Wednesday, January 23, 2013.
Now we'll see if the home court buzz generated a week ago has staying power at Boise State when Fresno State comes into Taco Bell Arena tonight. The New Mexico game, with its 10,240 fans, conjured up visions of the olden days of Bronco basketball. The fact that Boise State lost in overtime didn’t necessarily dampen the feeling, but the sub-par performance in the loss at Air Force last Saturday may have. The Bulldogs are rivals in football but not so much in hoops, so are fans going to come out based not on the opponent but on an affinity for this Bronco team? When attendance topped 5,000 for Walla Walla 2½ weeks ago, it appeared the opponent wasn’t mattering as much. Boise State is still very much in the Mountain West race but (cliché alert) needs to play it’s A-game every game, every half, virtually every possession.
Despite being in different conferences last year, Boise State and Fresno State didn’t take the hoops season off. They played twice, with each team winning on its home floor. In the WAC years, the Broncos were 14-9 versus the Bulldogs. Fresno State is in its second season under Rodney Terry and has been offensively-challenged, scoring just 60 points per game and shooting less than 40 percent from the field. As for Boise State, it should be back at full strength if Jeff Elorriaga is cleared and returns from the concussion that kept him out of the Air Force game. Elorriaga’s leadership would be central to the Broncos’ effort to play a disciplined defensive game tonight. Kenny Buckner will be back from suspension, joining Derrick Marks, Mikey Thompson and Darious Hamilton, who were all reinstated a week ago.
The regularity of Boise State’s football rivalries with Nevada and Fresno State are to be determined. Annual matchups with the Wolf Pack and Bulldogs are not going to happen, as the Broncos have been placed in the Mountain Division of Mountain West football, joining Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah State. Nevada and Fresno State are in the West Division with Hawaii, San Diego State, San Jose State and UNLV. Boise State will play each team in its division and three cross-division games, which will rotate annually. So when and where the Broncos see the Pack and the Bulldogs remains to be seen. There’s always the possibility they could meet in the Mountain West championship game, though. This year that will be played December 7 at the home of the team ranked highest in the BCS Standings.
At first glance, the Mountain Division looks to be a bit less challenging than the West. Utah State would promise to be a contender, coming off an 11-2 season and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl victory. The Aggies were the highest-ranked non-BCS school in the final AP Poll (in the Coaches Poll it was Boise State). But Air Force is rebuilding, Wyoming is regrouping, and New Mexico and Colorado State are constructing their programs under second-year coaches. In the West, Fresno State and San Diego State are instant contenders, while Nevada and San Jose State are also bowl teams but have new coaches. UNLV and Hawaii are still finding their way.
Boise State has gone to the other end of the country for its latest recruiting commitment, as Scout.com reports that cornerback Jonathan Moxey has given the Broncos his verbal. Moxey is a 510, 170-pounder from William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Boise State’s 2013 class appears to be just about complete, but there is a visit slated from a wide receiver that could prove to be interesting.
National Letter of Intent Day is two weeks from today, and one name you won’t find on the lists of freshly-minted recruits is kicker Nathan Noble. That’s because Noble is slated to be a walk-on—a 29-year-old walk-on at Wyoming. Noble, a combat veteran of the Iraq War, is the subject of a lengthy profile in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. He was discovered via a local TV news report in Kentucky that showed him effortlessly nailing 55-yard field goals. Noble, who has one year of eligibility, was contacted by Michigan, LSU, USC and Oregon, but settled on the Cowboys because they gave him the best shot at playing. If the Mountain West schedule works out the way we think it will, you could see Noble on the blue turf this fall.
New Nevada coach Brian Polian has hired USC linebackers coach Scottie Hazelton as his new defensive coordinator. That means Boise State grad Mike Bradeson, a member of the Broncos’ 1980 national championship team, will no longer fill that role for the Pack’s much-scrutizined defense. Bradeson is under contract at Nevada, though, and is expected to remain on the Wolf Pack coaching staff.
Boise State’s Jamar Taylor is writing a daily journal this week for the Senior Bowl’s website. He found the weigh-in enlightening. “I think I did all right,” Taylor said. “I came in it at 5-10, 192. I thought I was 5-11 or 6-0, but I'll take the 5-10.” The competition in practice is certainly different. Said Taylor, “Everybody is 'that guy' at their school so you just have to make sure you play with great technique, because if you don't, the minute that you kind of slip off your technique then somebody will beat you.”
Our former Bronco NFLer of the Day is, in an unfortunate encore, Titus Young. The Detroit Lions wide receiver made headlines again yesterday with his tweet, “If I'm not going to get the football, I don't want to play anymore.” Why wouldn’t the Lions just say, “Well, fine then.” Why does Young do this to himself? In his first multi-media interview at Boise State in 2007, he lit up the camera lens. He was an articulate, funny and engaging 18-year-old. Then as a sophomore, selfishness took root, and coach Chris Petersen suspended his speedster, saying he needed some time away from Young. The fact that Titus rebounded from all that was a great story in 2009 and 2010. He could be endorsement material in the NFL if he was seen as a good guy. But his sophomore year in the NFL was even worse than the one in Boise.
Today marks the five-year anniversary of Idaho’s unveiling of $52 million in Kibbie Dome renovation plans. Only a portion of the remodel has come to pass. The new translucent wall at the west end of the Dome was completed, as were required safety repairs. New suites were built on the side of the facility where the press box used to be, with that structure moved to the north side. What hasn’t happened is a lowering of the field to allow 3,600 additional seats and an overall capacity increase to 20,000. But the most front-burner item now is getting an Events Center built on the north side of the Kibbie Dome to house Vandal basketball. Money-money-money-money.
This Day In Sports…January 23, 2006:
In its 67th year as a Boise corporate and community anchor, Albertson’s is sold to SuperValu as part of a $17.4 billion dollar buyout, calling the future of the Albertson’s Boise Open into doubt. One of the most popular stops on the 16-year-old Nationwide Tour, the Boise Open would survive and thrive with the company as title sponsor, but Albertson’s itself was never quite the same. Now there’s been another sale of the Albertson’s name. Here’s hoping the final major vestige of community involvement continues.
(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.)