Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Happy New Year

We had become accustomed to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl being held close to the beginning of the postseason. Now, for only the second time in 23 editions, Boise’s bowl game will be played in January. The date is Friday, January 3, and kickoff time is 1:30 p.m. on ESPN. Gotta get another afternoon off two days after New Year’s Day. Put in for it now. Whichever Mountain West team fills the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl spot will be rested (and hopefully not rusty). The conference’s representative most likely will not be coming off the Mountain West championship game—so the game comes at least 34 days after the end of the regular season.

This is the first time the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl has been played after Christmas in 10 years. The other time it took place in January was on the same date back in 2004—on a Saturday afternoon, sandwiched in between the BCS bowls. That game is all over the bowl’s record book. In Georgia Tech’s 52-10 rout of Tulsa, Yellowjackets running back P.J. Daniels rushed for 307 yards, still the most in the history of bowl games. Helped by seven sacks, Tech held the Golden Hurricane to minus-56 yards rushing.

Elsewhere on the Mountain West calendar, the New Mexico and Las Vegas Bowls remain on the first day of bowl season. Las Vegas gets a prime time slot in the East on ABC, kicking off at 5:30 p.m. Mountain on ABC. That sets the table for next year, when the game moves to the new Raiders stadium and ends its affiliation with the MW. The Hawaii Bowl moves back to Christmas Eve this year, which assures a sea of empty seats in Aloha Stadium. The 2019 game matches the Mountain West (Hawaii if it’s bowl-eligible) against BYU. And the Arizona Bowl is set for New Year’s Eve.

NAVIGATING THE STORMS AT FSU

I wrote Thursday about an Andy Staples Sports Illustrated column on coach Willie Taggart’s challenges at Florida State, Boise State’s season-opening opponent. I didn’t talk about another Seminoles issue Staples touched on. After last season, Taggart brought in Kendal Briles from Houston to run his offense and also hired offensive line coach Randy Clements, a longtime associate of the Briles family. The patriarch of that family, of course, is Art Briles, who was drummed out of Baylor in 2016 during the university’s sexual assault scandal. Taggart’s moves were met by protests from those who think neither new assistant should ever work again. FSU is the third school to hire Kendal Briles since he left Baylor. “The younger Briles keeps getting hired because he runs an offense that works,” writes Staples.

BRONCO WOMEN WILL HOST IN WNIT

It’s not necessarily a marquee bracket in the 26th annual Preseason Women’s NIT. But the point is: it’s the Preseason WNIT, and Boise State is in it. The Broncos will host Portland State in first round of the tournament on Friday, November 8, in what will be ExtraMile Arena. A victory would pit Boise State against the winner of the bracket’s other game between Missouri State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Vikings are coming off their first NCAA Tournament in nine years. They got there by upending Eastern Washington 61-59 in the Big Sky championship game in CenturyLink Arena. Should the Broncos get on a roll, they wouldn’t get a rematch with Oregon State until the title game. The Beavers, of course, edged Boise State 80-75 in overtime in the NCAA first round in March.

TRACKING SOME VALLEY STARS

Former Boise State tight end and current Northwest Nazarene track and field star Jake Knight has been heaving a shot put of one kind or another since he was a toddler. Now the Rocky Mountain High grad is set to compete at the NCAA Division II Championships today and tomorrow in Kingsville, TX, in both the shot and discus. Knight has been shattering conference records in the discus all spring. He most recently broke his own school discus record and set the all-time GNAC mark a month ago at the Border Clash at Dona Larsen Park. Knight is accustomed to competing at a high level—he qualified for the SEC Championships as a freshman at Auburn in 2015.

Boise State’s contingent of 18 athletes began competition Thursday night at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field West Preliminaries in Sacramento. The highlight performances came from Kristie Scoffield and Alexis Fuller, who won their heats in the 1,500-meters and 800-meters, respectively to advance to the national quarterfinals. Today’s features include star Allie Ostrander in the 3,000-meter steeplechase quarterfinal. Also, Eagle’s Grayson Huff is set for the NCAA Golf Championships with his Auburn teammates beginning today at the University of Arkansas. Huff finished second individually earlier this month at the SEC Championships

This Day In Sports…brought to you by BBSI…partners in profitability!

May 24, 1935: The first-ever night game in Major League Baseball history, as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. The game drew 25,000 fans, who stood by as President Franklin D. Roosevelt symbolically switched on the lights from Washington, D.C. Most teams soon followed suit, installing lights throughout the 1930s and 40s. Chicago’s Wrigley Field, that bastion of day baseball, was the final holdout. The Cubs didn’t play a night game there until August, 1988.

(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.)