It's not College Gameday, but it may be as close as theget this year.
ESPN is coming to town on July 22 for their College Football Live 50 States Tour "in search of the best players, best coaches, best games and more from every state in the union." Oh, if only the Idaho Stallions could have lived to see this day.
The tour, which kicked off June 1 in Michigan, will hit all 50 states (including Alaska, for some reason) before August 7, presumably when most teams will have started fall camp. Idaho's day will be shared by the state of Hawaii because apparently flights from Boise to Honolulu are cheap or something. Here's hoping we don't get stuck with the College Football Live B team. I can only take so much of Desmond Howard.
As previously alluded to, the tour is out to find the best players, coaches, and games from every state, and they'll be doing so with significant input from us fans. On the Sports Nation pages at ESPN, polls have been set up for the previously visited states, allowing fans to vote on specific categories.
It only made sense to assume the same questions will be asked about Idaho. Read on to see what teams, players, and coaches might make the cut come July 22.
Here are the five questions that ESPN has been asking of each state thus far:
- Which team was the best in state history?
- Which player is the best in state history?
- Which coach is the best in state history?
- Which was the best game in state history?
- Which was the most memorable finish involving a team from the state?
And the envelope please ...
The best team in state history? There's probably no way that the 2006-2007 Fiesta Bowl team doesn't win this one, but let's at least be open-minded about it. After all, Boise State did win a national championship in the 80's, and the Vandals did win four games in 2006.
I would imagine that the candidates would be the F-Bowl team, the national championship team, some obligatory U of I team from eons ago, and maybe last year's Broncos. I'd put the Fiesta Bowl winners as overwhelming favorites, but there's a little piece of me - the piece that controls my ESPN Sports Nation online poll voting - that is rooting for the national champs.
The best player in state history? This one could get a little wild. I'm assuming that the question means "Who is the best player to come from a college in Idaho?" If so, your candidate list might look something like this: Doug Friesz, Cedric Minter, Randy Trautman, Ryan Dinwiddie, Ian Johnson, Ryan Clady, and Jared Allen. This list is pending extortion requests from Merril Hoge.
If these are the options, Jared Allen might be the winner. He's had the most recent, most star-studded NFL career, and people who vote on ESPN's Sports Nation polls will probably vote for him out of shock that he went to college in Idaho. "Jared Allen? I'm compelled to click on that because I totally did not expect him to come from Idaho. Oh wait, but Ian Johnson had that one really good season and proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend on the field. This is HARD! ..."
The best coach in state history? If someone entirely other than ESPN were making the answers, Lyle Smith would be a no-brainer for the list. In fact, he'd get my vote. But ESPN deals in name recognition, which is why Dan Hawkins, Chris Petersen, and probably Dennis Erickson will be your choices.
In which case, I will try in vain to submit a write-in candidate. So will Robb Akey.
The best game in state history? Well, there was that one time the Vandals beat the Broncos in Bronco Stadium on the overtime two-point conversion. I'd rather not think of that game ever again, but chances are good that I won't get my way.
There was the "Globe of Death" by Idaho State, the Korey Hall intercept-a-thon versus Oregon State, the multi-OT thriller versus Nevada, Div I-AA playoff games, Idaho winning a WAC game last year, and one or two redeemable Humanitarian Bowls. Basically, I have no idea what games ESPN will choose for this question, but at least they have quite a few options (by the way, good luck with the Alaska day).
The most memorable finish involving a team from the state? I assume this will be a rhetorical question.
What choices would you like to see for these questions? Any possible answers I missed? Will you be taking a personal day on July 22? Let me know in the comments, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.