Home for the Holidays makes sense

Pending what Central District Health decrees late this afternoon, here’s one thought on what’s left of the Boise State football season. If the Wyoming game next week is a no-go, and the Mountain West championship game disintegrates, why not just ticket the Broncos for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and call it good? I suggested Thursday that Boise State and San Jose State play, but it doesn’t really matter who the opponent is. If there’s one year for the Broncos to bowl at home, this is it. They haven’t played in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 15 years. The vaunted “bowl experience” isn’t an issue. What difference does it make whether you sequester in a hotel room in Boise or Los Angeles? And there’s this: who says the December 22 date for the bowl has to be set in stone. Couldn’t it be moved deep into January?

BYU’S SUDDEN OPPORTUNITY

Two days ago, it looked like the only game BYU had left was against San Diego State, and with the Aztecs’ offensive struggles, a win there wasn’t going to do the Cougars much good as they plead their case for a New Year’s Six bowl. But then COVID-19 overcame Liberty, which was supposed to play Coastal Carolina on Saturday. And now it’s 13th-ranked BYU headed back East to face the 18th-ranked Chanticleers (both teams are 9-0). Coastal Carolina is higher in the polls than Boise State was when the Cougars beat the Broncos on the blue turf a month ago. BYU needs this. Bonus: ESPN College GameDay is broadcasting live from Coastal Carolina Saturday morning.

TOO SOON FOR A MOVE BY MOORE?

With the Detroit Lions looking for a new head coach (and the New York Jets likely about to), Kellen Moore’s name is being bandied about. Here’s some analysis from USA Today’s Tyler Greenawalt: “Is Moore ready to be a head coach yet? That’s the biggest question teams will need to ponder when considering the Cowboys’ 32-year-old play-caller. Moore’s offense ranked first in yards and second in points just a year ago in his first season as offensive coordinator but naturally plummeted in 2020 after the Cowboys lost Dak Prescott for the season. Moore is young, innovative and offensive-minded, but the former quarterback’s lack of experience—he’s only coached for three seasons after retiring from the league in 2017—will make him a risky head coach candidate this offseason.” Someday, though…

PLAN C IN EXTRAMILE ARENA

Will the third try be a charm? The hastily-scheduled game today between the Boise State men’s basketball team and Montana Western, intended to be a stand-in of sorts after the New Mexico series was postponed, was hastily canceled Thursday night due to COVID problems with the Bulldogs. But there’s already new a fill-in. And unless College of Idaho declares this an exhibition game, the Coyotes will be putting their 26-game winning streak on the line against the Broncos at 5 p.m. The Yotes were scheduled to play Arizona Christian Saturday and again Monday in Caldwell before that series was scrapped. This is a heckuva way to replace one of those games.

There will be no fans, so it won’t be “your first chance to see Arizona transfer Emmanuel Akot play for Boise State.” Coach Leon Rice confirms that Akot, who was held out of last week’s trip to Texas, will make his debut against the Bulldogs. The Broncos will be heavily-favored, but there is one area they can focus on that is unaffected by the opponent. After shooting just 58 percent from the free throw line at Houston a week ago, the Broncos shot 88 percent (22-for-25) in the rout of Sam Houston State last Sunday. That was Boise State’s best percentage on at least 20 attempts in four years. What will it be this evening?

MCGWIRE SHOULD BE A HANDFUL

It’s unlikely that the College of Idaho women have anybody who can match up with Mallory McGwire as Boise State opens its season against the Coyotes earlier this afternoon in ExtraMile Arena. McGwire is a 6-5 post and was the Broncos’ only selection on the preseason All-Mountain West team. It’s fun to look at her bloodlines, and we’re not talking about her Uncle Mark. McGwire’s dad, Dan, was once a 6-foot-8 San Diego State Aztec. A quarterback, no less. The elder McGwire was first-team All-WAC in 1990 after throwing for 3,833 yards, 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. He then became the tallest quarterback drafted in NFL history when Seattle took him with the 16th overall pick in 1991.

BOGEYS OF THE CARIBBEAN

If Troy Merritt could rid himself of untimely bogeys, he’d be a top 25 regular on the PGA Tour. Then again, wouldn’t everybody? Consecutive bogeys on Nos. 6 and 7 put Merritt behind the eight-ball Thursday in the first round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The former Boise State star did rally, though, carding a one-under 71 that leaves him in good position to make the cut today.

SCHWARBER IS ON THE MARKET

One of the most prominent players of the Boise Hawks’ Chicago Cubs era may or may not be looking for a new home. Kyle Schwarber and another former Hawk, Albert Almora Jr., were “not tendered” Wednesday by the Cubs, making them free agents. It’s not only a financial move based on COVID revenue stress, it’s performance-related. Schwarber hit .230 with 121 home runs in his six seasons with the Cubs, but he struggled this year—and he has always struck out a lot. The Cubs could still bring him back, and they may want him if the National League keeps the designated hitter for good. Schwarber was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft and debuted with the Hawks that season, hitting four homers in the first five games before being called up in the Cubs system.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by ZAMZOWS…Nobody Knows Like Zamzows!

December 4, 2010, 10 years ago today: Boise State plays its final conference game in the WAC, routing Utah State, 50-14. The win came on Senior Day at Bronco Stadium, as 18 seniors—including record-setting wide receivers Austin Pettis and Titus Young—wrapped up their Boise State careers. Senior linebacker Derrell Acrey started the onslaught on the game’s first play, returning an interception 31 yards for a touchdown. The Broncos ended their 10-year WAC era with eight championships, a 75-5 record in conference games, and a perfect 40-0 mark on the blue turf.

(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.)

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