Tuesday, September 26, 2017.
You’ve heard of USA Today’s “Misery Index,” right? We’ve talked about it before, but never in a Boise State context. The feature zeroes in on the college football fan bases in the greatest amount of pain, and this week it puts Boise State at the top. “If you know someone who loves Boise State football, it’s time to sit them down and have ‘The Conversation,’” writes Dan Wolken. “It won’t be pleasant, and make sure to prepare yourself for the possibility that there will be cursing, crying and outright denial involved. But the Misery Index suggests doing this as quickly as possible to help the Boise State fan in your life come to terms with the reality of life in the post-Chris Petersen era.” Wolken talks about Petersen being a top five coach in the sport, consequently: “Sorry, Boise State, but it’s never going to be like it was.”
Wolken’s narrative is, in a manner of speaking, a defense of Boise State coach Bryan Harsin. “It’s nobody’s fault,” Wolken writes. “Nobody did anything wrong. Petersen gave eight great years to Boise State, staying longer than many people thought he would after experiencing such tremendous initial success.” Harsin walked into a big-shoes-to-fill situation in December, 2013. “And it’s understandable that fans have had a difficult time processing the idea that Harsin’s record is actually quite good,” adds Wolken. “But nothing lasts forever in college football, and Boise State fans need to come to terms with that. Petersen isn’t coming back, nor is the glory from that era. It’s time to see the program for what it really is.” I guess he means a regular ol’ Group of 5 team.
So here’s the Misery Index view moving forward: “If the Broncos don’t get some things cleaned up quickly, they’ll be in danger of having a losing record in October for the first time since 2001 when they started 2-3. Though Brigham Young is no great shakes this year, it’s still a road game and a rivalry. Then Boise State has to go to San Diego State, which solidified itself as the Mountain West favorite with a win at Air Force. The big question for Harsin going forward is whether Boise can contend in the conference. Wyoming, Colorado State and Air Force are all good enough on paper to beat the Broncos this year, but you have to think some program pride will kick in after the tail-kicking they absorbed from Virginia.”
From my Sunday Sports Extra stuff the other night: interesting factoids on Cedrick Wilson’s 209-yard performance last Friday for Boise State. The Broncos’ last three 200-yard receiving games have come in losses. Before Wilson, there was Thomas Sperbeck’s school-record 281 yards in the 2015 defeat at the hands of New Mexico on the blue turf. And there was Matt Miller’s 206 yards in the loss to Oregon State in the 2013 Hawaii Bowl. You have to go all the way back to 2003 for another 200-yard game for Boise State—the last one to happen in a victory came from Tim Gilligan at BYU that year. And there’s this. Sperbeck’s game two years ago was the first 200-yard game ever at home by a Boise State player. Wilson’s was the second. So there has never been one at home in a Bronco victory.
The ACC was as impressed with Virginia’s thumping of Boise State as everybody else. The conference has named Cavaliers quarterback Kurt Benkert as Offensive Back of the Week and wideout Andre Levrone as Receiver of the Week following UVA’s 42-23 victory on the blue turf, the program’s first west of the Mississippi since 1999. It’s noteworthy that Benkert got the honor over former Bronco QB Ryan Finley, who led North Carolina State to a 27-21 road upset of Florida State Saturday. Finley was, however, named a Manning Award "Star of the Week" after going 22-of-32 for 230 yards and two touchdowns. He currently owns college football's longest active streak of passes thrown without an interception at 224.
No Austin Rehkow? No problema for Idaho. Cade Coffey, the Vandals’ redshirt freshman kicker and punter, has been named Sun Belt Special Teams Player of the Week after the exhausting seven-hour 29-23 overtime win at South Alabama Saturday. Coffey hit all three of his field goal attempts, including a 34-yarder that tied the game with 9½ minutes left and a 39-yard boot in the first overtime that gave Idaho its first lead of the game. As a punter, the Rathdrum native launched a 53-yarder that pinned the Jaguars inside their 15-yard line in the fourth quarter, prior to the Vandals’ game-tying drive at the end of regulation. And four of Coffey’s five kickoffs went for touchbacks.
DeMarcus Lawrence of the Dallas Cowboys played the best game of his NFL career last night, and Jon Gruden couldn’t stop talking about him on Monday Night Football. “I’m afraid to say his name again—someone’s going to think I’m his agent,” said Gruden after the former Boise State star’s final sack of Carson Palmer with a minute and a half left in the Cowboys’ 28-17 win at Arizona. Lawrence finished with three sacks and six quarterback hits in a dominating performance. He now leads the NFL with 6.5 sacks in Dallas’ first three games of the season.
Big men are hard to come by in mid-major college basketball, but Boise State has corralled one out of East High in Salt Lake City. Mikey Frazier is a 6-10, 245 pound power forward who committed to the Broncos yesterday for the 2018 recruiting class. If Frazier can develop someday into the Ryan Watkins-type inside presence the Broncos crave, coach Leon Rice—and everybody—will be happy.
This Day In Sports…September 26, 2000:
Pocatello resident Stacy Dragila wins the first-ever women’s pole vault gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Sydney. Dragila vaulted 15 feet, 1 inch—just under her world record of 15’ 2¼” set earlier in the year. She edged the crowd favorite, Aussie Tatiana Grigorieva, before 110,000 fans at Stadium Australia.
(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.)