Tuesday, July 10, 2012.
Following up on my Sunday Sports Extra subject this week: “What They’re Saying.” That would be college football preview magazines. Sitting here in Boise, it’s easy to say that Boise State should be perhaps in the mid-teens in preseason rankings. After all, those stellar recruiting years Chris Petersen has lined up since the first Fiesta Bowl should bear massive fruit, should they not? That’s the party line in Broncoville. Athlon Sports and Lindy’s both have Boise State at No. 24 this season, while Phil Steele buries the Broncos, comparatively speaking, at No. 38. Who’s more realistic: Bronco Nation, Athlon and Lindy’s, or proud Phil? We won’t know until this fall. On offense, the loss of Kellen Moore is huge, and the exit of Doug Martin is almost as significant. But there’s widespread confidence Boise State can retool its offense and move forward.
There’s much less of a presumption that the Broncos can restock the defense so seamlessly. How do you lose three NFL Draft picks, one of them a first-rounder, and five NFL training camp invitees overall off a defensive line and honestly think there’s not going to be some kind of effect? Take another NFL Draft selection out of the secondary and remove two four-year mainstays at linebacker and put yourself in the pollsters’ shoes. When you really think about it, maybe those No. 24 rankings from Athlon and Lindy’s are a show of respect—proof that the Broncos have earned their stripes.
Boise State's 2013 game against Tennessee-Martin, originally revealed more than four months ago by various sources, has officially been announced by the Broncos. But the confirmation was wrapped around a more significant news item: BSU will play UTM on September 7 next year, and the season opener at Washington that christens the new Husky Stadium will move up to August 31. That positions the Boise State-UW game for premium treatment on national TV.
As for conferences old and new, WAC interim commissioner Jeff Hurd tells the Statesman the conference needs to decide within 30 days whether it’s going to move forward past June 30, 2013. As it stands now, the league will have two remaining football-playing members at that time and just four fully-committed schools for all sports. Then we have the Line of the Day from Fresno Bee columnist Marek Warszawski. “All these years, Fresno State viewed the Mountain West Conference as the pretty girl at the dance who always had her arms wrapped around someone else. And now that it's finally the Bulldogs' turn, they find out she has acne, crooked teeth and onion breath.”
I’ve been wondering about this myself. Will San Diego State’s Ryan Katz, the former Oregon State quarterback, be an impact four-year transfer by the time he plays on the blue turf in November? A reader asks Stewart Mandel about Katz this week in his College Football Mailbag, noting that transfer QBs have rarely pulled that off—an exception being Troy Aikman going to UCLA from Oklahoma. Writes Mandel: “The flameout rate is certainly high, but while Aikman may be one of the few wildly successful transfers, I don't think San Diego State is counting on Katz to be the next Aikman. I think the Aztecs would be plenty happy if he were merely the next Nick Foles (Michigan State to Arizona), Ryan Mallett (Michigan to Arkansas), Colt Brennan (Colorado to Hawaii), Max Hall (Arizona State to BYU) or Jevan Snead (Texas to Ole Miss).”
Katz will be the only Aztec who’s ever played in Bronco Stadium. He faced Boise State two years ago as a Beaver in the main event the day ESPN College GameDay came to town. Katz was just 12-of-26 for 159 yards and was sacked four times in Oregon State’s 37-24 loss to the Broncos. Katz was bumped at OSU last year by freshman Sean Mannion and elected to exit Corvallis.
Here’s a new twist on blue turf. The playing surfaces at the Olympic field hockey venues, which have utilized artificial turf since 1980, will be blue instead of green in this year’s Summer Games. The New York Times story on London’s Riverbank Stadium gave Boise State the obligatory nod. Get this—officials believe the blue field (with sideline areas in bright pink) will help make the ball easier to see, for both fans attending in person and those watching on TV. For the record, the USA women’s field hockey team will be wearing red uniforms, not blue. But the Mountain West does not have a seat on the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The Boise Hawks suffered through one disastrous inning last night, and that was plenty for Yakima. The Bears jumped on the Hawks with six runs in the sixth en route to a 10-4 victory at County Stadium. Yakima sent 10 batters to the plate in the frame and collected four hits. Boise contributed by hitting two batters and walking two more. Hawks hitting coach Bill Buckner had to manage the game after manager Mark Johnson was ejected for arguing an infield hit in the first inning. The Hawks are now 8-17 as they get their first night off this season, breaking for the All-Star Game tonight.
The Treasure Valley’s two representatives at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship have a chance to advance to match play but need solid outings today. Eagle’s Ty Travis and Boise’s Steve Tarkon are on the bubble after the first round at Soldier Hollow Golf Course in Midvale, UT. Travis, who now plays for Weber State, carded a two-over 73 and is tied for 48th place. Tarkon was one shot behind Travis, three-over at 74, but that group is tied for 67th. The top 64 players after today’s second round of stroke play move on to match play tomorrow. Moscow’s Chris Williams, a Washington Husky standout who is one of the nation’s top amateurs, shot an even-par 71 and is tied for 18th.
This Day In Sports…July 10, 1984:
On the 50th anniversary of Carl Hubbell’s legendary five consecutive strikeouts in the All-Star Game, the National League has déjà vu as it beats the American League 3-1 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela struck out the side in the fourth, and Mets rookie Dwight Gooden did the same in the fifth. The six straight strikeouts were an All-Star Game record.
(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.)