Thursday, September 9, 2010.
So Boise State flies home in the wee hours Tuesday—and the Broncos wake up later that day and hear traffic reports advertising BSU season tickets on sale. With the notation: “good seats still available.” While that may be your only way of getting a seat at the Oregon State game September 25 (if you don’t already have one), it really creates a litmus test October 9 when Toledo comes to town. That will be the night we find out if the milestone win over Virginia Tech Monday night made any difference in the community. The Toledo game is in danger of not selling out. Same is the case for the blue turf dates versus Louisiana Tech, Hawaii and Utah State. Southwest Idaho has been handed the No. 3 team in the country, but the cart is before the horse here. Fans just can’t seem to keep up. Watch for the attendance figure when the Broncos play the Rockets.
Simply put, a third-ranked team should sell out all of its home games, right? Especially in a 33,500-seat stadium. There probably hasn’t been a No. 3 team with a stadium capacity that small in 50 years. But here we are with tickets up for grabs. I know ticket prices went up last year, but c’mon. Another barrier has been broken with a victory over a top 10 team in what was truthfully a road game against Virginia Tech. Every time I think about this I remember the famous words of Dirk Koetter in November of 2000. “If we’re going to say Boise’s a football town, then let’s be a football town. If we’re not going to be a football town, let’s quit sayin’ we are.” The fans responded then. Ten years later, they shouldn’t have to be told again. But hey, it’s okay if Boise’s not a football town. It’s an awesome place regardless.
Of all the stuff written about the Labor Day game the past 48 hours or so, the best I’ve seen is the “Forde Yard Dash” by Pat Forde at ESPN.com. Here goes with highlights: “The Dash picked Boise State No. 1 all the way back in January and kept the Broncos there heading into this season. The reaction from a nation that ostensibly loves the underdog? Upper-crust backlash. Snobs snarled. Change is clearly uncomfortable for the Old Boy Network.”
So, Forde says, “Now it's time for The Establishment to acknowledge the Broncos, for The Establishment to realize that Chris Petersen is one of the five best coaches in America, and to embrace the coolness, brains and accuracy of the physically unimpressive Kellen Moore—last seen playing Joe Montana in the two-minute drill on the road against a top-10 opponent. Deal with it. Get on the Boise bus. Or, if boarding the bus is just too difficult for an Establishmentarian to do, get your snob school to schedule the Broncos home-and-home. Any takers?” For every one of those, there’s a piece dissing Boise State. We’ll stop there right now.
Kellen Moore got watched on the watch list of the Davey O’Brien Award that goes to the best quarterback in the country. Every week the organization names an “O'Brien Quarterback of the Week,” and in Week 1 it’s Moore after throwing for 215 yards and three touchdowns, including the winning one with 1:09 left in the victory over the Hokies. Kellen was a semifinalist for the O’Brien Award in 2009.
Some followup on the TV ratings for Boise State-Virginia Tech. The 6.8 household rating was 21 percent higher than the game in that slot last year, Miami-Florida State. It boosted ESPN to No. 1 in Monday night’s overall ratings among all networks, broadcast or cable. The game was the only one in college football’s opening weekend to draw so much as a 3.0. The Broncos-Hokies matchup ranks among the most-viewed sporting events of the year on ESPN.
Nebraska is favored over Idaho by four touchdowns Saturday in Lincoln, but don’t expect Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini to buy it. Pelini called the Huskers’ defensive performance in last week’s 49-10 win over Western Kentucky an “embarrassment.” The Hilltoppers’ loss was their 21st in a row, but they still rushed for 179 yards on a Nebraska defense that was ninth in the nation against the run last year. The Vandals would like to do the same and divert some pressure from quarterback Nate Enderle, making a return to his home state Saturday. Princeton McCarty came up big in last Thursday’s 45-0 win over North Dakota, rushing for 89 yards and two touchdowns. But Idaho will miss the physical presence of DeMaundray Woolridge this week.
Derek Schouman’s NFL career may have hit the wall. Which is how Schouman has often felt since being selected in the seventh round out of Boise State in the 2007 NFL Draft. The Eagle High grad has been plagued by injuries the last three seasons, and the knee injury he suffered two weeks ago spurred the Bills to look elsewhere. Buffalo had placed Schouman on the injured reserve list but released him from IR yesterday. It’s not impossible that he could return to the Bills midseason, but he’d be content to land anywhere he can right now. Schouman’s career numbers: 27 catches for 275 yards and one touchdown.
Catchup and wrapup on the Boise Hawks. The Hawks finished 34-42 this season, their first back-to-back losing campaigns since 1989. But they did increase attendance, drawing 2,779 fans a game at Memorial Stadium. In a reeling economy, that’s a major league positive. The Hawks had the Northwest League batting champion, Alvaro Ramirez, who posted a .350 average before being called up to Peoria near the end of the season. Meanwhile, two former Hawks made their big league debuts this week, as pitchers Adalberto Mendez and Jose Ceda played their first game with the Florida Marlins. They became the 80th and 81st Boise alums to hit the show. Mendez was a starter for the Hawks in 2003—all five members of the Boise rotation that season have now gone on to the majors.
This Day In Sports…September 9, 1995, 15 years ago today:
Boise State coach Pokey Allen makes good on his vow to return to the Broncos in time for the season opener at Utah State. Allen had been away from the team for eight months while battling a rare form of cancer that would eventually take his life a little over one year later. BSU won the opener against the Aggies and new head coach John L. Smith, 38-14.
(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 1350 KTIK/The Ticket. He’s also handled color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football the last five seasons.)