The Boise State, Utah State and Toledo football teams needed two game plans for their bowl appearances.
One for their games.
Another for final exams.
All three teams will be out of town during their schools finals weeks adding a little stress to an eventful month.
Its been a little hectic, no doubt, Boise State junior quarterback Joe Southwick said. Im actually knocking out a lot of my finals this week, which will be nice. Were a student first, so weve got to finish there and make sure we finish with good grades.
The Broncos leave Dec. 18 for the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, which is Dec. 22 against Washington. Finals week is Monday through Dec. 20.
The team leaves late enough that exams scheduled for the first two days can be taken at the regular time. Players were told to make arrangements with their instructors for any exams that fell on the other two days.
All of the exams except possibly some online tests that can be taken at any time during the week will be completed before the team leaves, said Gabe Rosenvall, the assistant athletic director for academic services.
Some instructors agreed to give the exams to the players at a different time. Others accepted an offer to have the faculty athletic representative proctor exams Sunday.
Were fortunate in that we get basically two full days of the four, Rosenvall said. That took care of a lot of it. The faculty also was very understanding of the situation.
This is the first time Boise State has handled a finals conflict since the 2007 Hawaii Bowl, when the team was out of town for the entire week. Some exams were proctored in Hawaii that week. But the athletic department is used to making these arrangements. The track and field teams usually miss the spring finals week for their conference championship meet.
Utah State, which will play Toledo on Saturday in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, is balancing a bowl trip and finals week for the second straight year. The Aggies arrive in Boise on Tuesday.
They, too, tried to get many of the exams completed before the trip.
I cant say its an easy process, but its a process we can get done because of the cooperation of everybody involved, coach Gary Andersen said. Its much easier than it was the first time through.
Toledo left Monday night for Boise. Rockets players have a unique option offered to them taking exams when they return home.
They had the least time to prepare. Finals week began just eight days after they learned they would be playing in Boise.
A lot of us are taking exams ahead of time, defensive end Hank Keighley said. It calls for a lot of studying, a lot of cramming and a lot of late nights. A few of us will be taking them during the week while were in Boise. Some are scheduled to take them after we get back. It really just depended on the teachers. Most of them did a really good job working with us and were willing to do whatever made us the most comfortable.
Finals conflicts are an issue because ESPN likes the content provided by pre-Christmas bowls. Of the seven such games this year, four are owned by ESPN including MAACO.
TV is such an important part of college athletics right now, Boise State Athletic Director Mark Coyle said. Its forced college athletics to adjust and become more flexible from that standpoint. At the end of the day, we cant forget theyre students. We have to make sure we address those finals, those needs, first. But again, people are adjusting and being flexible.
Washington completes its finals this week.
FOURTEEN TO GRADUATE
Boise States December graduates include cornerback Josh Borgman (communication), junior wide receiver Aaron Burks (communication), cornerback Jerrell Gavins (communication), junior offensive lineman Spencer Gerke (criminal justice), defensive tackle Greg Grimes (communication), offensive lineman Joe Kellogg (business), defensive tackle Darren Koontz (business), junior wide receiver Kirby Moore (communication), offensive lineman Brenel Myers (social science), linebacker J.C. Percy (finance), wide receiver Chris Potter (business), nickel Dextrell Simmons (communication), tailback Drew Wright (criminal justice) and offensive lineman Faraji Wright (communication) all seniors unless noted.
Tailback D.J. Harper, fullback Dan Paul, linebacker Tommy Smith, cornerback Jamar Taylor, wide receiver Tyler Jackson, tight end Chandler Koch and wide receiver Mitch Burroughs previously graduated.
That leaves just five of the 23 seniors who wont have their degrees by kickoff next week and all are on track to graduate in May, Rosenvall said.
Southwick plans to keep his mustache through the bowl game. All four quarterbacks grew them for the Colorado State game Nov. 17.
We came out and had a really good game I think I was 17-for-20 that game, Southwick said. So I said, You know what guys, you guys can shave them, I think Im going to keep mine. So I kept it and Nevada came around and we played well, so I said, I cant shave it.
None of the other quarterbacks kept their mustaches.
Parents got involved, Southwick said.
You cant argue with the results. Southwick was 17-of-20 for 216 yards and two touchdowns against Colorado State and 19-of-26 for 199 yards and two touchdowns against Nevada. He also rushed for a season-high 25 yards against Nevada. He didnt have any turnovers in those games.
ALL QUIET WITH PETERSEN
Coyle said Monday that coach Chris Petersen has not expressed an interest in interviewing for any of the jobs that have come open this year. He is required to provide 24 hours notice before engaging in talks with another school.
Weve had no conversations like that, Coyle said.
MAACO Bowl officials visited Boise on Monday. One of their tasks was to present a gift suite to the players, who were allowed to select their bowl gifts from the available options. Traditionally, bowls purchase the same set of gifts for each player.
Among the popular selections for the Broncos: a mountain bike.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat