BOISE, Idaho — Friday, July 10, 2020.
There’s enough blah below, so I’ll start Friday’s column with another early-bird salute to Albertsons Stadium’s 50th anniversary. Then again, as we go to 2011, the biggest home game of that season ended up as Boise State’s only loss of the year. So we have to try to appreciate some blah today. TCU came to the blue turf for a November showdown, a one-time-only Mountain West rival a year before the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12. It was Kellen Moore’s senior season, and it was the Broncos’ first year in the MW. TCU was fired up two seasons after losing to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. The Frogs were unfazed by the Broncos’ 35-game home winning streak.
The stadium was packed and loud, as you might expect. But TCU’s Casey Pachall went off for 473 passing yards against an injury-ravaged Broncos secondary, and Dan Goodale missed what would have been a game-winning 39-yard field goal on the final play of the game, a 36-35 loss. It may have been the most questioned call of Chris Petersen’s unbelievable Boise State career. With 21 seconds left, one timeout remaining and a third down at the TCU 20-yard-line, Petersen had Moore take a knee in the middle of the field to give Goodale a straight-on look. Couldn’t the Broncos have taken another shot at the end zone? We’ll never know. As electric as the atmosphere was, I’ve never, ever heard the place so silent as fans filed out of the stadium.
WHAT WILL BYU DO?
The Ivy League’s move to—at the very least—postpone its 2021 football season was one thing. What the Big Ten did Thursday was something else again, deciding to go with a conference-only schedule this fall. If this becomes the norm among FBS conferences over the next week, well, there go two very attractive Boise State games on the blue turf: BYU and Florida State. But how would you like to be the independent Cougars? They have no conference games. The Big Ten move wipes out two big games over the first four weeks of the season—against Michigan State and Minnesota (the Gophers were set to visit Provo). And BYU has three games against Pac-12 schools (Utah, Arizona State and Stanford) and one versus Missouri of the SEC. Look out.
Worst-case scenario: the Cougars would be left with only fellow independents to schedule. Notre Dame probably wouldn’t be one of them, because the Fighting Irish would be able to stretch the parameters of their arrangement with the ACC. That could force something like home-and-home series with the likes of Army, Massachusetts, UConn, Liberty and New Mexico State. Really, the best thing that could happen for BYU in that case would be for the entire season to be canceled. Elsewhere, Oregon won’t have to worry about wasting a golden home-game opportunity against Ohio State with no fans inside Autzen Stadium, as Gov. Kate Brown has said that no large gatherings will be allowed through at least September. Washington is in bad shape, too—the Huskies were set to open versus Michigan in Seattle.
THE SAVE-THE-PROGRAM PRECEDENT
As the grassroots effort to save the Boise State baseball and swimming and diving programs continues, they look to Bowling Green as a model. The Falcons baseball team was able to rescue its program this spring. The timeline is interesting. Bowling Green eliminated baseball on May 15, and then reinstated it on June 2. That’s 18 days. The same timeline applied to the determined Boise State baseball players and swimmers and divers—and a growing legion of supporters—would be July 20.
Falcons faithful raised commitments totaling $1.5 million over three years. The Boise State community push hopes to get pledges exceeding that over the same time frame, and then hopefully get an audience with the athletic department.
MERRITT MAINTAINS SOME ‘MO’
Momentum can be a fickle thing, but Troy Merritt rode it nicely yesterday in the first round of the Workday Charity Open in Dublin, OH. Five days after his tie for eighth at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, the former Boise State star began the day on No. 10 and parred every hole on the back nine at Jack Nicklaus’s Muirfield Village Country Club.
Merritt’s scorecard was reasonable clean—he had one bogey and four birdies after the turn and shot a three-under 69. He’s tied for 18th and is four shots off the lead. Could Merritt post two top 25 results in a row?
THIS DAY IN SPORTS…July 10, 1934:
Baseball’s second All-Star Game provides one of the Midsummer Classic’s all-time great moments, as Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants strikes out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin in succession. All five would end up in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Still, the American League would go on to win the game 9-7 in Hubbell’s home ballpark, the Polo Grounds in New York City.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)
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