When addressing the crowd at Monday’s Bronco Athletic Association luncheon, football coach Bryan Harsin had good news for Boise State fans: Saturday’s game will be available on DirecTV locally.
Actually, it won’t.
Harsin was quickly corrected and laughed off the mistake. It’s part of a strange situation for fans, not having the opener at Louisiana available on television because it’s blacked out in Idaho.
Instead, it’s available on ESPN3 (espn.com/watchespn) or on the WatchESPN app, available via mobile devices, tablets or streaming devices like Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV and Chromecast.
“I don’t think it will be the last time there is this type of situation, because it seems that’s where things are heading,” Athletic Director Curt Apsey said.
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With so many options available to view content, the customization to control which channels a viewer wants via streaming services, and the price of cable or satellite services too high for many, the “cord-cutting” revolution continues. Fortune reported this spring that one in five American households do not have cable.
In sports, it has been noticeable, with ESPN President John Skipper telling Variety in July, “there have been some losses due to cord-cutting.” The Worldwide Leader lost 7 million subscribers from 2013-15, and has since pushed resources to its streaming options.
The Mountain West has embraced the new landscape, broadcasting Thursday’s Weber State at Utah State game on TheMW.com, but also on Twitter, the first college football game to appear on that platform. Seven nonconference games involving Mountain West teams will appear exclusively online this season.
“It gets to be shown, I guess, nationwide, right? Worldwide? That’ll be a neat deal,” Utah State coach Matt Wells said Monday.
This will be Boise State’s first game not televised since Sept. 7, 2013, when the Broncos hosted UT Martin. Local bars and restaurants have geared up for it, with many opening at 9 a.m. Boise sports bars the Tailgate, Taphouse and Crescent will open their doors early, same with Pinnacle in Meridian and Busters in Eagle. Plenty of other spots will host the game, so call ahead to make sure.
“Usually when things like this occur around Boise, people figure it out,” Harsin said.
Senior offensive tackle Mario Yakoo said he’s had a few friends and family ask how to watch, but joked “it’s not hard to stream something online.”
LEWIS GETS THE START
The Broncos will start junior Archie Lewis at left tackle, Harsin said Thursday, but senior Will Adams also will see time at Louisiana.
Lewis started eight games last season, moving out of the starting lineup after a rough showing at BYU, but back in for the final six contests as the Broncos dealt with injuries. Adams is a graduate transfer from Auburn who played 38 games for the Tigers, but did not start.
“Right now, I think Archie will go out and start, certainly has earned that opportunity,” Harsin said. “Will will play as well. ... we have two good options there. Certainly will see both out there.”
The starting five on the line will be Lewis, left guard Travis Averill, center Mason Hampton, right guard Steven Baggett and Yakoo at right tackle. Hampton will make his first start, but the other four have combined to make 95 starts.
Yakoo said he has confidence in Lewis being able to be a productive starter again, saying “he’s matured a lot.”
“Archie’s been doing great, in my eyes,” Yakoo said. “The competition is good for them. Archie hasn’t truly started a whole entire season, this is going to help him kickstart his career as a starter. “He’s got to grow up quick, and he did that, accepted the challenge, and I feel like he’s in a good spot.”
MORE TIME FOR RYPIEN?
Sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien has worked this offseason on getting the ball out quicker, while the line has sought to cut down on the 31 sacks it allowed last season. That doesn’t solely fall on their shoulders, though.
The running backs have focused on their blocking, and coach Lee Marks said it has paid off.
“The pass pro(tection) for us has been the best it’s ever been. I’m super excited about that, seeing those guys go out and operate,” Marks said.
CONFIDENT IN SAFETIES
Junior safety Cameron Hartsfield will start at Louisiana as sophomore Dylan Sumner-Gardner begins a four-game suspension. Senior Chanceller James is listed as a co-starter with redshirt freshman Evan Tyler at the other safety spot.
It could be an uneasy situation, but Harsin said Hartsfield and Tyler have been among the most improved players this offseason.
“Cam’s really made a lot of improvements over the last eight months, and (Wednesday), he and Evan both had two of their better practices,” Harsin said.
Hartsfield said “I think we’re extremely motivated,’’ while Tyler will be making his first road trip, but feels ready to contribute right away. He wants to be part of filling the void left by Darian Thompson’s graduation and his ball-hawking tendencies.
“If that ball is in the air, it’s going to be my ball,” Tyler said.
Former Boise State quarterback Ryan Finley, who transferred to North Carolina State after spring practices, started for the Wolfpack in a 48-14 win over William & Mary on Thursday night. He completed 17-of-21 passes for 174 yards and two TDs.The quote of the week came from senior defensive tackle Elliot Hoyte when asked what’s different about flying to Louisiana on Thursday, a day earlier than usual: “You just pack extra underwear.” ... Boise State is 9-7 when opening the season in a true road game. The Broncos’ last such win was at New Mexico in 2000. They’ve lost four straight (South Carolina in 2001, Georgia in 2005, Michigan State in 2012 and Washington in 2013). ... Louisiana coach Mark Hudspeth said Boise State isn’t the only team getting ready for the humidity, saying “it’s hard for us to prepare for, and we live in it every day.”
Boise State at Louisiana
▪ When: 10 a.m. MT Saturday
▪ Where: Cajun Field (36,900, synthetic turf), Lafayette, La.
▪ Watch: ESPN3 (espn.com/watchespn; must have subscription with affiliated service provider)
▪ Radio: KBOI (670 AM)/KTIK (93.1 FM); Bob Behler, Chris Lewis
▪ Series: Boise State leads 1-0 (won 34-9 in 2014 in Boise)
▪ Vegas line: Boise State favored by 20 points