Once the major conferences cracked open the door to the BCS, the Broncos burst through it. The 43-42 victory over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2006 season brought first-year coach Chris Petersen and the Broncos fame. The 17-10 victory over TCU in the Fiesta Bowl three years later capped a 14-0 season and brought Boise State newfound respect for a newfound decade. No FBS school won more games in the 2000s (112) or more conference titles (eight) than did Boise State. Now, if the Broncos can only get more teams to play them …” Good job, Ivan Maisel.
The Boise State football Fan Fiesta tomorrow to celebrate the January 4 win over TCU is a unique undertaking. There’s no parade this year like there was after the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, but this Fan Fiesta should be a lot more entertaining than a motorcade and some comments on the Statehouse steps. The extravaganza will include dance skits and player-to-player interviews. Look out for Derrell Acrey. It’ll also include Fiesta Bowl president John Junker, who’s become a rather familiar name here the past few years. Fiesta Bowl officials say Boise State is the only team that’s ever asked them to participate in a victory celebration.
No more Boise State Broncos in the NFL Playoffs. And there never were any ex-Idaho Vandals to begin with this year. What we have left in the NFC and AFC Championship Games are two Idaho State products…and a former member of the Boise Burn? That former ISU star Jared Allen leads the Minnesota defense goes without saying. In case you’re counting, Allen has 15½ sacks and six forced fumbles this season. Former Bengal Jeff Charleston is a third-year pro with New Orleans. He’s played in all 17 games for the Saints this season and has 12 tackles, two of them in last week’s playoff rout of Arizona. Then you have the amazing story of Kyle DeVan, who a year ago was planning a season with the now-defunct Burn in af2. DeVan will be starting his 11th consecutive game at right guard for the Colts when they meet the Jets Sunday.
Great players don’t always morph into great coaches, but San Jose State is going to give it a shot with Bryant Young. The former San Francisco 49ers star will coach the defensive line for new Spartan head coach Mike MacIntyre. Young was a graduate assistant last season at Notre Dame. He had an offer as a full-time assistant with Akron but turned it down to join SJSU. Young retired from the NFL in 2007 after 14 seasons that included two Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl ring.
The Las Vegas Wranglers were heated rivals of the Idaho Steelheads just a few years ago. The teams don’t see as much of each other anymore—they’ll meet for only the second time this season and first time in Boise tonight at Qwest Arena as they open a three-game series. There’s some carryover from Wednesday night’s ECHL All-Star Game. The Steelheads’ Evan Barlow and the Wranglers’ Adam Miller played on the same line and were en fuego, collecting two goals and two assists each. Either could have been named the game’s MVP; Barlow happened to get the nod. Barlow is happy to be wearing a Steelies jersey after what happened in Ontario, CA, Wednesday. The public address announcer introduced him as "representing the Utah Grizzlies."
Believe it or not, former Boise State star Roberto Bergersen has passed his 34th birthday. But he’s still playing basketball for the Idaho Stampede. His role is just a little different that it used to be. Bergersen is being used increasingly as a savvy sub rather than a starter by coach Bob MacKinnon. One reason may be Berto’s struggles from the field—he’s just 9-of-32 the past five games and is shooting less than 39 percent for the season. His timing can still be magical, though. Bergersen hit a dagger of a three-pointer in overtime in Tuesday night’s win at Utah, connecting with less than two minutes to play to give the Stamps a seven-point lead they subsequently protected. He and the Stampede play at Albuquerque tomorrow night.
Boise State is not involved in the WAC basketball race, but those who are have a key weekend ahead. There are four big conference games tomorrow night, beginning with Utah State at Idaho. The Aggies have to guard against a letdown versus a Vandal team that’s itching to break out. But USU is coming off a stunning 69-43 trouncing of Fresno State last night at the Save Mart Center. Nevada now visits Fresno just one game of first place in the WAC, because Louisiana Tech suffered its first conference loss last night—shocked by San Jose State, 87-76. La Tech has to finish the longest league road trip in college basketball tomorrow night at Hawaii. Those Bulldogs have fallen into a tie with New Mexico State, which goes to San Jose State tomorrow night—and dares not take anything for granted.
Greg Patton logged win No. 300 as Boise State’s men’s tennis coach last night in a dramatic 4-3 season-opening victory over Oregon. The Broncos lost the doubles point to the Ducks and thus had to win four of the six singles matches to triumph at the Boise Racquet & Swim Club. In the final match of the evening, BSU’s No. 4 player, Cristian Hodel, had to rally from a 3-0 deficit in the third and deciding set to beat Oregon’s Ric Mortera. Meanwhile, Boise State products Troy Merritt and Graham DeLaet have to wait until today to make a move at the Bob Hope Classic. The second round of the tournament was washed out by rain yesterday. Merritt is nine shots off the pace and DeLaet is 10 back.
There’s now a fifth athlete with Idaho ties ticketed for Vancouver next month, as Hailey snowboarder Graham Watanabe qualified for the Winter Olympics. Watanabe locked up his spot on the U.S. team after a second-place finish yesterday at a World Cup snowboardcross race in Stoneham, Quebec. It was a pressurized performance, as it was Watanabe’s final chance at qualifying for the 2010 Winter Games. He competed in the 2006 Olympics in Torino as an alternate after making the field because of a teammate’s injury.
This Day In Sports…January 22, 1951:
A marginal pitcher named Fidel Castro is ejected from a Winter League game after beaning Don Hoak, a future major league infielder. Castro would later give up baseball for politics, and by the end of the decade (after El Revolucion) would become the premier of Cuba.
(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 1350 KTIK/The Ticket. He also handles color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football.)