2023? Six years isn’t all that far away

Although all is quiet right now on the conference realignment front, ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg has a carrot for you. It’s 2023, when the current Power 5 TV contracts start to expire, and Rittenberg duly notes: “By then the traditional rights deal itself might be obsolete. Conferences recognize that fans are consuming content, including live events, in different ways. This shift will continue to impact current distributors like ESPN, Fox and CBS, and could bring different companies into the distribution market, like Amazon, Google, Facebook or Twitter.” (So you’re sayin’ there’s a chance?)

Here’s where Rittenberg’s theory gets interesting: “Realignment strategy also should change. In 2012, the Big Ten added Maryland and Rutgers more for their surrounding television markets than for the individual fan bases they added to the league. But if traditional cable subscription numbers continue to decrease, leagues might be less concerned about markets and would instead target members with large, passionate fan bases, willing to pay whatever to see their teams. That’s why football-only members could be a bigger factor for power conferences when realignment stirs again. That could be good news for BYU, a football-only candidate for the Big 12 last year, or even Group of 5 football heavyweights like Boise State and Houston.”

Six years is not that far down the road. “Although certain Group of 5 schools have some time to enhance their profiles before the next round of negotiations, they must convince the big conferences that accepting them will pay off,” writes Rittenberg. The Boise State football program is at a crossroads, as it tries to not only grow, but just maintain its healthy fan base. The Broncos’ average attendance last season was up over 2015 to 34,273 per game, but their season ticket count dipped below 20,000 for the first time in 10 years. Okay, is 2023 on your calendar yet? Or are you humming that 43-year-old Aerosmith song, “Dream On”…?

Today let’s pick out some Boise State “magazine highlights” from Athlon, Lindy’s and Street & Smith’s. From Athlon comes this revealing nugget: “Boise State led the nation with 17 sacks in the first four games but had only 12 in the final nine games, due in part to a defensive line that wore out as the season progressed. Two starters graduated, but junior David Moa (8.5 sacks) moves from an undersized nose tackle to defensive tackle, where he could be even more potent. Four first-year players who saw time in 2016 will have much larger roles this season.” I think this year’s defensive line could be deceivingly good. It’s all about having eight guys ready to rotate.

Let’s stay on defense for our highlight from Athlon: “Boise State should be deep at defensive back witn a few ball hawks, led by junior cornerback Tyler Horton, who is a reliable cover man (his 85-yard TD return against Washington State was big). Safety could run three deep, led by sophomores Kekoa Nawahine and DeAndre Pierce, smart youngsters who played decent-sized roles as true freshmen.” That’s heady praise for a unit that features just one returning interception, Horton’s pick-six. But Athlon adds that its top Bronco newcomer is Michael Young, who has moved to cornerback after playing safety in junior college. The magazine notes, “He has the size to be a physical presence, and coaches raved about his attitude.”

From Street & Smith’s, it has to do with future talent added back in February: “Boise State continued its dominance over the Mountain West in recruiting, leading the conference for the seventh year in a row. Coach Bryan Harsin, entering his fourth year, signed a strong class that is headlined by four-star Virginia athlete Jermani Brown. Boise beat out Michigan State, Utah and Arizona Statenfor Brown’s signature. Offensive lineman Isiah Moore could also make an early impact for the Broncos.” Well, Brown will be the most visible—maybe from the opening kickoff on September 2.

Safe to say Salem-Keizer turned the tables on the Boise Hawks last night. The Volcanoes erupted (you knew that was comin’) with a 13-hit attack, leading to a 9-1 victory at Memorial Stadium. The Hawks’ lone run came off the bat of Sam Tidaback in the form of a solo homer in the fifth inning, the team’s ninth home run in 13 games this season. Boise hit only 24 in 76 games last year.

Boise State swimmers Emma Chard, Ally Kleinsorgen and Emily Mathis are in Indianapolis right now for the USA Championships. All three Broncos qualified for nationals by topping the qualifying standard in their respective events during the 2016-17 collegiate season. Chard is swimming in four events and made her debut last night in the 800-meter freestyle, recording a career-best 8:52:30, seven seconds better than her previous top time. She fell short of the finals, though. Chard competes in the 200 free today, while Mathis swims the 200 breaststroke.

This Day In Sports…June 28, 1997, 20 years ago today:

One of the most bizarre title fights in boxing history, as Mike Tyson bites off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear during their heavyweight championship bout in Las Vegas. Tyson’s transgression happened in the third round after Holyfield had dominated the early action. Referee Mills Lane deducted two points from Tyson but allowed the bout to continue. Later in the round, Tyson bit Holyfield’s other ear, and Lane disqualified Tyson after the bell sounded.

(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.)