From a Group of 5 perspective, the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season weren’t too surprising Tuesday night. The new official pecking order in the race for a New Year’s Six bowl berth goes five deep, with Cincinnati-Memphis-Boise State followed by Navy-SMU. What’s interesting is that they’re all within six spots of each other. The 20th-ranked Bearcats still aren’t hurt by their 42-0 loss to No. 1 Ohio State, but the Tigers and the Broncos are right on Cincy’s heels at Nos. 21 and 22 with very similar resumes. Memphis’ two-point loss to Temple is similar to Boise State’s three-point loss at BYU. The Midshipmen and Mustangs are Nos. 24 and 25. San Diego State didn’t make the cut. Not yet, at least.
BACHMEIER TALKS, EVERYONE LISTENS
Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier met the media for the first time on Tuesday. (Full disclosure: I was not there, but the audio is readily available.) Bachmeier was asked more than once about his penchant for aggressive running and the hard hits he’s taken as a result this season. He deflected those with, “I’m just doing whatever I can to help us win the game.” But when asked if coach Bryan Harsin has discussed sliding with him, Bachmeier grinned and said, “Maybe a little bit, yeah.” I like what happened when KTVB’s Will Hall asked, “Why Boise State?” Bachmeier replied, “Why not Boise State? I love the place. I love the people here—so genuine. I could definitely see myself living here for the rest of my life.”
Bachmeier, of course, returned to the lineup in the win at San Jose State. He hadn’t thrown an interception in his previous 87 attempts dating back to the Portland State game before a second-quarter pick against the Spartans, and he didn’t toss a touchdown pass in the game. But Bachmeier passed for 213 yards on just 17 attempts, an average of 12.5 yards per throw, and that was key to pushing him past Hawaii’s Cole McDonald to the top in Mountain West pass efficiency with a rating of 151.3. Interestingly, despite his 438-yard performance against the Broncos, San Jose State’s Josh Love has dropped to fourth in pass efficiency behind Colorado State’s Patrick O’Brien (who Boise State will see the day after Thanksgiving).
A VALID THREAT FROM VALLADAY
With quarterback Sean Chambers out, you can bet Wyoming will depend on Xazavian Valladay for offensive firepower Saturday night on the blue turf. The sophomore running back earned Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week honors the week before Boise State’s George Holani did, racking up 280 all-purpose yards in the Cowboys’ 31-3 rout of Nevada. Valladay’s total was the most by a Poke since current Atlanta Falcon Brian Hill recorded 302 yards against the Wolf Pack in 2016. Valladay had 206 yards rushing alone, and he added 74 receiving yards, including a 53-yard touchdown on Wyoming’s first play from scrimmage. And he’s had a bye week to enjoy it.
ROUT FOR THE RECORD BOOK
Boise State men’s basketball will take away some confidence from its season opener. What else? I guess we’ll find out Saturday night at Oregon. The Broncos scored the most points in program history Tuesday night in their 126-49 pummeling of Life Pacific, breaking the old record of 118 set against Portland State more than 48 years ago. Seven Broncos were in double figures, topped by Derrick Alston with 25 points. Justinian Jessup added 19, including four three-pointers, bringing his career total to 231. And R.J. Williams posted a double-double with 17 points and 14 boards. Boise State, which peeled off a 30-0 first-half run, held Life Pacific to 31-point shooting from the field and out-rebounded the Warriors 51-22. The competition meter moves 180 degrees against the Ducks.
BRONCO WOMEN’S HOOPS BEGINS – SOCCER TRIES TO FINISH
The Boise State women tipped off the front end of the Opening Night doubleheader with an 88-34 rout of Lewis-Clark State. The Broncos led just 17-10 at the end of the first quarter, but a 30-6 romp in the third period made it a runaway. The Warriors shot just 21 percent from the field. Five Boise State players scored in double figures, led by Ellie Woerner with 15 points. On the other side of Boise Avenue at the Boas Soccer Complex, there wasn’t a single goal scored in regulation Tuesday in the first round of the Mountain West Tournament. Fresno State beat Colorado State on penalty kicks, and New Mexico downed San Jose State 1-0 in overtime. San Diego State gets the Bulldogs and Boise State gets the Lobos in the semifinals tomorrow.
STEELIES REWARDED FOR A HOT START
The Idaho Steelheads take on Rapid City for the first time tonight in the opener of a three-game series at the Rushmore (as in Mount) Plaza Civic Center. Coach Everett Sheen has to like what he’s seen out of his team so far. We know the ECHL has. Steelheads netminder Tomas Sholl was named ECHL Goaltender of the Month for October, the second such honor in his career. Sholl went 3-0-2 with a 1.94 goals-against average during the month. And Steelies defenseman Brady Norrish was named the co-recipient of the ECHL Plus Performer of the Month award for October, sharing the league’s best plus-minus rating of plus-8. Norrish posted an even or better rating in each of his six games.
NOTHING LIKE A RIVALRY TROPHY
Back to football—remember the Gem State Trophy that used to go to the winner of the Boise State-Idaho game? The Broncos and BYU need a trophy, or something, to commorate their rivalry. Something creative. The Cougars just captured the “Old Wagon Wheel” for beating Utah State last Saturday. Well, since 1938 Idaho and Montana have played for a traveling trophy called the “Little Brown Stein,” even with the large gaps in the rivalry during the Vandals’ FBS era, and it’s on the line again Saturday in Missoula. Since the rivalry took a name, Idaho is 36-23-1 against the Grizzlies. But the Vandals have been without the Stein since the Griz took it back in 2000.
YOTES WANT IT ALL FOR THEMSELVES
College of Idaho is a football champion for the first time since 1955, but right now the trophy could still be shared. The Coyotes can win the Frontier Conference title outright when they return to Simplot Stadium Saturday afternoon to face Montana Western. Their last solo title was in 1953 in the Northwest Conference. Here’s the scenario later this month: a Yotes win in one of their final two games (and a final Top 20 ranking) would secure them one of 16 spots in the NAIA Football Championship Series, beginning November 23. The top eight teams will host a first-round game—C of I is currently No. 6.
This Day In Sports…brought to you by BBSI BOISE…we’re payroll, we’re risk, we’re HR, we’re business!
November 6, 1869, 150 years ago today: This is what we’ve been commemorating all year, as the first college football game ever played pits Rutgers against Princeton. Each team had 25 players on the field, and the game looked like more of a cross between rugby and soccer than football. Play lasted for 10 “games,” or scores, with Rutgers scoring six times and Princeton scoring four times, for a final tally of 6-4. The two schools would play again a week later, with Princeton posting an 8-0 victory.
(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.)