Pac-12 decision to avoid expansion is great news for Boise State
The worst-case scenario for Boise State was the potential Pac-16 expansion which would have jump-started the super-conference era and possibly forced the four 16-team conferences to reevaluate their place in the NCAA. Rumors had swirled of the NCAA FBS football structure crumbling completely and the 64 schools in those four conferences leaving to join their own federation of football universities, leaving every other team on the outside looking in.
While Boise State’s position in the college football world is precarious at the moment, there is at least momentary sigh of relief that the entire structure is apparently not going to be blown up any time soon. The Broncos still have a shot every season to crack the BCS and continue to build their national profile, creating additional revenue for the school as long as the BCS structure remains in place.
It appears unlikely that the Broncos would be invited to join either the Pac-12 or Big 12 in any expansion scenario which means their hopes of being in a BCS conference ride on the Mountain West gaining automatic qualifying status. That situation may become more of a reality if the Big East takes any further hits. Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson is already hoping to bring TCU back to the fold due to the chaos of the Big East conference.
If Thompson is successful in adding TCU back into the conference’s membership, it would appear that he would also be in the market for one additional school to bring the conference to an even 12 members. In that scenario it would be expected that the conference would look at schools such as Houston, SMU, UTEP, Rice or even Utah State. Potential exposure to the Texas television markets and fertile recruiting base would likely be a factor.
While many have railed against the BCS, including Boise State president Bob Kustra and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, it is currently the system in place and has worked in the favor of both the school and the conference in recent years. If the BCS were to become obsolete due to super-conference expansion, it is not out of the realm of possibility to see Mountain West member schools left out of the party completely.
Boise State and the Mountain West received a temporary stay of execution from the big boys yesterday. It remains to be seen whether the ever-changing landscape of major college football will eventually swallow up the non-AQ darlings of the sport.
Read the rest of the story here
USAToday,TOLEDO, Ohio – Realignment fever has college football looking like the trading floor onWall Street, and nobody is sure what happens next.
But you know what they say — the only things certain are death, taxes and Boise State winning at least 10 games.
Where to find a slice of normalcy in these turbulent times?
The Broncos, now home on the range in the Mountain West, are still rolling, and their quarterback still looks as if he could thread a football through a prom queen's tiara. Two road games, and all is well.
The Broncos have taken care of Georgia in Atlanta and Toledo by Lake Erie. Kellen Moore has completed 79% of his passes with eight touchdowns. They're ranked No. 4 and nobody is surprised anymore, or should be.
We could also mention the 69-2 home record since 2000, on the line Saturday against Tulsa. Or how hard it was to find the last time a coach won more games in his first five seasons than Chris Petersen's 61.
George Woodruff of Pennsylvania, by the way. In 1896.
One more thing. The current seniors will be the 10th straight class to leave Boise State with at least 40 victories.
Still, there's untidy news, even with these guys. When the Broncos blew through here the other night, it seemed a good time to check how things were going for Cinderella in the NCAA doghouse.
National headlines about them have invariably carried one of two themes: (A)Who they're pounding now, or (B) what the BCS is doing this week to shaft them.
But now there is word of probation, scholarship cuts and player eligibility issues, and though the serious stuff seemed to be centered around the tennis team, the football program landed in the soup, too.
The Broncos faithful have always wanted to emulate the Ohio States of the world, but probably not like this. Better to just dot the "i" in Boise.
The football sins seem fairly pedestrian, as these things go. You wonder if this is somehow the price of fame. Consider the irony, if a program that worked so hard for national recognition received an extra whack because it is no longer ignored.
That question was taken to Moore.
"It is what it is," he said. "The bottom line is, if you're winning. If you're losing, people don't care about you."
Then to Petersen, who replied, "It is what it is. [Quarterback and coach are obviously on the same page on how to answer annoying outsiders who bring up the topic.] It's just the world we live in."
As for his players, "They pay attention to their coaches, they go to school, they come to practice," Petersen said. "And I don't think they pay attention to a lot of the other stuff."
Plus, he wanted one correction to be louder than the blue turf back in Boise.
"We haven't been working hard to get noticed on the national scene," he said. "We're just trying to win one game at a time and play the best football we can. The kids have been doing that for a long time, so we've probably gotten a lot more attention than we have in the past. But that's not our goal, and it's not our mission."
In other words, change the subject.
There's always Moore's 82-11 touchdown-interception ratio since his sophomore season. His defense-tormenting consistency, with a 69% career completion rate. His 40-2 record, leaving him only five wins away from Colt McCoy's FBS mark.
"Practice," Moore said. "It takes 10,000 hours to be an expert, I just heard in school … I've got a few hours."
"He's one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and everybody can make their opinions on the next level down the road," Petersen said.
Anything more his star could do? "Grow."
Amid the tumult, then, the Broncos bring us a measure of routine. Still fun to watch, still hard to beat.
The NCAA trouble? It's just like the Boise State offense. This, too, shall pass.
