Former Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti is in his third year as a college football analyst for ESPN and will work Saturdays game at Bronco Stadium. He also is Boise State coach Chris Petersens former boss at Oregon the last place Petersen worked before he moved to Boise in 2001.
Q: What do you think of the Utah State-Toledo matchup?
A: Ive had Utah State and Toledo in games the past couple years and theyve played right down to the wire against better opponents. Theyre well coached, they have a lot of fight in them and Im looking forward to a great game.
Q: What do you like about these two up-and-coming coaches?
A: What (Gary Andersen) has done there at Utah State is just short of amazing. Hes really a winner, he does it the right way, they play great defense. Hes had a couple different offensive coordinators and he keeps the ball rolling. Matt Campbell is one of the youngest coaches in the country but seems to have just a magic touch. He won the bowl game last year. He has this team 9-3 and playing in a bowl game again.
Q: Not sure if youve looked at it, but what do you think of Boise State-Washington in Las Vegas?
A: Im a Chris Petersen fan. I think hes done a tremendous job. Theyre not as explosive an offensive team this year. Theyre still developing a young quarterback to a degree. Theyve been spoiled by the guy they had before. Theyre playing great defense and theyre finding ways to win. Washington is an interesting team in that theyre very inconsistent. They can beat anybody when theyre playing well. I wont say they can lose to anybody but they lost the Apple Cup to a Washington State team that probably doesnt match up very well. It probably depends on which Washington team shows up. I think Boise should be favored and probably will win because they play more consistent football.
Q: I know you were high on Petersen when he got the job, but are you surprised by the degree of his success?
A: Yes and no. No, because Boises always been successful. But at the same time you cant assume thats going to happen. Pete has done such a tremendous job. His winning percentage, its out there. Its outside this galaxy. The reality is hes done such a great job. The real test of a great coach is when you lose some of your very good assistants. Hes lost offensive coordinators and a defensive coordinator now and he continues to win.
Q: When you look at some of the young head coaches, the money coaches make and the media scrutiny out there, do you think coaching careers are going to get shorter?
A: Absolutely. No question. Coaching careers will be shorter one, because you make more money so you can retire earlier, and two, because coaching salaries have gone up, the patience and tolerance level of boosters and administrative people have gone down. They just flat out cant afford to have multiple losing seasons. Or the perception that instead of a program being on the rise its on the decline. Coaches never made a lot of money so they had to coach forever because they didnt get rich that way. Now, you can get wealthy coaching college football if you get in the right situation.