Wednesday, January 27, 2010.
Let’s take a timeout from the already-hyped 2010 outlook for Boise State and visit the year 2012. The marquee home game of the season will be a date against BYU. One of the many reasons will become apparent a week from today. That’s National Letter of Intent Day, and BYU is “the clear-cut winner among non-BCS programs with two weeks to go until signing day,” according to the Sporting News. Early on, the Cougars snagged Jake Heaps, the top quarterback recruit in the country, away from Tennessee, Notre Dame and in-state Washington.
BYU has since picked up other elite recruits such as wide receiver Ross Apo, previously committed to Texas, and four-star defensive ends Kona Schwenke and Bronson Kaufusi. Remember those names—they’ll be either redshirt sophomores or true juniors when the Cougars visit the blue turf. “This truly is one of the school’s top classes ever,” says the Sporting News. BYU, of course, wants to do what Boise State has done (Utah, too, obviously): bust down the door to a BCS bowl. And analysts would tell you the Cougars are poised to do it within in the next few years.
Those experts are having trouble rating the Broncos’ recruiting class this year because—by design and necessity—it’s so small. With only five departing seniors (including season-long injury casualty Andy Silsby), the BSU coaching staff has been majoring in scholarship management, trying to maximize what’s available and working in grayshirt possibilities. According to Scout.com, the current Bronco recruiting count is seven. The most recent addition was Mountain View High defensive end Tyler Horn, the state 5A Defensive Player of the Year.
Boise State answered this question before I asked it. It is true—Ryan Clady and Quintin Mikell are the first former Broncos ever to make the Pro Bowl. At least since the Boise Junior College days. Dave Wilcox, the best player off Lyle Smith’s legendary BJC teams, played in the Pro Bowl as a 49er in 1973. This we already knew: Clady is Boise State’s first All-Pro honoree in the four-year era. Wilcox, the father of defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, was All-Pro in 1971 and 1972.
More Senior Bowl news—Idaho offensive guard Mike Iupati is confirming what everyone already felt: that he’s the best guard out there in April’s NFL Draft. Scouts Inc. sees Iupati turning into a late first round pick, the only non-BCS player projected that high. “There is not a weakness in Iupati's game when he's lined up at guard,” Scouts Inc. wrote in its North Team practice report. “His quick first step, lateral quickness, and long arms make him a dominant force inside, and he is a nasty finisher who is not satisfied until defenders are on their backs.” Meanwhile, observers feel that Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson is continuing to be one of the North’s dominating defenders and is in line to move into second round status.
Reports on a possible demise of the Albertsons Boise Open were premature. In a bit of exhilaratingly good news yesterday, Albertsons’ parent company Supervalu announced it’s extending sponsorship of the tournament three years beyond this year’s event, which is the last on the current contract. That ensures the Albertsons Boise Open, now two decades old, remains a staple of the local sports scene through 2013. Bill Calfee, president of the Nationwide Tour, called the tournament “the premier event on the Nationwide Tour for the past 20 years.” It’s the most successful in terms of charitable contributions among all Nationwide tournaments. The 21st annual Albertsons Boise Open tees it up the third week of September this year.
Randy Livingston paid a visit to Boise early this month during the D-League Showcase, but he didn’t get to coach against his former team, the Idaho Stampede. He’ll get to do that tonight when he returns with the Maine Red Claws, a D-League expansion team this season. Livingston, who spent one year assisting Stampede coach Bryan Gates after finishing his career as the most decorated player in franchise history, is on the bench under Maine head coach Austin Ainge now. Livingston is the only player ever to have his jersey retired by the Stampede. The Red Claws and Stamps will meet for the first time this evening in Qwest Arena.
A year ago we followed Middleton’s Erik Fisher and Boise’s Hailey Duke on the World Cup circuit. They bubbled under on the international scene last winter, with Fisher finishing second in the downhill at the U.S. Championships after one top 10 finish in World Cup competition. Duke was fifth at U.S. nationals in the slalom after one top 10 result in World Cup. Well, Fisher and Duke have impressed enough this season to make the U.S. Olympic team headed to Vancouver next month. Fisher, an Eagle High graduate, has two top 20 downhill finishes on the World Cup circuit this season. The top result this season for Duke, who graduated from Capital, is a 21st in the slalom.
We’re about four weeks from when pitchers and catchers report to spring training, and at least two former Boise Hawks will have opportunity knocking in the Chicago Cubs’ camp. Lefthander Ted Lilly will be out at least through April, opening up two jobs in the starting rotation (the spot occupied last season by Rich Harden, now a Texas Ranger, is the other). Jeff Samardzija and Sean Marshall will be right in the middle of the battle. “I’m training my body to start and pitch every five days and I can always back off and adjust,” Marshall told the Chicago Tribune. “I like starting, and I like knowing when I’m going to pitch.” Marshall came out of 2009 “less scathed” than Samardzija, going 3-7 with a 4.32 ERA. Samardzija was 1-3 with an ERA of 7.53.
This Day In Sports…January 27, 1991:
The New York Giants win their second Super Bowl title in five years with a nail-biting 20-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills. The Bills had a chance to win the game with only seconds remaining, but Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right. Giants running back Ottis Anderson was MVP with 102 yards rushing and a touchdown.
(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 also handles color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football.)