Boise State hasn’t played an afternoon game on the blue turf since September 7, 2013. Just about four years later, there will be another. It may be Labor Day weekend, it may be 90 degrees, but it’s at 1:45 p.m. The Broncos will kick off the 2017 season on September 2 with an afternoon start against Troy. The announcement actually came from ESPN, which determines such things as you know, but it shows that athletic director Curt Apsey’s lobbying efforts have paid off. Apsey knows what late kickoffs have meant in Albertsons Stadium. The Troy game won’t be on national TV as we know it, but it’ll still show on ESPNU. The decrease in exposure is a price that fans are happy to pay.
Hey, maybe we’ll get lucky. When Boise State played UT-Martin in that September game in 2013, the high was 82. It was magnificent for the Broncos’ 63-14 win. There was a September 15 game in the afternoon the year before, a 39-12 win over Miami of Ohio, with a high of 91. In 2011, an October 1 date against Nevada was thought to be the earliest (on the calendar) day game in the history of what was then Bronco Stadium. It should have been classic fall weather, but the thermometer reached 90 degrees that day, too. Oh, and Boise State dropped the Wolf Pack 30-10 (remember the 90-yard Doug Martin touchdown run that was called back?).
National exposure for Boise State in Week 2 will be partly determined by how it does against Troy, a 10-3 team last season. ESPN has also announced that the Broncos’ non-conference game at Washington State on September 9 will kick off at 8:30 p.m. Mountain time on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU—with the decision to be made after the opening-week matchup against the Trojans. Wazzu begins the season September 2 at Martin Stadium versus Montana State. ESPN doesn’t expect much to be determined there (then again, don’t put anything past Jeff Choate and Byron Hout and Matt Miller).
The Boise Hawks want to give fans a hint at the experience they can expect when the new stadium opens at Americana Boulevard and Shoreline Drive (and it sure sounds like it’s going to happen). The Hawks are installing a new state-of-the-art video board at Memorial Stadium this season, with almost 600 square feet of video display space. That’s less than a third of the size of the board at Albertsons Stadium, but it’ll stand out in the cozy confines on Glenwood. Hawks and Agon Sports and Entertainment President Jeff Eiseman said yesterday on Idaho SportsTalk that the feature is movable, too. Eiseman indicated that the club will install a “megaboard” in the new stadium and use this year’s smaller board to supplement it. The Hawks’ home opener is June 20 versus the Eugene Emeralds.
Eiseman sounded very positive about the new stadium possibilities on IST. “The goal is to have the facility ready by 2020,” he said. And that means not only for the Hawks, but for two other teams. Eiseman and Agon are diligently pursuing a United Soccer League franchise for Boise, and he said he met with USL officials in Tampa just last week to give them a progress report. The stadium would have to be ready by February, 2020, to accommodate USL exhibition games (friendlies) before the regular season starts. And right on the heels of that would be the Boise State baseball season.
While we await Albert Pujols’ landmark 600th career home run, it seems everything else is overshadowing the L.A. Angels star. The buzz north of the border surrounds former Boise Hawk Josh Donaldson, who on Tuesday night became just the ninth Toronto Blue Jay ever to homer into the fifth deck of the Rogers Centre during the Jays’ 6-4 victory over the Reds. Donaldson’s two-run shot off was projected to have traveled 435 feet, leaving his bat at 109 miles per hour. The fifth deck at the stadium has been reached just 20 times since the it opened in 1989. Donaldson went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs in his fourth game since returning from the 10-day disabled list.
Graham DeLaet struggled to the finish line last week in the Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial, but he did make the cut. The former Boise State star tied for 57th at five-over. DeLaet is in the field today as the Memorial tees off in Muirfield Village, OH. Troy Merritt is not entered in the Jack Nicklaus-hosted event—he hasn’t competed since The Players Championship three weeks ago. Merritt is set to participate in a U.S. Open Sectional Monday in Memphis.
The NBA Finals finally begin tonight in Oakland in the “three-match” between the Warriors and Cavaliers. As time goes, these tie-ins will fade away, but I thought you should known there is one former Idaho Stampede player suiting up for Golden State. Ian Clark, who appeared in seven Stampede games on assignment from the Utah Jazz in 2014-15, is a reserve guard for the Warriors. Clark has actually had a productive postseason, averaging almost 15 minutes per game in the playoffs and averaging 7.5 points while shooting 52 percent from the field. He averaged 14.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in his stint with the Stamps.
This Day In Sports…June 1, 2012, five years ago today:
It takes more than 50 years, but the New York Mets finally get their first no-hitter in franchise history. The Mets had gone a big league record 8,019 games without one until Johan Santana beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-0 at Citi Field. Notables like Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone all threw no-hitters—but not until after they left the Mets. The only team remaining without a no-hitter in its history is the San Diego Padres.
(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.)