All anyone wanted to talk to Boise State coach Chris Petersen about before this season began was his situation at wide receiver.
Gone were Titus Young and Austin Pettis to the NFL, taking with them most of the Boise State record book as the two most lauded receivers in school history.
No one remembered Tyler Shoemaker was still around — until now.
Shoemaker is coming off a career-high three touchdown catches last week against Toledo as the fourth-ranked Broncos return home to host Tulsa on Saturday night. He's already got four TD receptions in two games, nearly his entire total from last season when Shoemaker was Kellen Moore's third or fourth receiving option.
Very quickly, and not unexpectedly, Shoemaker's turned into touchdown option No. 1 for the Broncos.
"He's had the experience much more than the other guys, he's been through a lot, he knows so much of the field," Moore said. "He's a guy we can really put anywhere, he'll know the concept and he'll do it pretty well."
Before the season, Petersen had bigger concerns about how he'd fill holes on his defense than he did about his receivers. Pettis and Young combined for 142 catches and 19 touchdowns last season, but before the emergence of the two future draft picks, most of Boise State's success the prior decade had come with a receiver by committee approach.
And the Broncos thrived in that time with receivers just like Shoemaker; perhaps not the biggest or fastest targets, but receivers who are precise and aware in an offense that relies on timing and recognition.
How much of a committee has it been through the Broncos' first two wins? Shoemaker has just six catches in two games. Freshman Matt Miller and junior Mitch Burroughs both lead the Broncos with 11 catches each. Starting running back Doug Martin is next with eight, but tight ends Kyle Efaw and Gabe Linehan have 13 combined receptions and two touchdowns.
"It has been a motivation. We heard a lot of talk in the offseason about losing Austin and Titus and who the ball was going to go to and we decided as a group that it's not going to be a one-person show this year and we know that. Every game there might be a different person that's really stepping up," Shoemaker said. "You've just got to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities when they come and just continue to get better as a group."
The emergence of Shoemaker in Boise's first two games was made more important by the continuing saga of wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn. Originally from the Netherlands, Boldewijn has been held out of the Broncos' first two games along with defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe due to NCAA eligibility questions.
Although still raw with limited football experience, the 6-foot-4 Boldewijn was expected to be one of Moore's main targets. There's been no movement on Boldewijn or Tjong-A-Tjoe's status, although a fellow Dutch player, safety Cedric Febis, was cleared in time to play last Friday at Toledo.
The Broncos haven't missed Boldewijn yet. Shoemaker's three TDs against Toledo was a first for a Boise State player since fullback Dan Paul caught a trio of TD passes against Nevada in 2009. Shoemaker had a sterling debut to his college career with two TD catches back in 2008 against Idaho State, but couldn't remember ever having three in a game.
"I just try to be there for Kellen. I know he's going to be looking for open targets and a lot of stuff we're doing on offense," Shoemaker said. "I just happen to be the guy but I know I really have to thank those other guys for getting us down there close."
AP freelance writer Mike Sullivan in Boise, Idaho, contributed to this report.
Walk-on Hazen Moss makes his mark by throwing his body around
As you watch Boise State junior safety Hazen Moss launch his body several yards through the air and slam into Toledo kickoff returner Eric Page for a “wow” tackle, you have to wonder.
Where do the coaches find these guys?
Every Broncos team, it seems, has a walk-on willing to press the line between gung-ho and crazy in an all-guts, no-glory attempt to contribute to the program.
Before Moss, there were guys like Michael Choate, Ia Falo and Michael Lose — all walk-ons, all remembered fondly in the Broncos’ football complex.
So where do the coaches find these guys? They don’t.
“They find us,” said Boise State coach Chris Petersen, whose team makes its home debut Saturday night against Tulsa (6 p.m., CBSSN).
Moss (5-foot-11, 200 pounds) is from Rifle, Colo. He drew some recruiting interest from lower-division schools in his home state but sent video to Colorado and Boise State.
He has two uncles who live in the Treasure Valley that he visited regularly, so he followed the Broncos’ success. Boise State also fit one of his key criteria for college because it has an engineering program.
The Broncos, who have put 16 walk-ons on scholarship since Petersen took over in 2006, offered him a roster spot.
“I always had a dream to come play somewhere (in the Football Bowl Subdivision),” Moss said.
Said special teams coach Jeff Choate: “He came here not expecting anything other than a chance, and he’s made the most of every opportunity.”
And Moss got one the same way he did as a high school sophomore — on the kickoff team.
His assignment for his first varsity play at Rifle High: Blow up the wedge, the multiplayer block that leads the way for kickoff returners.
“I didn’t even think about the ball,” he said. “I just found the wedge, ran and dove into it.”
He brings the same attitude, and sometimes a similar job description, to the Broncos’ kickoff unit. He made the travel squad as a redshirt freshman for his work with that group and last week at Toledo also started on kickoff return and punt return. He plays in some punt formations, too.
Kickoff remains his favorite.
