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Boise State football: Taking what we can get

Raise your hand if live football on the blue turf in January appeals to you. No? That’s okay, it’ll probably be a tough ticket if it happens.
Credit: Otto Kitsinger/AP Photo
Boise State fans watch from the snowy upper deck of Albertsons Stadium during an NCAA game against San Diego State in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014. The temperature was 9 degrees. Boise State won 38-29.

BOISE, Idaho — Monday, August 31, 2020.

Did you watch the Central Arkansas-Austin Peay game Saturday night? I did, and it was tough. Meaning, it was football, and I liked it. And the predicament in which we find ourselves in Boise kind of hit full force. There’s a lot of talk now about the Mountain West playing football as early as January. A lot of people don’t like that. But what choice do we have? We should say, “We’ll take it.” Boise State fans have been through plenty of cold nights in late November and early December at Albertsons Stadium. How about the the 9-degree game against San Diego State in 2014? And that was mid-November. Besides, if the plan is still 25 percent capacity when January rolls around, it won’t matter. With the maximum allowed at 8,000-9,000, there will be Broncos fans waiting in line to take the place of those who don’t want to go. 

There has to be doubt as to whether those teams playing fall seasons will get everything in—at the end, or at the beginning. Auburn, for example, had to cancel multiple practices last week and will be down 16 players when practice is scheduled to resume Tuesday due to coronavirus complications. According to ESPN’s Alex Scarborough, “Auburn protocols require at least 17 days before a player can return from a positive COVID-19 test, including a 10-day quarantine and a seven-day reacclimation period before being fully cleared.” The Tigers are supposed to open three weeks from this Saturday against Kentucky. On the other hand, BYU is still on. The Cougars, the only team west of Texas still playing college football this fall, are set to open against Navy a week from tonight.

ANOTHER SCORE FOR BRONCOS RECRUITING

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin tweeted a “Go Broncos!” last Tuesday, meaning the program had a new commit. Connect the dots, and it seems that it was Rejhan Tatum, a three-star linebacker from Del City High in Oklahoma City who announced his decision Sunday. Tatum chose Boise State over Baylor and Oklahoma State, his other two finalists among a multitude of offers. The 6-2, 224-pounder is ranked 27th nationally among 2021 inside linebackers, according to 247 Sports. "Boise State is a great program. They have nice facilities and they are top three winningest programs in the last 20 years in college football," Tatum told 247Sports in July."I believe I could fit in well there. "Patience is paying off in Boise State’s 2021 recruiting.

FRAZIER: DESTINATION DIXIE STATE

Mikey Frazier was ticketed to be Boise State’s next featured big man after the graduation of Zach Haney in 2019. But it didn’t work out that way for the 6-10 forward. Frazier and the Broncos mutually parted ways last October, and now he has landed at Dixie State in Utah. Frazier played at Garden City Community College in Kansas last season, averaging 14.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He signed with Boise State out of East High in Salt Lake City in 2018 and redshirted his first season.

C OF I ALUM CLOSER TO THE MLB DOORSTEP

Riley O'Brien is as close to the majors as any former College Of Idaho player in 13 years, as the pitcher was traded to Cincinnati Friday by Tampa Bay. O’Brien was then added to the Reds 60-Man Player Pool and assigned to their alternate training site. He is one of 30 players who are eligible to be called up to the big league roster for the remainder of the 2020 season. O'Brien pitched for the Coyotes in 2016-17 and holds the C of I record for lowest opponents' batting average in a career at .206. He was drafted in the eighth round by the Rays in 2017. The last Yote to play in the bigs was Jason Simontacchi with Washington in 2007. Simontacchi is, in fact, the only C of I alum ever to make the Major Leagues.

FORMER HAWKS HAVE COOLED IN CHICAGO

The Chicago Cubs, the Boise Hawks’ parent club from 2001-14, still has by far the most former Hawks of any major league roster, with eight. None of them are lights-out right now, although Kyle Schwarber is showing signs. Schwarber is hitting just .228, but he clubbed two home runs Sunday in a 10-1 rout of Cincinnati. He has nine homers this season and has hit four in the past five games. Elsewhere, there are struggles among Boise alums. Despite five homers, Javier Baez is batting only .202. Kris Bryant is on the 10-day injured list with wrist and finger injuries after hitting just .177 over the first 16 games. On the mound, the ex-Hawk with the best ERA is Duane Underwood…7.71? Underwood is not a household name—he was a starter for Boise in 2013.

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…August 31, 2013:

Washington revels in the celebration of the grand re-opening of Husky Stadium and gets revenge against Boise State for a loss in the Las Vegas Bowl eight months earlier, routing the Broncos 38-6. An overflow crowd of 71,963 fans watched the Huskies win the battle of new no-huddle offenses by rolling up 592 yards behind senior quarterback Keith Price. It was Boise State’s largest margin of defeat in eight years and the worst loss in the career of coach Chris Petersen, whose remarkable Bronco record dropped to 84-9. It was just over three months later that Petersen would become UW’s new coach.

(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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