Thursday, June 21, 2012.
College football prognosticators throw out numerous possible toe-stubbers for Boise State in its rebuilding/reloading (depending on your perspective) season of 2012. Could be Michigan State, or BYU, or Southern Mississippi, or Nevada, or some combination thereof. SI.com’s Stewart Mandel has another opponent to consider. In his College Football Mailbag this week, Mandel was asked, “What coach do you project to have a ‘breakout’ year, coming from relative unknown to major contender for a big-time position?”
Writes Mandel: “Keep an eye on new Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter. After two seasons as Texas A&M's defensive coordinator, the 49-year-old is returning to the Mountain West, where as Air Force's defensive coordinator in 2009 he produced an unlikely Top 10 national defense. If ever there was a year for someone new to step up and supplant Boise State, which returns just seven starters, this is it. DeRuyter has installed an up-tempo spread offense at Fresno, which slipped to 4-9 in Pat Hill's last season but is fairly experienced. DeRuyter's Bulldogs therefore could enjoy the ‘breakout’ year you describe.”
It behooves us to point out a few reasons the “supplant Boise State” task may be difficult for Fresno State. This year’s Bronco-Bulldog game for the Milk Can is October 13 on the blue turf, where Boise State has won 68 of its last 70 games. The Broncos beat Fresno State by 50 points last season in Bulldog Stadium, the third time in the last four years they’ve amassed that staggering margin of victory on their San Joaquin Valley rivals. At the very least, it will take one season for DeRuyter’s new offense to take root. I’ll stick with MSU, BYU, USM and UNR as the top challengers.
You can never say never. After all, Boise State made a BCS bowl in the 2006 season after so many had said for years it would never happen. But word that BCS commissioners have agreed on a four-team playoff which ESPN says would seeded by a committee and emphasize strength-of-schedule means Bronco fans may long for the days of the old BCS system sooner rather than later. It will be a rare case indeed that sees a team from outside what will be known as the Big Four conferences selected for this Final Four. The mid-majors are being cast off, and I’m afraid Big East schools are going to fit that description.
There’s not much that makes Boise State coach Chris Petersen puff out his chest, but this does. The NCAA’s new Academic Progress Rates for FBS football show the Broncos with a 989 score from 2007-11, tied with Duke for second in the nation behind Northwestern’s 995. The NCAA also announced that six Boise State sports teams posted perfect single-year scores of 1,000, including volleyball, men’s cross country, men’s indoor track and field, women’s basketball, women’s golf and gymnastics.
The Boise Hawks played catch-up all evening before a full house in their home opener last night at Memorial Stadium. They caught up once, but couldn’t do it a second time and fell 7-4 to Eugene. A two-out, two-run homer by Jeimer Candelario brought Boise even at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning. The surge was short-lived, though, as the Emeralds answered with three runs in the seventh. That was enough separation to get it done. The Ems pelted Hawks pitching throughout, piling up 16 hits. Boise is now 1-5 on the young season, with the second of the five-game series versus Eugene coming up tonight. By the way, Izaac Garsez isn’t headed to the Hawks. At least not yet. The Cubs have signed the 30th-round draft pick out of the College of Idaho and have assigned him to their rookie league team in Mesa.
The Idaho Steelheads have a new coach, but—unless some enterprising reporter leaks it—we won’t know who it is until Saturday night’s Hawks game. The Steelheads will make the announcement in time for the ceremonial first pitch, which will be thrown by the organization’s seventh head coach. Hardy Sauter was fired in early May after the Steelheads posted their first losing season of the ECHL era.
Graham DeLaet is back in action on the PGA Tour this week at the Travelers Championship. The former Boise State star has been out since playing the Colonial in Fort Worth four weeks ago. He had to withdraw before the Memorial the following week with a tweaked back that he said at the time wasn’t serious—and wasn’t related to the back injury that sidelined him most of last year. In 15 events this season, DeLaet has earned $526,901 and needs $141,265 over his next 11 tournaments on his medical exemption to keep his PGA Tour card.
Catching up on other local golf news: DeLaet’s former Bronco teammate, Troy Merritt, is back down on the Nationwide Tour this year and plays in the Wichita Open this week. After missing seven straight cuts, Merritt finally played through the weekend again in his last tournament, the Mexico Open two weeks ago. He tied for 13th and made $11,719, his biggest payday of the season but peanuts compared to his stay on the PGA Tour the last two years. The Treasure Valley’s two representatives at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links were both eliminated in stroke play earlier this week. Boise’s Lauren Archer was 10-over-par in Neshanic Station, NJ. Caldwell’s Trish Gibbens, a College of Idaho golfer, was 15-over.
This Day In Sports…June 21, 1964:
On Father’s Day, the Philadelphia Phillies stop the New York Mets, 6-0, as Jim Bunning tosses the first perfect game in the National League since 1880. The future Hall of Famer—and eventual Republican U.S. senator from Kentucky—also became the first pitcher of the 20th century to notch no-hitters in both leagues, having thrown one for the Detroit Tigers against Boston in 1958.
(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.)