“You just have to be willing to hurt yourself, I guess,” said Moss, who still doesn’t have a scholarship. “… That’s the best part about football — being able to sprint as hard as you can at other people who are sprinting at you and see if you can win.”
So far, Moss is winning more than he’s losing.
He was impressive enough in the opener against Georgia that coaches named him a captain for the Toledo game. “I can’t even describe it,” he said of his feelings about that honor.
And he earned the Broncos’ special teams player of the week award against Toledo.
“He plays the game in that particular phase exactly the way it needs to be played, which is throttle wide open,” Choate said.
Moss has developed into one of Choate’s go-to guys by learning the intricacies of special teams play. Choate can place him almost anywhere and trust him to accomplish his assignment. Twice last week, Moss came off of his own block to pick up a “bonus block” on kickoff return.
“He’s really understanding not just the basic math, but the algebra, the calculus,” Choate said. “You can just see his wheels turning.”
The charm of a guy like Moss is that he’s not even challenging for playing time on defense. He’s a third-team safety who still spends time with the scout team.
On special teams, attitude can overcome the shortcomings in athleticism that separate him from starters like George Iloka.
“On special teams, it’s all about going full speed and there’s a lot more straight-line running,” defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said. “… They can just cut it loose and wreak havoc.”
Those efforts often go unrecognized outside the program — until Moss makes a tackle like the one on Page, a play that had TV viewers buzzing on Twitter.
They never go unnoticed inside the program, as evidenced by Moss’ captaincy last week.
“It’s good for the energy,” said senior nickel Hunter White, one of the Broncos’ best special-teamers. “We see him go out there and just launch and make plays, it picks guys up.”
Moss’ expanding role has increased his comfort level in the program.
This year, he says, he has let his personality show more. That’s most evident in his new look — a hairdo stuck somewhere between Mohawk and frohawk (“Just weird,” he says) and a mustache that is the butt of teammates’ jokes.
“If anybody gets close enough they’re going to see that nasty mustache he’s got and think, ‘This guy is crazy,’ ” junior linebacker J.C. Percy said. “And he really is.
“… His time he gets to shine is special teams, and he’s making the most of it.”
Let’s face it; drunken college students on game day aren’t the wildest things in this town.
Cougars and black bears have been known to roam around Boise and have been sighted and reported within city limits.
Scary right? Don’t worry, it’s really not as dangerous as it sounds.
Most big game that does come into the city roams around the foothills and near the greenbelt during dusk and dawn.
According to Steve Nadeau, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game’s Regional Wildlife Manager for the Southwest Region, about half a dozen cougar sightings are reported every year.
“This year I think we’ve received and recorded 15 or so cougar sightings in the city and there were probably a lot more observations that were not reported,” Nadeau said. “It’s not uncommon to have reports of cougars particularly in the outskirts of the city.”
Two of these 15 reports came in this month. A cougar was reported on Monday, Sept. 5 at Ninth and Myrtle. Three days later an Ada County Sheriff’s Deputy had to put down a cougar spotted at St. Alphonsus by the I-184 connector.
Female cougars take care of their cubs for about two years. At 22 to 24 months old, the young cougar is kicked out by the mother and sent off to live in solitude.
Most of the cougars we see in town are young ones trying to avoid other, more dominant male cougars.
“The lush green Boise river and the city may appear attractive,“ Nadeau said. “There’s all kinds of deer along the greenbelt and within the city limits and there are domestic house cats…there are raccoons scattered throughout the city, any number of things that cougars could find appealing.”
Similar to cougars, black bears have been seen around the city and reported to wildlife experts.
“Bears are more cyclic than cougars are,” Nadeau said. “We won’t have any bear problems for years then all of a sudden one year they’ll be a bunch of trouble.”
Black bears eat a mixture of fruits, roots, berries and other vegetation.
They will also go out of their way for honey.
“If the berries that they found the year before are not there due to droughts or whatever, then they go in search in areas and that’s when we often find them in town attracted by dog food, garbage, the smells, the green lush vegetation and so forth,” Nadeau said. “Hillsides get dry, food stress period for some reason and the bears are looking for alternative food sources to what they would find up on the hill.”
Along with the cougar sightings, a bobcat was also reported along the greenbelt on Sept.5.
A student called campus security, but the bobcat was never found.
“You don’t see very many (bobcats) around Boise.” Nadeau said. “I have seen bobcat tracks on the greenbelt in the winter so they do occasionally come down…but we don’t see a lot of bobcats in the city…they’re very common in the desert and forest region of Idaho. This year actually we have gotten several reports of bobcats in the foothills, more so than I would consider usual or common.”
This wildlife is around all year long and is especially common in August.
“We tend to have a flurry seemingly in August which tends to be their peak in production for cougars,” Nadeau said.
Though wildlife visiting the city is common, attacks are extremely rare. Most animals, even carnivores, aren’t after humans.
If you ever see big game in the city, report it to authorities or to the Idaho Department of Fish & Game.
Nadeau also advises the greenbelt doesn’t only attract people — use common sense, travel in pairs (or groups) at night and carry a light.