Scott Slant Wednesday Weekly: Not a total makeover, and that’s good

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Just tweak it. Count me among the relieved that Boise State didn’t completely overhaul its uniforms when the new ones were unveiled Tuesday in time for Mountain West Media Days. To the naked eye, it’s still the classic Broncos look dating back to 2009. The font is the same. The lettering is slightly larger, and the stripes on the shoulders, previously at an angle, are now straight and surround the arm, with the colors reversed. And, for the first time since 2006, there are jersey numerals on the shoulders. Boise State teamed with EA Sports to make the announcement, with esteemed model Ashton Jeanty rocking the new Nike outfit. Over the years, the numeral font has become standard across all Broncos sports. Hopefully that consistency will remain, and the design refresh will usher in a new era of cool.


Boise State was indeed picked first in the Mountain West Preseason Poll this morning at Media Days in Las Vegas. It’s a combination of the Mountain West being down and the Broncos being up. What it comes down to is 1) Boise State’s finish last year under coach Spencer Danielson that culminated in a Mountain West title, and 2) the Broncos’ ability to escape the scourge of the transfer portal. Other than the usual transfers of players looking for more playing time, Boise State escaped unscathed. Only two returning starters left. One of them, wide receiver Eric McAlister, departed before Danielson was named head coach So the only starter Danielson has lost is quarterback Taylen Green. As a rookie coach, Danielson has done a remarkable job of retaining players and coaches—and most importantly, culture.


The way I figure it, Boise State players are about two-thirds of the way through the summer ritual of running up and down the upper deck at Albertsons Stadium, simply called “running the decks.” The Broncos do it every Friday, gradually increasing the reps until the grand finale later this month. The obvious question right now: what’s it’s going to be like for them this Friday? We’ve arrived at that legendary day today with a predicted high of 109, and two days later it’s still supposed to be 107. Now if this 50 years ago and Boise State’s head coach was someone lime Bear Bryant, it would be just another day at the office. But methinks coach Spencer Danielson will err on the side of safety, and every possible precaution will be taken should the Broncos go ahead with the decks on Friday.


There are some calling for the Big 12 to further expand to better position itself against the other second-level Power 4 conference, the ACC. One national writer suggested the Big 12 grab UNLV so it can have the Las Vegas market. Of course, it isn’t that easy now that Vegas has become a pro sports market. Boise State doesn’t have that problem—just sayin’. Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark gave his state-of-the-conference address at his league’s Media Days at Allegiant Stadium yesterday. There was no talk of expansion, just a resolve to become the best conference in the country. That’s a long shot, but at least Yormack has vision. He just added the Pac-12’s “four-corner schools,” Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Arizona State, and lost Texas and Oklahoma. The Big 12 has 16 teams now. Probably big enough.


A couple of Boise State commits during the long 4th of July weekend—one in football and one in basketball. Football landed Jacob Tracy, a 6-6 offensive lineman from Yelm, WA. One site lists Tracy at 255 pounds, while 247 Sports has him at 240, so he sounds like a candidate for a redshirt year and some development time in Ben Hilgart’s strength and conditioning program. Tracy’s other offers were from FCS schools, but he is listed as a three-star prospect by 247. In hoops, it turns out the door wasn’t closed on the 2024 class with the verbal from Moses Hipps, a shooting guard out of Chandler, AZ. Judging by his video, Hipps can shoot. He also had offers from Rutgers, Temple and St, Bonaventure, among others. He was a teammate—and roommate—of new Bronco Ethan Lathan at Arizona Compass.


The Boise Hawks will probably have to focus on the second half of the season now if they’re going to make the Pioneer League Playoffs. The Hawks dropped five of six games to the league’s juggernaut, the Missoula Paddleheads, leaving them four games out of second place (the threshold they need to reach) with six games remaining in the first half of the season. Well, now the Hawks are three games back with five to play after beating the second-place Glacier Range Riders 7-4 Tuesday night at Memorial Stadium to open a six-game series. I’m trying to imagine what it’s like for fans sitting on the first base side this week.


What a month it’s shaping up to be for Matteo Jorgenson. The Boise High grad is the top-ranked American cyclist after 10 stages of the Tour de France, currently sitting in 10th place. Jorgensen’s role on the Visma-Lease team is supposed to be as a support rider, but here he is among the leaders. Jorgensen, who already has victories this year in the Paris-Nice and Dwars door Vlaanderen events, won’t be going far once the Tour de France ends, as he’ll segue to Team USA for the Paris Olympics. He was, incidentally, the first American to win Paris-Nice since Floyd Landis in 2006.


Former Boise State star Troy Merritt isn’t in the Scottish Open this week, but current Bronco Cole Rueck is. Rueck, a junior-to-be from Corvallis, qualified by winning the Genesis Collegiate Showcase in February at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, CA. He’s coming off a Mountain West individual championship in May. Rueck posted a photo from Scotland with his favorite golfer, Jordan Spieth. Pretty cool. Merritt is staying stateside this week at the ISCO Open in Kentucky. He missed the cut last week at the John Deere Classic.


Congratulations to Optimist Youth Football, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary with a special reception and program Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Optimist Complex on Hill Road Parkway. Founded in Boise in 1949, thousands of kids have come through the program—everyone from my son Ricky to former NFL star Jake Plummer. It’s always been about teamwork, camaderie, life’s lessons and fun. Former Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, another OYF alum, will speak at the ceremony, and there’ll be recorded greetings from Plummer and current Broncos coach Spencer Danielson, among others. And you are invited.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by THE JAMES…craft food and cocktails, with heart and soul.

July 10, 1934, 90 years ago today: Baseball’s second All-Star Game provides what is still one of the Midsummer Classic’s all-time great moments, as Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants strikes out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin in succession. All five would end up in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Still, the American League would go on to win the game 9-7 in Hubbell’s home ballpark, the Polo Grounds in New York City.

(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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