Scott Slant Monday Special: Not to be cheesy, but here I go…

Sap alert. In both 1994 and 2004, a KTVB videographer and I produced a Boise State season-ending video to an obscure song Called “Keepin’ The Dream Alive” from an obscure movie. A section of the lyrics go like this:

The hopes we had were much too high
Way out of reach but we had to try
No need to hide, no need to run
‘Cuz all the answers come one by one
The game will never be over
Because we’re keepin’ the dream alive

It worked in 1994 because Boise State had come off a 3-8 season under Pokey Allen to go 13-2 and play in the Division I-AA national championship game. It worked in 2004 because for the first time, the Broncos made the top 10, once a Dan Hawkins pipe dream, and they posted the school’s first undefeated regular season as a four-year program.

But I mean, wow—does that song speak to what’s happened the past month, or what? There’s a current KTVB videographer who’s thinking about a sequel as we speak. It’s the “if I had told you” club. If I had told you one month ago that Boise State would lose at Fresno State, you would have shrugged. At that point the hopes the Broncos had were much too high. But then they fire their coach, win out, take the Mountain West championship game by 24 points, get a bid to the LA Bowl against UCLA, and hire the city’s new favorite son as head coach? Sorry for the cheese. Not sorry.


Boise State rolled 21 in Las Vegas Saturday. As in, the Broncos’ 21st conference championship since becoming a four-year program in 1968. The 44-20 victory was also their biggest in a Mountain West championship game and their first one away from home. Then they did it again Sunday by hiring Spencer Danielson as their full-time head coach. The reaction in the team meeting room when athletic director Jeramiah Dickey announced it was priceless. Danielson became the first interim coach in college football history to win a conference championship game. No more interim. He’s the guy as Boise State prepares for the LA Bowl in 12 days against UCLA in SoFi Stadium.


As many of you know, I’ve been around for every one of Boise State’s 21 conference titles, starting with the first Big Sky crown 50 years ago. There were twists and turns for each of them—the 1980 title that led to the Division I-AA national championship, the one in 1994 that broke Idaho’s 12-year winning streak in the rivalry, the one in 2005 that the team learned of on a flight home from a victory in Ruston, LA. But I have never seen a story like this year’s. The team that had the Broncos’ worst November record in 26 years had a 0.1 percent chance of winning the Mountain West, according to ESPN’s index. As Danielson has said so many times, they did not flinch.


In October there was a lot of talk about the standard at Boise State. I maintained at the time that the minimum standard was a winning season. It took until December, but Boise State finally clinched its 26th straight winning season (extending the nation’s longest streak) when the situation at one point looked so dire. A triumph over the Bruins in the LA Bowl would be the Broncos’ ninth. Nine wins? When so many people once wondered if they could get to six?


Boise State has played UCLA once, losing 38-7 to open the 1999 season in the Rose Bowl. The Broncos didn’t know how good they were at the time. Their only touchdown of the night came late in the fourth quarter when backup quarterback Bryan Harsin connected with tight end Shaelen McDonough. That game against the Bruins, though, was the symbolic beginning of the school’s Golden Era. Boise State caught fire in October of that year with a 52-17 rout of Nevada, and they would win 153 of their next 174 games. (Let that sink in.)


The LA Bowl against Boise State will mark the final Pac-12 football game in UCLA’s history. In 2024, the Broncos will play every team in that conference. All two of them. The Mountain West did work out a scheduling agreement for next season with Oregon State and Washington State. Each MW school will play one of the teams once, with the conference season reduced to seven games. Games against OSU and WSU will not count in league standings, and the Beavers and Cougars will not be eligible for the MW title. The Pac-2 will pay the Mountain West $14 million—it will buy the duo some time to figure out if there’s a path to remaining in the Power 5.


Not only was the weekend historic from a Boise State standpoint, it was a productive Saturday all the way around in Idaho. The Vandals rallied for a 20-17 overtime win versus Southern Illinois in the Kibbie Dome, partially blocking a potential game-winning field goal by the Salukis at the end of regulation and getting their own in OT from Ricardo Chavez. Idaho now hosts Albany in the FCS quarterfinals this Saturday night. And College of Idaho rallied past previously undefeated Grand View 31-17 in Des Moines, IA, Saturday to advance to the NAIA semifinals for the first time in school history. Quarterback Andy Peters was at the heart of it again for the Yotes, throwing for 225 yards and rushing for 77 yards and three touchdowns. C of I now travels all the way to West Palm Beach, FL, to face Keiser University this Saturday.

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December 4, 1988: Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders wins the Heisman Trophy just before wrapping up a record-setting year that sees him break Marcus Allen’s single-season rushing record with 2,638 yards. Sanders also scored an NCAA record 39 touchdowns that season. Boise State’s Brock Forsey moved into second on the all-time single-season list behind Sanders with his 32 TDs as a senior in 2002. That remains a Broncos record, as does Forsey’s 68 career touchdowns.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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