Wednesday, November 30, 2011.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen is allowing himself to reflect this week on the 21 seniors who bow out on the blue turf against New Mexico Saturday. “I remember saying that we really liked them all on tape,” said Petersen of the 2007 group, “With these guys, they were as advertised.” He said this class, most of which had already committed before the Broncos beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, has always been about the big picture. “I think it’s the culture of ‘this is how we do it.’ The number one thing is guys have bought into that. There’s no second-guessing. I don’t think it’s like that everywhere.” When did Petersen know this would be a special class? “The Idaho State game (in 2008),” he said. “When somebody pointed out at the end of the game that we had all true freshmen or redshirt freshman on the field.”
The first college game for many of the Boise State seniors making their final appearances on the blue turf Saturday was that 49-7 win over Idaho State on August 30, 2008. Kellen Moore’s debut is well-remembered—274 passing yards with touchdown throws of 80 yards to Titus Young and 56 yards to Tyler Shoemaker. But 10 Bronco freshmen recorded stats on defense that night, and Aaron Tevis had a monster game. Tevis racked up eight tackles, two sacks for 24 yards, and a fumble recovery against the Bengals. “It was exciting,” said Tevis Monday. “I tried not to play nervous and left it all out on the field. It was a great start for me.”
We don’t know yet if UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero’s plane has landed in Boise, complete with that rumored $3 million a year offer for Petersen. Nothing new on that front this morning. Petersen does have a commanding lead in an L.A. Times poll on who should be the next UCLA coach. He has 47 percent of the vote—Jon Gruden is second with 20 percent. The biggest news for the Bruins yesterday was that 5-9 cornerback Justin Combs, son of music and entertainment biggie Sean "Diddy" Combs, has given UCLA a verbal commitment. Weird timing.
Boise State and Miami (Ohio) share this year’s American Football Coaches Association Academic Achievement Award after both schools recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of its freshman class of 2004. The award will be presented at the AFCA President’s Kickoff Luncheon on January 9 during the organization’s annual convention in San Antonio.
We’ve been following this all season, so why stop now? Andy Staples’ Power Rankings this week at SI.com match the Top 25 with notable TV final episodes. For Boise State, which Staples drops one spot to No. 9, it’s “Quantum Leap.” Writes Staples: “Talk about a bait-and-switch. NBC promoted the finale as ‘The Leap you've been waiting for for years.’ Then, at the end of the episode, not only does Sam Beckett not leap home, a plain text card—with Beckett's name misspelled, no less—explains to viewers that Scott Bakula's character never made it home. This was about as satisfying as it will be to watch Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore finish his fantastic career in some lower tier bowl. But since it's unlikely a BCS bowl will select Boise State as an at-large team, that's how Moore's career will end.”
Idaho is headed to Nevada to finish its season Saturday, with the Vandals trying to avoid their fifth 10-loss season in the last 11 years. They’re actually catching the Wolf Pack at a good time. The Pack has been devastated by back-to-back losses that ruined its chance at a WAC championship. Senior Day or no Senior Day, will anyone down there care Saturday? In what shaped up as the WAC title game two weeks ago (won by Louisiana Tech, 24-20), the actual attendance at Mackay Stadium was just 11,639. The “tickets distributed” were 18,407. Give Nevada credit for reporting turnstile count when most schools don’t. But is that horrible, or what?
Is tonight’s game against Drake in Taco Bell Arena going to be a good barometer for Boise State men’s basketball? The Sagarin Ratings seem to lean that way. The Broncos are ranked No. 144 by the Sagarin computer and the Bulldogs No. 113. Last season’s game between these two teams was a close one, with Drake getting by cold-shooting Boise State 72-69 in Des Moines. There are two top 5 national rankings to report for the Broncos. As a team, Boise State is fifth in turnover margin at plus-7.8, and freshman forward Anthony Drmic is fifth in three-pointers, hitting 3.8 per game. Drmic already has two 20-point games this season, the first Boise State freshman to accomplish that in 11 years—since former Borah High standout Booker Nabors did it in 2000-01. In women’s hoops last night, Boise State was overwhelmed by Syracuse, 70-47.It must be remembered that Boise State is in the Mountain West for basketball for at least the next two seasons. Do I hear a “Holy Moly?” UNLV has gone from nowhere to No. 18 in the AP Poll and No. 19 on the Coaches list after upsetting top-ranked North Carolina 90-80 last Saturday night in Las Vegas. The Rebels started the second half on a 14-0 run and kept the pedal to the metal, getting 28 points from Chace Stanback and 18 rebounds from Mike Moser. Quite the signature win for first-year UNLV coach Dave Rice, whose team visits UC Santa Barbara tonight. The Gauchos are a Big West team. Hmmm…
With the NBA labor deal here, Idaho Stampede coach Randy Livingston has fewer wrenching roster decisions to make. The downside: he may lose a couple players to NBA training camps. D-League teams are being allowed to increase roster sizes from 10 players to 12 until a week after camps begin. This is to keep havoc from being wreaked on D-League teams. One byproduct for the Stampede could be the ability to activate Antoine Walker when he rejoins the team next week without having to cut anybody. The Stamps return to action against the Dakota Wizards tomorrow and Friday in CenturyLink Arena.
The Idaho Steelheads will take the reigning ECHL Player of the Week into its two-game series at Las Vegas this weekend. Forward Chad Klassen earned the honor for the first time after registering eight points on two goals and six assists in three games at Colorado last week. Klassen notched four assists in a 7-5 win last Friday, tying a league-high for the season.
There may not be a more pressure-packed golf tournament than the final stage of the PGA Tour’s Qualifying School. It goes six rounds, and there’s so much at stake. There’ll be 174 players teeing off tomorrow in La Quinta, CA, and at the end of the day Monday the top 25 finishers (plus ties) get their PGA Tour cards for 2012. The field includes former Boise State star Troy Merritt, who—after finishing outside the top 125 money-winners this season—lost his exempt status on the tour and has to qualify all over again. Merritt won the Q-School finale in 2009 and landed on the PGA Tour as a rookie last year.
This Day In Sports…November 30, 1974:
The quarterback who set the standard at Boise State, Jim McMillan, plays his final game as a Bronco on a frigid, windswept day in Mount Pleasant, MI. The occasion was the first round of the Division II playoffs, and eventual national champion Central Michigan bested Boise State, 20-6. McMillan, a part-time starter as a sophomore and junior, averaged 310 passing yards a game and threw for 33 touchdowns as a senior, both school records. The average yardage mark would stand for 29 years and the TD record for 26.
(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.)