BOISE, Idaho — Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
I can probably count on one hand the number of Boise State faithful who would get all these right, but today let’s go with a Bronco football “Nickname Quiz.” Who were these guys? Puddin’, Canadian Rifle, Super Needle, Motor Mouse, Riverboat Gambler, The Four Horsemen, Mad Tad, Canadian Bacon, Muscle Hamster and McWeapon. The last four were this century—the last three from the past decade. You can get the answers at the bottom of this column. No twiddling our thumbs around here. To be fair, the list was compiled and submitted to the Scott Slant by the Brunelle brothers, who are almost as old as I am. I mean, this is classic stuff.
BEYOND THE NBA AND BASEBALL
Everyone’s trying to figure out when and if the NBA season can restart, and how much of Major League Baseball’s season will be played. Stadium’s Brett McMurphy is looking ahead to college football and was a guest Tuesday on Idaho SportsTalk. McMurphy surveyed the 130 FBS athletic directors on the subject and heard back from 112 of them. Twenty percent said they’re just 50/50 on chances of the 2020 football season being played. Could Albertsons Stadium be silent in September? Would the season start in October or November and extend through February? Would they play in the spring? Nothing should surprise us. The revenue schools make in football is irreplaceable.
LOBOS ON THE MOVE
The tumult continues in the vaunted New Mexico men’s basketball program, with two key players in the transfer portal. J.J. Caldwell started all 13 games he played with the Lobos before being suspended in December after allegations from an ex-girlfriend about possible abuse. Caldwell, who was averaging 5.8 points and a Mountain West-best 5.7 assists, never played again. He began his career at Texas A&M before transferring to UNM last year. Vance Jackson, who came to New Mexico in 2017 from UConn, has also entered the portal, intending to be a graduate transfer. Jackson started 44 games the past two seasons, averaging 12.2 points and 6.2 rebounds. He led the Lobos with 19 points in the 74-61 loss to Boise State at ExtraMile Arena in late February.
AIR FORCE GOES WITH AN OLD FAVORITE
It is difficult to make the NCAA Tournament at Air Force, much less earn a Top 25 ranking. Joe Scott has done them both, and now he’s back with the Falcons as their new head coach, replacing Dave Pilipovich. Scott coached the academy for four seasons from 2000-04, capped by a 22-7 campaign that included a trip to the Big Dance for the first time in 42 years and the No. 25 spot in both polls the last week of the regular season. Scott went on to be head coach at Princeton and Denver. He’s been an assistant at Georgia the past two seasons. Scott was credited with bringing the deliberate “Princeton offense” to Air Force, and elements of it remain to this day.
BOISE OPEN ALUM TRIES TO SAVE HIS LEG
A familiar name in Albertsons Boise Open history has reached a crossroads in life. Casey Martin, the Eugene golfer who played the Hillcrest Country Club event seven times and made four cuts, is the one who successfully sued the PGA Tour for the right to use a cart during tournaments due to a debilitating condition called Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome. Now Martin’s in danger of losing the leg afflicted by the condition. He fractured his right tibia last October, and it just won’t heal. Martin had to step aside from his post as coach of the Oregon golf team. “I thought it would happen at 27, not 47,” said Martin. “But it has happened. I'm just going to do everything in my power to save my leg.” Martin will travel to Washington in the coming weeks to get fitted for an expensive brace that will hopefully allow the fracture to heal.
AND THE ANSWERS ARE…
Here are the players attached to 10 of the best nicknames in Boise State history. Gerald “Puddin’” Grayson, a punt returner 50 years ago. The “Canadian Rifle,” quarterback Eric Guthrie. “Super Needle,” running back John Smith. “Motor Mouse,” wide receiver Mike Holton out of Borah. “Riverboat Gambler,” punt returner and safety Rick Woods out of Boise High. “The Four Horsemen,” Joe Aliotti, Cedric Minter, Terry Zahner and David Hughes (the 1980 national championship team backfield). And into this century! “Mad Tad,” offensive guard Tad Miller out of Bishop Kelly. “Canadian Bacon,” Mike Atkinson of Fat Guy Touchdown fame. “Muscle Hamster,” Doug Martin, of course. And “McWeapon,” Jeremy McNichols. How did you do?
THIS DAY IN SPORTS…April 1, 1985, 35 years ago today:
Author George Plimpton pulls a fast one on the readers of Sports Illustrated. Plimpton wrote an article about Sidd Finch, a New York Mets pitching prospect who could reportedly throw a baseball a phenomenal 168 miles per hour. The article appeared in SI’s April Fools Day issue. That same night in Lexington, KY, it seemed like an April Fool’s joke, but it was very real. Villanova stunned defending national champion and top-ranked Georgetown, 66-64, to win the national championship. Coach Rollie Massimino’s Wildcats shot a Final Four record 78.6 percent from the field.
(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.)
Watch more Boise State Football:
See all of our Boise State football coverage in our YouTube playlist: