Tuesday, April 16, 2013.
We are thankful this morning that at last report none of the 60 Treasure Valley runners participating in the Boston Marathon were among the injured yesterday in the bomb blasts near the finish line of the iconic race. The first locally-relevant news out of Boston was positive—Middleton’s Carlos Trujillo running a 2:19:24 to finish 19th overall in the race. But that was quickly forgotten as word of the blasts was broadcast. You immediately wonder who you might know in the event, and are they okay? I saw Stephanie Fornander’s name on the list; then I saw the KTVB report that she and husband Mike were fine. Such senseless random acts can happen anywhere, but they seldom touch sports. They really don’t. May this tragedy remain the exception and not the new rule.
Like Supertramp said, “Give A Little Bit.” The two sides have postured, and each will probably give a little somethin’ somethin’. The conference soon to be formerly known as the Big East said it intends to sue Boise State for the $5 million exit fee it feels it is owed. And Boise State is suing back in 4th District Court in Boise, saying the American Athletic Conference isn’t what the Broncos signed up for. True, the Big East that existed in December of 2011 when Boise State agreed to join bears little resemblance to the AAC, but you could see this one coming. When the Broncos officially reneged on New Year’s Eve, forcing San Diego State’s hand in effect, the Big East dominos really started to fall. The separation of the Catholic 7 went into overdrive, leaving the AAC as a shell more in tune with a Conference USA-type league.
Boise State’s argument is that the Big East lost three-quarters of its membership in the year following BSU’s agreement to join, added no one from the West to partner with the Broncos and Aztecs, and fell out of AQ status in the BCS. "Boise State entered into that agreement in good faith and with a great degree of optimism, but the conference we agreed to join simply no longer exists," university president Bob Kustra said. AAC officials are confident the Broncos will have to pay the penalty—the truth is probably going to be somewhere in between.
Is this the year for Boise State’s tall senior duo? Geraldo Boldewijn and Aaron Burks both left fans with takeaways Saturday night in the Blue & Orange Game. Boldewijn gets crafty when he gets around the goal line. He did last December at the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, and he did again on a 25-yard touchdown catch from Joe Southwick Saturday. We’ve seen Boldewijn shine in the spring game before—he was magnificent two years ago with five catches for 97 yards. But the Dutch wide receiver began the last two seasons on the suspension shelf due to problems with his well-meaning host family from his Capital High School days. Now (unless something unthinkable happens) Boldewijn will get to play in a season opener again August 31 at Washington.
Burks is the one who has painstakingly made changes to ensure a parlay from a solid end to the 2012 season to a strong senior year. He showed his possession-receiver side in the Blue & Orange Game, leading the offense with seven catches for 50 yards. And he showed his deep-threat side last fall as he led Boise State with 18.8 yards per reception. Burks bulked up to 202 pounds during winter conditioning, telling KTVB’s Jay Tust that a healthy diet has been half the battle. “Staying away from fried foods.” Burks told Tust. “I cook every meal I (eat), so everything I eat is going to go straight to muscle."
Kudos to Boise State’s Varsity B director Michel Bourgeau on his “Gridiron Social” last Friday the night before the Blue & Orange Game. The now-annual event drew approximately 325 former players and coaches, and it spanned the generations. Chris Petersen introduced Lyle Smith, and the legendary 97-year-old former Boise Junior College coach had a few words for the group. You had the Broncos’ career rushing leader, Cedric Minter, meeting budding NFL star Doug Martin for the first time. Pretty cool stuff. Bourgeau, the former All-Big Sky defensive end, has reconnected former players with the school over the past 10 years, and it is paying dividends.
Offensive linemen Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis came into the NFL together as first round picks for the San Francisco 49ers three years ago. Now Davis has a new contract, and Iupati doesn’t. If the former Idaho Vandal star lands something like Davis, he’ll be in rather tall clover. Davis already has a five-year, $37.3 million contract extension, and Iupati would deserve to be in that neighborhood. The Niners have accelerated contract talks with Big Mike, but it might be awhile according to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Matt Maiocco. Iupati was first-team All-Pro last season.
As you scope out the ECHL Western Conference semifinals between the Idaho Steelheads and Ontario Reign, don’t put much stock into the last regular season series involving the two teams four weeks ago. Ontario took two of three at CenturyLink Arena, but the Steelies hadn’t yet received Adrian Foster, Andrew Carroll or Gord Baldwin back from the AHL, and coach Brad Ralph was resting a lot of his regulars anyway. Speaking of rest, the Reign will have been idle for almost two weeks when the series begins Friday night in Ontario.
This Day In Sports…April 16, 2009:
An iconic sports building makes its debut, and an iconic sports figure bows out. The new Yankee Stadium opened, replacing the storied ballpark next door that had served the Bronx for 86 years. It didn’t go so well on the field, as the Cleveland Indians routed the Yanks, 10-2. And John Madden, the former Oakland Raiders coach who became arguably the most popular NFL color analyst of all-time, retired after 30 years in the broadcast booth. Madden made his mark working alongside Pat Summerall on CBS and Fox, then cemented his legacy working with Al Michaels on ABC Monday Night Football and NBC Sunday Night Football.
(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.)