At ESPN.com, you’ll find “Most important 2020 game for each Top 25 college football team.” For No. 21 Boise State, it’s not the predictable one. “BSU plays host to Florida State in Week 3, which is always going to be a huge game (and a massive statement about what Boise State has become),” writes Bill Connelly. “But we’re going to go with the game before it. On Sept. 12, the Broncos travel to Colorado Springs to take on an Air Force team that finished last season playing maybe the best ball in the conference. BSU can lose to Florida State and still be well positioned to reach a New Year’s Six bowl. If Boise State can’t beat Air Force, however, the team might not even control its destiny in the Mountain West.” True. You can’t represent the Group of 5 in a New Year’s Six game if you’re not a conference champion.
FROM THE DECADE’S TOP 25
Over at Sporting News, they’re “Ranking college football’s top 25 programs of the past 10 years.” Bill Bender has Boise State at No. 15. “The Broncos are the highest-ranked Group of 5 program;a reputation that extends back to the Chris Petersen era has continued with Bryan Harsin,” writes Bender. “Boise State has won at least 10 games in eight of the past 10 seasons, and they have never won fewer than eight games. It is hard to argue with that track record when it comes to New Year’s Day Six busters.” And there at No. 6 is Florida State. From Bender: “The Seminoles are rebuilding with Mike Norvell now, but it’s easy to forget the early-decade dominance under Jimbo Fisher. FSU won the last Bowl Championship Series national title under Fisher, and the Seminoles had a 29-game win streak during that stretch.”
FULL SPEED AHEAD FOR THE AZTECS
Kirk Kenney of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that San Diego State’s final hurdle has been cleared—and construction can begin on the new $310 million, 35,000-seat stadium in Mission Valley, maybe as early as next month. The sale of the 135-acre property passed a final San Diego City Council vote Tuesday night. The target date for completion, according to Kenney, is September 3, 2022, the date of the Aztecs’ season opener versus Arizona. The new facility will be built northwest of the current SDCCU (formerly Qualcomm) Stadium, which will remain open for the next two football seasons. Boise State is slated to visit in 2021.
LOVE HAS TO BE LOVIN’ LIFE
The Green Bay Packers sure look to be locked in on Jordan Love as Aaron Rodgers successor at quarterback. The former Utah State star has received a fully-guaranteed four-year contract worth $12,383,470. Oh, and there’s a signing bonus of $6,566,160. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports that “it’s the first time the No. 26 (overall) pick has received a fully guaranteed deal under the current rookie contract system.” The Packers, of course, are counting on Love’s 2018 season at USU as their blueprint—not 2019.
IF ONLY THIS WAS IN INK
Now, we can only hope this game is played, fans or no fans. Boise State has announced a neutral-site matchup with Texas A&M on December 18 at the Toyota Center in Houston. It’s part of “The Battleground 2k20,” a doubleheader that features Texas and Louisiana Tech in the other game. This would be the first meeting between the Broncos and Aggies—if the college hoops season doesn’t implode. Maybe this helps Derrick Alston stick around at Boise State, as this event will be played in his hometown. Coaching trivia: Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams has coached in what is now ExtraMile Arena—he brought Marquette in for the NCAA Tournament in 2009. And former Idaho coach Kermit Davis led the Aggies program in 1990-91. That lasted only one season due to rules violations.
DELAET’S NEXT TRY ON THE TOUR
Former Boise State star Graham DeLaet told KTVB’s Mark Johnson in mid-May he planned to return to the PGA Tour in June at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, SC. That, of course, didn’t happen. But DeLaet does have a new timeline, telling Caves & Prater Wednesday on Idaho SportsTalk that he’s targeting the 3M Open outside of Minneapolis three weeks from now, plus the Barracuda Championship outside Reno the following week. DeLaet, who’s home in Eagle, said he’s been playing 3-4 times per week without pain from his troublesome back. Meanwhile, Troy Merritt tees off today at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit. Merritt shot his best round of the season last Friday, a six-under 64 that launched him into what could have been a lucrative weekend at the Travelers Championship. But a pair of 72s left him tied for 60th.
WHAT’S UP WITH ALLIE O, AND WHAT’S AHEAD
The COVID-19 pandemic has been bad timing for most of the world, but there’s been a silver lining for former Boise State distance-running superstar Allie Ostrander. The three-time national steeplechase champion has taken care of a nagging Achilles injury and should be stronger than ever when the delayed U.S. Olympic Trials arrive a year from now. Even with the injury, Ostrander won the Millrose Games in New York City in February. According to Rich Sands of Track & Field News, Ostrander received platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy in early April to help accelerate the healing. “The PRP procedure involves injections of one’s own platelets, which can help mend muscles, tendons and ligaments, among other things,” writes Sands.
Ostrander was cleared to begin running again in mid-May and hopes to have some competitive opportunities before the end of the year. She also told Sands that she’s still pursuing the 5,000 and 10,000-meters in addition to the 3,000-meter steeplechase. “It’s pretty advantageous for me to have another year leading into the Olympic Trials since this was my first year as a pro, and that’s a big adjustment period,” Ostrander said. “That will help me build strength and speed and give myself the best chance to make the team.”
This Day In Sports…brought to you by ZAMZOWS…Nobody Knows Like Zamzows!
July 2, 2002: An exclamation point on baseball’s Steroids Era, as a big league record 62 home runs are hit in one day. The homers were spread among 15 games, with 12 of them coming in a 17-9 Chicago White Sox win over the Detroit Tigers, tying the majors’ single-game record set by the same two teams two years earlier. Nine players hit two home runs apiece that day, including three members of the San Francisco Giants not named Barry Bonds: Tsyoshi Shinjo, Damon Minor and Reggie Sanders.
(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.)