SCOTT SLANT: The importance of in-person fandom

Presented by BACON.
Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

I think it’s becoming clear what’s important to Boise State athletic director Jeramiah Dickey. Bodies in the seats. Dickey talks constantly about sellouts in Albertsons Stadium this fall, and he’s helping the process along by bringing back the Blue Collar Pass. That gives fans a “moving season ticket” for only $184—seat location changes each time depending on availability (but it is guaranteed). It’s not reactionary, based on a realization that there are seats to sell. It’s proactive. It will stir the pot and create demand, as there are only 1,000 Blue Collar Passes available. Then the Broncos will work their way up from there. Boise State drew 32,070 fans per game in 2019. The record is 35,404 in 2012. Dickey’s goal this year is a lot closer to the latter than the former.

PRACTICE – WE’RE TALKIN’ ABOUT PRACTICE

The Broncos are not going to stop until they get it right. Boise State nickel and senior leader Kekaula Kaniho told the media Monday that the secondary alone has produced 19 turnovers so far in spring football. Yep, this is the team that recorded three turnovers in a seven-game season in 2020—all of them interceptions, and two of those on desperation throws on the final play of the game. It was unbelievable, yet the Broncos still finished 5-2 and made the Mountain West championship game. Think what it would be like if the defense was forcing takeaways. And don’t doubt that it’ll get back to that. It may just be happening in practice at this point, but maybe new Boise State defensive line coach Frank Maile promoting his “violent brand of football” is taking root.

BOISE’S ESSENCE

If you know Jon Anderson, well, this was the best thing on the Internet Monday. Anderson is a special needs guy who has been joined at the hip to Boise State football and basketball and any kind of Borah High sport for most of his life. His calls to newsrooms are frequent, but instead of shunning him, local media folks have always embraced him. Former Bronco Matt Bauscher conspired with media movers and shakers Jay Tust, Will Hall, B.J. Rains, Bob Behler, Rachel Roberts, John Patrick and Prater & The Ballgame on this. Jon happens to be back in Indianapolis visiting family, and Bauscher sent him a video surprising him with two tickets to Monday night’s national championship game. Jon broke down in tears—and even though Gonzaga lost, it will be something he remembers for the rest of his life.

CINDERELLA GOES TO CACHE VALLEY

It’s been three years now, and you may have forgotten his name. In the 2018 NCAA Tournament, UMBC, as in Maryland-Baltimore County, became the first-ever 16-seed to win a first round game as it posted a 74-54 win against top overall seed Virginia. The coach was Ryan Odom, and he is the new head man at Utah State, replacing Craig Smith. Some people are saying “meh,” but I’m amazed he lasted that long with the Retrievers and was still available when the Aggies went looking. Odom wasn’t a one-hit wonder—he led UMBC to three straight 20-win seasons and was 97-60 at the school. I think it’s a good hire, with an asterisk: Odom has never coached in the West.

THE TRANSFER PORTAL GIVETH

Through the weekend, the Boise State women had lost Jade Loville to the transfer portal and picked up Boise High grad Mandy Simpson from Oklahoma out of that holding tank. Now Broncos coach Gordy Presnell has grabbed another transfer: Sydney McQuietor of Boston College. McQuietor is a 6-2 forward who will have four years of eligibility remaining to play at Boise State (she appeared in two games for BC as a true freshman this season and will get that year back). The 6-2 forward was a prep standout at Keller High School in Keller, TX, where she was ranked among the top 20 forwards nationally by The Blue Star Basketball Report, even after missing her senior year due to injury.

POLLS AND MILESTONES ON THE DIAMOND

College baseball update in the valley—Northwest Nazarene is off to a 17-3 start this season and is ranked 15th in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Poll. The Nighthawks are 21st in the Collegiate Baseball Division II Poll released last week. NNU had This past weekend off; the Nighthawks return home this Friday and Saturday for a four-game series against Western Oregon. Meanwhile, Shawn Humberger notched his 600th career victory at College of Idaho Saturday with a 4-3 win over Corban during a doubleheader split at Wolfe Field. Humberger is the all-time winningest coach at C of I in any sport. The Coyotes are 15-20 on the season and will be back in action this weekend with a four-game series at Eastern Oregon.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by HARMON TRAVEL…the official travel agency of Boise State Athletics!

April 6, 2006, 15 years ago today: After eight seasons in the CBA, the Idaho Stampede announce a move to the NBA Development League (now the G-League). The CBA had struggled with franchise stability despite the best efforts of the then Boise-based circuit, and the D-League was poised for expansion, with the goal of eventually becoming a 30-team league with one-for-one franchise affiliation. The Dakota Wizards, Sioux Falls Skyforce, and expansion Colorado 14ers joined the Stampede in the CBA exodus. Only the Sioux Falls franchise remains today in its original form, although the Skyforce opted out of the 2020-21 season.

(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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