The Big 12 factor

I was a guest on a sports-talk show in Tulsa Tuesday and was asked if Boise State will have a chip on its shoulder Saturday against Oklahoma State because the Broncos weren’t invited to join the Big 12. I said that there really isn’t a chip, as the school realizes why UCF, Cincinnati, Houston and BYU got in. TV markets count when you can deliver viewers, and those universities—with the possible exception of Houston—do that in major metropolitan areas. Boise State also believes there’s still a chance at the Big 12 down the line, and interestingly enough, geography is in their favor. BYU probably needs a travel partner to avoid having West Virginia’s volleyball team come all the way across the country for a one-off match with the Cougars. Getting a two-game swing out of the trip would be much more cost-efficient.

On the other hand, Boise State knows a win over Oklahoma State would certainly not hurt its Big 12 cause. Another question from the Tulsa radio host (Dan Hawk, former KIVI-TV sports director): Is this a revenge game after what happened in Stillwater three years ago? I don’t think it’s so much that as it is a chance for the Broncos to show that the 44-21 loss at OSU in 2018 is not who they are.


Not to say that it’s an underappreciated part of Boise State’s game right now, but special teams have been on point through the first two games. Stefan Cobbs’ 81-yard punt return for a touchdown against UTEP is obvious. But the 47-yard kickoff return by CT Thomas needs to be included, as does the outstanding job done by the Broncos’ kickoff cover team. Now, if Cobbs is unable to go versus Oklahoma State due to his lower leg injury, will it be Thomas or Khalil Shakir filling in on punt returns? It would be better to preserve Shakir—Thomas looks ready. Thomas, however, has never returned a punt for Boise State.


It’s a huge blow for former Boise State star DeMarcus Lawrence—and a huge blow to the Dallas Cowboys. Lawrence broke his foot in practice Wednesday, and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports that it will require surgery and will probably keep him out until at least November. It was just a routine pass rush in Cowboys drills, said observers. Lawrence was a force in Game 1 against Tampa Bay last week, logging two pressures, two quarterback hits and four tackles against the run. He is undaunted. “Will be Back & Ready for War. Believe it,” he tweeted late Wednesday afternoon.


There will be a deciding Game 3 tonight in the Pioneer League Championship Series. And with six outs left for the Boise Hawks last night, it looked like it wasn’t going to happen. Missoula led 4-1 at Memorial Stadium going into the bottom of the eighth. Then the Hawks’ Alejandro Rivero singled in Myles Miller and Jason Dicochea, Wladimir Galindo doubled in Rivero, and Nate Fisbeck doubled in Galindo for a 5-4 lead. In the bottom of the ninth, the Paddleheads put men on first and third before a dramatic strikeout from Boise’s Connor Dand, and the Hawks staved off elimination, setting up tonight’s grand finale.


The 2021-22 PGA Tour season tees off today. The Safeway Open is now called the Fortinet Championship at Silverado Country Club in Napa, CA, and Troy Merritt is in the field. A recap of the former Boise State star’s 2020-21 campaign: it was the second-best season of his career, with earnings of $1,827,790. Merritt turned in four top 10 finishes, topped by a couple of seventh place results—at the Charles Schwab Challenge and the AT&T Byron Nelson. He was 78th in the final FedExCup standings. At the age of 35, Merritt is at his peak.


It’s not only Oklahoma State week, but Damon Amendolara week at KTIK, as the CBS SportsRadio host broadcasts his morning DA Show from Boise this week. Wednesday, of course, it was in McCall, and afterward we took him on a jet boat trip up Hells Canyon with Killgore Adventures. DA thought he was going to do some regular ol’ fishing. Au contraire. He ended up reeling in his first sturgeon: five feet, seven inches. And his second sturgeon: seven feet, 11 inches. It took him about 10 minutes each to bring them in. Then it was down the Snake River through the rapids. To say DA was blown away would be an understatement. He is lovin’ himself some Idaho. On the way back he got Boise State Football History 101 (from you-know-who). DA is ready for the Broncos and Cowboys.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by BBSI BOISE…we’re payroll, we’re risk, we’re HR, we’re business.

September 16, 2013: Until 2021, the San Diego Padres were the only major league franchise without a no-hitter, but a former Boise Hawk comes very close on this night. Andrew Cashner produced the best pitching performance ever by a Boise alum, tossing a one-hit shutout in the Padres’ 2-0 victory over Pittsburgh. Cashner had a perfect game going into the seventh inning, when Jose Tabata singled for the Pirates. Tabata was erased by a double play, though, and Cashner faced the minimum 27 batters in the first complete game of his career. Cashner was a first-round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2008 and played for the Hawks that summer.

(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.)

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