Monday, March 5, 2012.
The Boise State football schedule released Friday tells you all you need to know about the size of the slate in 2012. It’s not too late for the Broncos to take advantage of the Hawaii road game exemption and add a 13th game, but logistically it looks to be out of the question. Boise State has two open dates: September 8, the week after the opener at Michigan State, and December 1, the final weekend of the regular season. The assumption was that it would be home-game-or-nothing for the Broncos, with an FCS opponent the likely way to go. But the schools formerly known as Division I-AA aren’t available on December 1 because of the FCS Playoffs. And BSU would surely resist a game on September 8. If the Broncos schedule a 13th game that day, they’ll play 13 consecutive weeks without a bye.
Boise State will get to finish its season with a rivalry game one last time. The season will close on Thanksgiving weekend with a showdown at Nevada, stirring memories of the Broncos’ infamous last trip to Reno in 2010. You know, the missed field goal and lost opportunity at the Rose Bowl and all. Here’s the first fan travel question of the 2012 season. How well will Bronco fans populate Mackay Stadium, a place to which they’ve flocked for more than three decades? This time the game will be on a Saturday, with plenty of time for fans to drive down the day after Thanksgiving. But the local fan behavior in Reno two seasons ago was fairly abominable, and how well those scars have healed among Boise State fans remains to be seen. You can be sure Reno hotels will be sending peace offerings.
Chris Carr’s release from the Baltimore Ravens hasn’t officially hit the transaction wire, but by all accounts it has happened. The former Boise State star, a seven-season NFL veteran, appears to be a salary cap casualty after signing a four-year, $14 million contract last July. Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome says this “does not close the door” on Carr coming back to the Ravens, although Chris indicates he’s ready for a fresh start after being limited to nine games in 2011 due to hamstring and back injuries. Carr’s career totals: 209 tackles, six interceptions and a touchdown.
Boise State lost to San Diego State by 13 points last Wednesday, and by 15 at New Mexico Saturday. But man, were those different games. The one against the Lobos was, in fact, the closer of the two—much closer. The Broncos effectively silenced the crowd of 15,411 in the Pit for almost 34 minutes, still cradling a lead in the Mountain West’s most intimidating venue with 6½ minutes left. But New Mexico imposed its will down the stretch, and the deceptive final was 76-61. You just wonder what the Bronco youngsters will be like when they’re oldsters. Freshman Derrick Marks led Boise State with 17 points, followed by sophomores Ryan Watkins and Thomas Bropleh with 16 and 12, respectively. And another sophomore, Jeff Elorriaga, set the tone early with three consecutive three-pointers.
It was an interesting weekend for New Mexico power forward Drew Gordon, who led the Lobos against Boise State with 30 points and 12 rebounds. Gordon is prominent in Sports Illustrated’s expose on the recent downfall of UCLA basketball under coach Ben Howland. Gordon was part of the famous “Baby Bruins” recruiting class of 2008, ranked No. 1 in the country. In his SI story, George Dohrmann writes that Gordon was among a trio of new UCLA freshmen who “regularly drank alcohol and smoked marijuana, sometimes before practice, according to multiple teammates” and that “he often disrupted practices.” Gordon was dismissed from the UCLA squad by Howland in December, 2009. But all seems to be well in Albuquerque for Gordon, who goes into the Mountain West Tournament as the conference’s top rebounder at 11 per game.
Boise State’s Saturday loss relegates the Broncos to the bottom seed in the tournament, and they’ll open Thursday at 1 p.m. against top-seeded San Diego State at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Maybe the good news is the game is not in Boise. The Aztecs drilled Boise State in Taco Bell Arena last week, but the Broncos took ‘em to the wire last month in San Diego before falling 58-56.
The Idaho Stampede fended off a furious Dakota rally yesterday and won their second in a row, beating the Wizards 86-84. Dakota rallied from a 16-point deficit late in the third quarter to tie the Stampede in the final minute of the game. But Paul Carter’s offensive rebound and put-back with two seconds left won it. Rebounding was the key for the Stampede—Carter led the team with 14 boards, and the Stamps out-rebounded the Wizards by 15 for the game. Tony Bobbitt was Idaho’s leading scorer with 19 points off the bench, including five three-pointers. The two clubs play again tonight in Bismarck, and the Stampede can climb out of last place in the D-League’s West Conference with a win.
The Idaho Steelheads had been there before—and unfortunately, they went there again. The Steelheads had a 2-0 lead on Las Vegas with 10 minutes to go Saturday night. Then, over a stretch of five minutes and four seconds, blam-blam-blam. And the Steelheads had their 10th straight loss, 3-2. The Steelies are encouraged by the return of captain Marty Flichel after three months on the shelf. Flichel didn’t score in the two losses over the weekend, but his leadership is going to have an effect sooner or later. The Steelheads stay home in CenturyLink Arena this week for games against Bakersfield Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Elsewhere, three Treasure Valley teams took home state championships Saturday in the Idaho Center. Borah’s 5A crown was one for the ol’ memory bank, as the Lions finished the season on a 23-game winning streak with their 49-31 win over Post Falls. Fruitland took the 3A crown over Snake River, and Cole Valley Christian won the 2A championship over Kamiah. And in Taco Bell Arena, the 15th-ranked Boise State gymnastics team avenged an upset loss earlier this season to rival Utah State by obliterating the Aggies,196.125-192.750. The Broncos’ Brittany Potvin-Green won the all-around.
This Day In Sports…March 5, 1984:
Quarterback Steve Young, fresh out of BYU, signs a long-term contract worth 40 million dollars with the Los Angeles Express of the United States Football League. According to terms of the deal, deferred payments would be made to Young until the year 2027. When the USFL later folded, Young bought out the contract and jumped to the NFL with Tampa Bay. By the way, Pokey Allen was an assistant with the LA Express that year.
(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.)