Thursday, July 26, 2012.
This year more than ever, Boise State is seen as the sum of its parts, as evidenced by the reviews of the Broncos at Mountain West Media Days in Las Vegas. Only five BSU players were named first-team preseason All-Mountain West. Yet, 27 of 30 media ballots had the Broncos as the pick to win the conference title. “Great programs have great players throughout their program. And when it’s their time to take over, guess what,” said San Diego State coach Rocky Long, praising the Bronco coaching staff’s ability to evaluate recruits. “Boise State gets five-star players, even though they’re not rated five-star players.”
Boise State coach Chris Petersen’s stance on the rankings hasn’t changed a lick. “Respect is earned, not given,” said Petersen. “And that’s what I think about preseason polls. It’s giving you something you haven’t truly earned.” This year’s poll might be used as reverse motivation for the Broncos. “Last year we were picked first and didn’t get it done,” Petersen said. “We’re well aware of that.”
A “what I did for my summer vacation” sidebar here. Petersen and his family traveled to Italy a month ago to see the sights and experience the culture. Petersen said when they arrived in Rome, they got settled in their hotel, groggy from jet lag. The first thing they did was head down the street to an Italian grocery store. They hadn’t been there two minutes when a lady came up to him and said, “Coach Pete?” Turns out the lady was from Boise, but still. He’s become a man of international intrigue.
Indeed, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson did not mention Boise State (nor San Diego State) by name in his opening remarks yesterday. Thompson did say, “Other institutions have made decisions to change conferences for various reasons.” But he did congratulate TCU on its move to the Big 12, acknowledging the Horned Frogs’ 17-year quest to rejoin many of their former Southwest Conference colleagues. And Thompson naturally professed excitement about the future. “We’re a Western-based league; we’re getting back to a place we’re comfortable.” The commissioner later revealed how hard the Mountain West tried—both financially and aesthetically—to retain Boise State, right down to the final day on June 30. Not only were there revenue incentives for the Broncos, the blue-uniforms-on-blue-turf ban would have been axed.
Thompson all but closed the curtain on any chances Idaho and New Mexico State would have of ever joining the Mountain West. “There is no initiative to look at further expansion,” said Thompson, who added the conference will stay at 10 teams “well into the future.” The only asterisk: “There is an optimistic perspective that someday we will be (back) in Texas.” Thompson said the league has been very upfront with Idaho. “We’ve informed them that they will not be members of the Mountain West. So go to Plan B, whatever Plan B might be.”
Bob Davie, New Mexico’s new coach, had an interesting perspective on Penn State. “It’s difficult for me to talk about,” said Davie, who was very connected to the highest echelon of college football in his 10 years as an ESPN analyst (and before that as head coach at Notre Dame). “We go out as coaches and we talk about how guys are doing things the right way—and then you have Joe Paterno and Jim Tressel?” said Davie. He thinks the vacating of 14 seasons’ worth of wins at Penn State is too severe. “Did they have an advantage athletically from ’98 on?” asked Davie. At the same time, Davie said, maybe it was unfair that for all those years Penn State was “recruiting to the illusion that it’s beyond reproach.”
Back to Rocky Long. Knowing he was talking to a small group of Boise media, he volunteered this thought. It’s a common one in Boise, but it’s always interesting to hear it from someone with Long’s experience—without prompting. “This is my opinion, and my opinion only,” said the San Diego State coach. “I was shocked Kellen Moore wasn’t drafted. He’s the best college quarterback I ever coached against.”
It looked like karma was poised to carry the Boise Hawks to a come-from-behind victory last night at Memorial Stadium after Dong-Yub Kim hit a two-run in the eighth inning to tie the game at 8-8. But Yakima plated two in the top of the ninth and got away with a 10-8 win. Boise is still waiting for its first home run from 6-foot, 250-pound Dan Vogelbach, but the new arrival did go 3-for-5 last night with a double and his first RBI as a Hawk. The loss ended a Hawks two-game winning streak—they still have not won three games in a row this season. The three-game series against the Bears wraps up tonight.
It’ll be a relaxed Graham DeLaet who tees off today at the RBC Canadian Open. The former Boise State star is not only back in his home country, he also knows he has retained his PGA Tour card after getting over the required money-winning threshold three weeks ago at the Greenbrier Classic. After some rest-and-relaxation in the Treasure Valley last week, DeLaet will hit the course in Ancaster, Ontario. The Weyburn, Saskatchewan, native has earned $674,230 this season on the PGA Tour.
Northern California leads British Columbia by one stroke entering today’s final round of the Junior America’s Cup at BanBury. Individually, Cole Madey of Oregon and Justin Pagila of Northern California are knotted at seven-under-par. The highlight of yesterday’s round was an eagle on the 18th hole by Southern California’s Rico Hoey. Idaho’s team is 13th among the 17 four-man squads from the western U.S., western Canada and Mexico going into the final day.
A KTVB.com "Mountain West Forgotten Fact of the Day": Nevada and UNLV have played each other 37 times, but in only four of those years have they been members of the same conference (Big West, 1992-95). The rivalry is as bitter as ever, though. UNLV will not refer to its in-state foe as “Nevada.” Every reference is either “UNR” or “Reno.” That extends even to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The newspaper used the “UNR” moniker in a Mountain West story yesterday and in the preseason poll. And a caption under a photo of Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr noting him as preseason MW Offensive Player of the Year identified him in a game “against Reno in October.”
This Day In Sports…July 26, 1980:
It’s a good day for the British at the Summer Olympics in Moscow (boycotted by the US). Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe ran one-two in the 800-meter final, and Daley Thompson won the decathlon. Thompson’s world record in the decathlon would be broken 12 years later by former University of Idaho star Dan O’Brien.
(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.)