BOISE — Cal’s looking for a head coach, and Chris Petersen is from northern California. Arkansas is open, and it is one year removed from an 11-2 season, so Petersen has to be intrigued by an SEC school.
Nevermind that Boise State’s seventh-year coach turned down Stanford two years ago or that he’s spent a grand total of one year of his adult life east of Boise.
Such is the yearly dance Petersen has to address – his name comes up, jobs seem like good fits, “sources” say he’s interested, and the question has to be asked: is it true?
“It is not even kind of (a distraction) because it’s just rumors,” Petersen said. “That’s all I really want to say about this, and I say it every year. It’s just rumors.”
An Arkansas fan site reported over the weekend that recruits were told Petersen would be the next Razorbacks coach. That rumor was quickly shot down, though some sites persist in linking him with the job.
Back in 2008, a Michigan State site reported Petersen was taking the vacancy at Mississippi State. A TV station even reported a potential contract. Petersen was forced to issue a statement denying it, and on Monday he said “it was so far from (true).”
“I don’t even think half the time its reporters,” Petersen said. “Everybody’s a reporter these days. Everybody’s got an opinion on a blog or something like that.”
The only job Petersen has publicly said he’s interviewed for was the Stanford job, but he opted to remain in Boise after a commitment was made to build a new football facility, due to be completed next summer.
When athletic director Mark Coyle was hired last December, he said his No. 1 priority is to keep Petersen. On Monday, Petersen said the only time all the rumors are really addressed is on the recruiting trail — he often has squashed them, but in the past, opposing staffs have used that to recruit against him.
“The only trouble is in recruiting — 99.9 percent is always completely false, the problem is the 0.1,” Petersen said. “But there hasn’t even been 0.1.”
Bowl options limited to Hawaii, Vegas
Air Force (Armed Forces), Nevada (New Mexico) and San Diego State (Poinsettia) have accepted bowl bids out of the Mountain West, leaving just Fresno State and Boise State.
If the Broncos beat Nevada, they will wind up in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas for the third straight season — and it’s possible they go even with a loss. The other possibility is Dec. 24’s Hawaii Bowl against SMU.
“I don’t know if we’ll have bowl options … a lot of times they’re telling us where we’re going — (Las Vegas) is a good bowl,” Petersen said.
The opponent likely will come from a group of USC, Arizona or Washington. The Broncos play Washington next September. Petersen said weighing the destination and the opponent caliber, he’d still accept it if the Broncos faced the Huskies.
“Is it ideal and all those things? No. It might be,” Petersen said. “Do you want to play a team you just played? Probably not. Do you want to play a team you’re going to play? No. We’ve just got to worry about (Saturday), then figure the rest out.”
Burroughs expected back Saturday
Senior receiver Mitch Burroughs, who broke his wrist Oct. 6 at Southern Miss, is likely to return for Saturday’s game at Nevada.
“I think Mitch will be ready to roll,” Petersen said.
Burroughs will provide another boost to an offense that has been showing improvement the past few weeks. He had 12 catches for 124 yards before his injury.
Petersen also said nickel Dextrell Simmons will return into a full role after returning Nov. 17 to a part-time role against Colorado State, having missed the previous two-and-a-half games.
Safety Lee Hightower and tight end Hayden Plinke are suspended for a fifth straight game, though Petersen said they are still with the team.