When what is now the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was founded in 1997, who would have thought that Boise would one day host the Football Bowl Association’s annual meeting? I mean, those were humble beginnings, as the Big West Conference (which three years later would be forced to end the sanctioning of football) was desperately seeking a home for its champion after the Las Vegas Bowl abandoned it and aligned with the WAC. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is still one of the smallest bowls in the postseason parade, but it is established enough—and the city of Boise is attractive enough—to draw 375 FBA attendees this week representing all 40 college bowl games.
The FBA festivities started with a tour of the blue turf yesterday and gets down to brass tacks today and tomorrow with all-day sessions. Today’s guest speaker is Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, and tomorrow it’s Keri Potts, the Vice President of Communications for ESPN. The meetings conclude Thursday night with an honors dinner. “This is the one time all year when we can gather as a group, discuss best practices that will benefit us all,” said FBA Executive Director Wright Waters. The subject of attendance will be on the agenda. It’s a problem at bowl games, as it is throughout college football—and all sports, for that matter. Too bad the delegates can’t stay through the weekend so they can see what a Boise spring is supposed to look like.
Hard to figure what to make of a story in this week’s ESPN The Magazine about former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen leading into the NFL Draft. The piece by Sal Alitour chronicles Rosen’s reputation as an egotistical jerk. Rosen is a smart guy, too. Then he came up with this when Alipour asked about his football goals: “I always looked up to Kellen Moore of Boise State. I thought it was the coolest thing that he was the winningest QB of all time. I thought that was a cool word: winningest. So I want to be the winningest QB in NFL history. I want to win the most games and the most championships. I’d say six titles, but if Tom Brady gets six, I’ll say seven.” Put Kellen Moore’s head on Josh Rosen’s body, and you might have something.
Moore’s relaxing Hall of Fame stay in Boise last weekend has morphed into a busy week in Dallas. The Cowboys’ OTAs (organized team activities) began Monday, with Moore getting his first on-field work as the team’s new quarterbacks coach. Dallas also has a new tight ends coach, former Idaho great Doug Nussmeier. You can imagine that fosters some Bronco-Vandal banter. Moore notes that with former Idaho quarterback Scott Linehan as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator, it’s two against one. When Nussmeier and Linehan rib Moore about the Vandals’ 12-year winning streak over Boise State, Moore says he replies with, “You guys are making yourselves sound really old.” The series ended in 2010 with the Broncos having won 12 in a row.
The field is set for the Cayman Islands Classic November 19-21, the Boise State men’s basketball team’s fifth major early-season tournament in the past six years. The Broncos will be joined by Akron, Clemson, Creighton, Georgia, Georgia State, Illinois State and St. Bonaventure in the event’s second year. Creighton, Georgia State, Clemson and St. Bonaventure were all NCAA Tournament teams last month—Boise State has never played the latter two.
Let’s take a Scott Slant-type look at some of the teams Boise State has played previously. The Broncos beat Creighton 83-70 on the road in November, 2013. The Blue Jays were No. 11 in the country, the highest-ranked team Boise State has ever defeated. Akron goes way back. The Broncos defeated the Zips 65-62 in Taco Bell Arena in 1988. Akron was coached by Bob Huggins, who was more svelte in those days. Illinois State only goes back to this past season. Boise State dropped the RedHawks 82-64 at the Puerto Rico Tip-off last November in a game they led by as many as 33 points. Illinois State was one of two Missouri Valley Conference teams the Broncos routed in 2017-18. The other was, of course, Sister Jean’s team.
The Idaho Steelheads, trying to avoid more first-round playoffs misery, are in Allen, TX, tonight for Game 3 against the Americans. The Steelheads, in an 0-2 hole, face three games on the road now. Will Jefferson Dahl’s skill and leadership be enough to get the Steelheads off the ropes? The Steelheads’ captain has returned to the team from a seven-game stint with Cleveland of the AHL that saw him notch two goals and four assists. Despite playing only 61 games, Dahl was Idaho’s leading scorer this season with 20 goals and 61 points.
There’s one former Idaho Steelhead in the Stanley Cup Playoffs—and the way things are going for the Washington Capitals, we’d better talk about him now. Jay Beagle logged 15 points with seven goals during the regular season for Washington. The 32-year-old center is in his 10th NHL season; he spent time with the Steelies back in 2006-07. Just like Beagle’s former team in Boise, the Caps are up against the wall in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, although they did beat Columbus 3-2 in double-overtime last night to narrow their deficit to two games-to-one. Beagle tallied once in Sunday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Blue Jackets.
This Day In Sports…April 18, 1962:
In Game 7 of the NBA Finals, league MVP Bill Russell scores 30 points and ties his own postseason record with a staggering 40 rebounds to carry Boston to a 110-107 overtime win over the L.A. Lakers. Russell’s heroics offset 41 points from one-time College of Idaho Coyote Elgin Baylor and 35 more from Jerry West, as the Celtics became the first team to win four straight NBA championships. Four years later to the day, Russell became the NBA’s first black coach when he took over the Celtics from the retiring Red Auerbach.
(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.)