This Friday, Bronco sports fans have the rare opportunity to see two of its nationally-ranked and most promising sports teams on the same day. At 1 p.m. at the elegant Appleton Tennis Center, Coach Greg Patton puts his 32nd-ranked Bronco tennis team against #53 BYU. The Cougars have been hot as of late, and have not lost on their home court. But this is Appleton, where the Boise State players seem to enjoy playing and respond to the crowd. BYU participated in the Red Lion Spring Break Classic last month in Boise and would have met the Broncos had it not been for a loss to #21 Texas A & M-Corpus Christi. With that loss and a defeat at the hands of #37 San Diego State, BYU has won 12 matches in its last 14. One of the players featured for the Cougars is James Ludlow, himself a Boise State Bronco before he transferred to BYU. Ludlow sports a 19-10 record on the season.
Boise State, on the other hand, is trying to gain momentum for the upcoming WAC Championships and a final push to qualify for the NCAA Championships next month. A win over the Cougars would be huge for Coach Patton's team.
Then at 6:30, after weeks of practice and preparation, the beloved Boise State football team takes center stage at Bronco Stadium for the annual Blue & Orange Game. Boise State is one of only eight teams in the country that has finished each of the past three seasons ranked in the ESPN/USA Today poll of college football coaches. Boise State is hoping to build on last year's season to achieve something the Broncos have not accomplished in 46 years--finish the season undefeated. The Broncos have 17 starters returning off a 2004 squad that saw them go 12-1 and reach #7 in the Bowl Championship Series standings before falling late in the season. The event will be televised locally by KTVB-TV of Boise, but will also be shown on ESPNU to a nationally-televised audience. The game will likely be tape-delayed on ESPNU. This is the first time that a spring game has been shown before a national television audience. It will be the final chance for fans to see the Broncos in a game setting before the fall, and will give fans a good preview of what they can expect in the 2005 season.
How is Derek Schouman's injury progressing? Who will step up and replace T.J. Acree and Lawrency Bady at receiver for the Broncos? Can Jared Zabransky improve his passing numbers? Who will step it up for the right to be #2 on the depth chart at quarterback? Has the defense improved over last year to be able to sack the quarterback and put pressure in the backfield and can they stop the big play? And can Coach Patton's team get a much-needed win over BYU to help them in their quest to qualify for the NCAA Championships?
There's much to look for Friday--it's going to be a great day for the Broncos!