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Boise State football: The painful pause button in sports

From strictly a fan standpoint, there’s never been a time like this. Even during World War II, when Bronco football was in its infancy.

BOISE, Idaho — Thursday, March 19, 2020. 

As you get older, the years go by in a flash.  Now, time has never moved so sluggishly in all my life—at least since I was breathlessly waiting for the day of my first San Francisco Giants game when I was seven years old.  Things have slowed way down now.  Has it really been just a week since the NCAA Tournament was canceled?  And the Boise State baseball season ended?  And everything else?  With all due respect to the devastation of World War II and its wrenching effect on our population, the impact on the sports fan back then pales in comparison to what is happening now. 

KTVB’s Jay Tust interviewed me for a story on that Wednesday.  Most of the country scrapped college football between 1942-45, but big league baseball continued, and the NFL muddled through with some merged teams.  Boise Junior College suspended regular operations during the war, but a core of players forged on with six-man football, competing against other local colleges, airmen from Gowen Field, and even inmates from the Idaho State Penitentiary.  That was the line of demaracation, as the Broncos resumed play in 1946, and Lyle Smith became head coach the year after.  And that’s when it all began. 

THE CHAIRS CHANGE AHEAD OF RYPIEN 

Brett Rypien may not be any closer to throwing a pass in an NFL game, but there won’t be a Joe Flacco ahead of him in Denver anymore.  The Broncos are set to release Flacco and cast their lot with Drew Lock.  Thing is, they’ve agreed to terms with another backup, Jeff Driskel, most recently a Detroit Lion.  Denver’s also trying to re-sign quarterback Brandon Allen, who played ahead of Rypien when the former Boise State star was on the 53-man roster last November.  Rypien was then waived and returned to the Broncos’ practice squad once Locke came off injured reserve.  Rypien, the Mountain West’s all-time leading passer, signed a reserve/future contract with Denver on December 30. 

HUTCH’S NEW HOBBY: TIKTOK 

Tuesday was the day Chandler Hutchison was to undergo surgery on his right shoulder.  The Chicago Bulls originally said the recovery time for the procedure was 12-16 weeks.  With all the talk that maybe—maybe—Kevin Durant could still play for the Brooklyn Nets if the NBA is delayed until this summer, what about Hutchison?  Based on his supposed timeline, the former Boise State star could be available sometime in June.  Hutchison first injured the shoulder in November, then reinjured it on February 11.  He’s played just 72 games in two seasons with the Bulls.  (Optimism over a Durant return was seriously sidetracked Tuesday by word that the NBA superstar has contracted the coronavirus). 

Hutchison has found something to kill the time while he’s not shooting hoops (we all have a lot of time on our hands, come to think of it).  The Chicago Tribune reports that Hutchison opened a TikTok account a few weeks ago and has been posting videos—and one has gone viral.  He was up to 97,500 followers after his third video was viewed (as of late Monday) 14.5 million times.  It’s called “You and your friend having a sleepover when it’s past your bedtime.”  It’s the requisite 10 seconds long and, well, it’s hard to describe.  Continued success, Hutch. 

BEST TO EMMA, EVERYBODY 

With lack of a better way to put it, fingers are crossed for former Boise State distance runner Emma Bates and her husband, Kameron Ulmer, who are being tested for the coronavirus.  From Bates’ Twitter account on Wednesday: “Update: I have been experiencing what could be symptoms of COVID-19 (fatigue, body aches, headache), my husband developed just a headache.  We will be getting tested today to be sure.”  Bates, the 2014 national champion in the women’s 10,000-meters, is slated to be inducted into the Boise State Athletic Hall of Fame in September.  She finished seventh in the U.S. Olympic Trials for the marathon in February. 

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…March 19, 1995, 25 years ago today: 

The most memorable of all moments in Boise’s NCAA Tournament history (until Hampton’s upset of Iowa State in 2001) occurs in the second round game between UCLA and Missouri.  With 4.9 seconds left, Mizzou held a 74-73 lead when Bruins guard Tyus Edney drove the length of the floor and sank a high floater at the buzzer to win the game, 75-74.  That highlight will live forever.  UCLA would go on to win its 11th national championship two weeks later. 

(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.)