Thursday, January 7, 2010.
Is eleven years (or nine years in the WAC) enough for the “D” word? The national reaction to Boise State’s Tostitos Fiesta Bowl win over TCU is out there for everyone to see. So what is the perspective in other WAC cities? No better destination than the place that always thought it was ticketed for the fame the Broncos enjoy now. Fresno. Matt James of the Fresno Bee wrote a downer of a column yesterday—if you’re a Fresno State fan. “The Broncos are building a dynasty that could take a decade to dismantle,” said James. “This is not a program doing more with less. Those days are gone. They are doing more with just as much. They are recruiting and spending and building facilities on a BCS level already, so imagine what is to come.
James continues: “Boise State football is now a Fargo winter. You know what's coming, and that information does you no good whatsoever. Say what you want about the local Bulldogs and how they got there, but they are caught in an unfortunate scenario. They play in a conference with a national power, but an overall lack of strength. Translation: You can't win it, and second place is worthless.” The term “dynasty” shouldn’t be thrown around lightly. I don’t know how it can be ignored now, though.
If you’re looking for something influential on a national scale, Pete Thamel wrote a column in the New York Times yesterday headlined, “Boldly, Boise State Moves The Question.” Says Thamel, “After the confetti cleared at the Fiesta Bowl, it became obvious that Boise State did not have to beat an elite team from a BCS conference to join the upper crust of college football next season. The legacy of “Riddler” could provide an answer to some of the questions surrounding the sport’s controversial system for picking a national champion. Can a team from outside a BCS Conference play for the national title? The answer should be a resounding yes.”
Thamel uses the quality of play Monday night to support his argument. “The power and speed of TCU’s defense, and the caliber of skill on Boise State’s offense, are making believers out of more and more college football observers. Could Boise State beat Texas or Alabama? We’ll never know. Could the Broncos play with them? No question.” Thamel also says Boise State will have a “defining star” in 2010 as Kellen Moore begins his junior year.
There’s been no dissing of Boise State from the Horned Frogs’ camp. TCU star senior linebacker Daryl Washington on Moore: "(He) is an unbelievable quarterback. He did some great things and was very accurate with his throws. He has a very quick release. We watched him on film and you would be amazed how quick he can get the ball out. He is a smart quarterback overall and really knows football. You have to give him credit."
Gil Lebreton of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is still trying to absorb TCU’s loss to Boise State. “The idea of (Gary) Patterson and his staff getting outworked and snookered is going to take some time to wrap my hands around,” writes Lebreton. “Boise State coach Chris Petersen apparently confused the TCU offense with a three-man front and by moving All-Western Athletic Conference cornerback Kyle Wilson into a safety role in its nickel and dime alignments. And for whatever reason, the Frogs became unnerved by this, never to recover.”
Now the BCS Championship Game is here, the Alabama-Texas matchup tonight in Pasadena. Shortly thereafter, we’ll find out where Boise State finishes in the rankings. No. 4 is most likely. The other question is: where will TCU finish after its loss to the Broncos? It’ll be a measure of the respect there is out there for BSU if the Horned Frogs are, say, No. 8. That’s my prediction, and I’m stickin’ to it.
You cannot give enough credit to the assist provided by Boise State fans. They were as prepared as their team was. Looking around University of Phoenix Stadium, I’d conservatively estimate 25,000 Bronco faithful this time, slightly less than the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, but considerably more than TCU had in attendance. And hugely impressive in light of the economy. After I saw the throng at the pep rally Sunday (officially estimated at 7,500), I started talking about the noise factor—and I began feeling a lot different about Boise State’s chances in the game. Horned Frog quarterback Andy Dalton said in a Fort Worth Star-Telegram story that he had to go to a silent snap count because of the noise. “We hadn't practiced (it) the whole time because we didn't think we'd have to use it," said Dalton. You weren’t in Poinsettia-land anymore, Toto.
It’s too bad that Bronco Nation thing doesn’t carry over into basketball. The Boise State men’s hoopsters don’t exactly have the same momentum as their football brethren right now. The Broncos are off to an 0-2 start in the WAC after a 76-68 loss at Hawaii Monday night that saw them shoot only 42 percent. They’re not going to win many games when Paul Noonan and Reggie Arnold combine to go 0-for-9. Boise State’s WAC home opener is Saturday night against New Mexico State in Taco Bell Arena.
The backcourt cupboard that was overly full a few days ago was comparatively bare last night when the Idaho Stampede faced the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the D-League Showcase at Qwest Arena. Patty Mills was recalled Sunday by the Blazers, and Stampede scoring leader Sundiata Gaines got a call-up to the Utah Jazz Tuesday. Mills had made his pro debut New Year’s Day with a 38-point night in a win at Reno and scored 22 two nights later. Gaines was the D-League’s fourth-leading scorer, averaging 24 points a game. So, the Stamps found another way to do it last night. Milton Ambres scored 22 points, with Anthony Tolliver and newly-arrived Donell Taylor adding 19 apiece in a 105-100 win. The D-League Showcase ends today, but the Austin Toros will stick around to play the Stampede tomorrow night and Saturday night.
Coby Karl is at a bit of a crossroads right now, having been waived yesterday by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The former Boise State star had spent the whole season with the Cavs but played only five minutes total in three games, with two rebounds and no points. So whatever happens now, it would feel great to Coby to get on the court somewhere. If he isn’t picked up by another NBA team by tomorrow night, well, the Stampede still have his rights in the D-League. Karl could also opt for Europe, but he had a sour experience there after he left the Stampede almost a year ago.
This Day In Sports…January 7, 1972:
The Los Angeles Lakers bury the Atlanta Hawks, 134-90, for their 33rd consecutive victory—the last in what remains an NBA-record winning streak. The Lakers, coached by Bill Sharman and led by MVP Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, would go on to finish 69-13 and win the NBA championship four games-to-one over the New York Knicks.
(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.)