One year ago, spring football was over, and we were starting to track the days until Boise State’s season opener at Florida State on Labor Day weekend. Today, we don’t know what to look forward to yet, so the school went back to that rousing start to the 2019 season for this week’s “Bronco Throwback Classic.” The telecast of the game was reshown on the Boise State Football Facebook page last night. As you recall, after a chaotic switch of the game from Jacksonville to Tallahassee due to Hurricane Dorian, the Broncos seemed out of sorts and fell behind 31-13 in the first half. But they rallied for a 36-31 victory, shutting out FSU in the second half.
It’s been eight months since that memorable 18-point comeback. How do we look back on it now? After all, it was Florida State. But the Seminoles ended up a shell of their old selves, as coach Willie Taggart didn’t even make it through the season before being fired. As for the Broncos, perception was not reality. Robert Mahone looked like a lock as the new feature running back after rushing for 142 yards and two touchdowns. And Hank Bachmeier looked like a world-beater, as he was the first true freshman quarterback in school history to throw for over 400 yards. Well, it was George Holani who would become Boise State’s next 1,000-yard rusher. And the Broncos did win the Mountain West championship, but they did it without the banged-up Bachmeier.
‘SO HOW MUCH ARE THEY GIVIN’ YOU?’
The NCAA Board of Governors tried to get out ahead of the avalanche Wednesday, devising a plan to allow athletes to accept third-party payment for the use of their likeness, public appearances and social media followings. It won’t be voted on until January, but you know there are recruiting coordinators at major schools sitting in a back room looking for loopholes. How will the NCAA keep it from being a free-for-all? At a school like Boise State, there would certainly be candidates for endorsements. The Broncos would have to be careful not to upend team chemistry, a crucial element to their 21st century success. A Kellen Moore-type would bring in 10 times as much as a Kyle Efaw-type. How are the Kyle Efaws of the world going to feel about that?
THE PLAYER DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT
This factoid from Yahoo! Sports has been making the rounds this week, and it bears repeating. In the last 10 years, only two schools—Power 5, Group of 5, whatever—had more recruits than Boise State who were rated three-stars or lower at the start of their careers selected in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. Ohio State has had 14, Wisconsin 13 and Boise State 12 (along with LSU and Stanford). Dave Southorn’s story at TheAthletic.com on the Broncos’ first commit of the 2021 recruiting class, linebacker Jai Jones, pointed to that reputation as a reason he chose Boise State over SEC offers from Texas A&M, LSU, Georgia and Arkansas.
MOUNTAIN WEST MEDIA SCREENS
We’re trying to gauge the optimism of the Mountain West about a college football season happening in 2020. On Wednesday, the conference announced that it will hold football Media Days for this season. It’s going to be online, though. No surprise. But here’s the asterisk. Mountain West Media Days had been scheduled for July 16-17 this year, with the meetings moving to Los Angeles. The virtual version will be “on a date to be determined.” So the MW is leaving its options open in case there’s a monkey wrench thrown into the 2020 schedule. “The new innovative format will provide the opportunity for the promotion of a broader range of student-athletes, while also allowing media to participate who otherwise would not have been able to attend the event in-person,” said the conference in a release. True, but not the same.
CAN EASON BE AN NFL GRINDER?
Jacob Eason’s solid night against Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl wasn’t enough to overcome inconsistencies during the rest of last season. Hence, the Washington quarterback wasn’t selected until the fourth round of the NFL Draft last weekend by the Indianapolis Colts. Eason went 22-of-32 for 210 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in the 38-7 rout of the Broncos. Afterward he was mentioned in the same breath with the likes of Justin Herbert and Jordan Love.
But Matt Calkins of the Seattle Times noted the clunkers before the draft: “There was the game he went 18 for 30 for 162 yards and no TDs in a loss against Cal. There was the game he went 16 for 36 for 206 yards and an interception in a loss against Stanford. There was his disappearing act in the fourth quarter in a loss to Oregon, and there were the three turnovers he committed in a loss against Utah.” And Calkins’ clincher: “Opinion is that he doesn’t work that hard at his craft.’”
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April 30, 2017: Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals becomes the first big league player in 10 years—and only the 13th in history—to drive in 10 runs in game. The way he did was even more impressive in the Nats’ 23-5 romp over the New York Mets. Rendon went 6-for-6 and homered three times, his first three home runs of the season. He also had just five RBIs coming into the game. The last player to knock in 10 runs? Former Boise Hawk Garret Anderson with the L.A. Angels in 2007.
(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.)