Tuesday, June 29, 2010.
Phil Steele has been so galvanized by his generally successful prognostications of the past decade in his preseason college football magazine that he keeps pushing the envelope further. And this year it may have gone off the end of the table. Not only has Steele raised eyebrows by picking Oklahoma to win the national championship, he’s had message boards blazin’ over some curious observations regarding Boise State. Steele’s preseason ranking for BSU is No. 6. Here we are with fans complaining about the Broncos being ranked sixth in the country. But Boise State does have 22 of 24 starters returning from the Fiesta Bowl team that beat TCU, who Steele has at No. 4. Still, he recognizes the Broncos’ potential to make the BCS Championship Game.
Here’s what has everybody so riled up. The self-proclaimed “Most Accurate Preseason Magazine in the Last 11 Years” doesn’t have Kellen Moore in its top three quarterbacks in the country. Nor the top four, nor six, nor ten. No, Steele ranks Moore as the nation’s 12th-best quarterback. Not only is he behind TCU’s Andy Dalton (No. 10), but also Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick (No. 8). Hey, if nothing else, Kellen is 2-0 versus Kaepernick. On the other hand, Steele has Moore as his first-team All-WAC QB and ranks him No. 6 in the Heisman Trophy race (Dalton’s No. 5). Maybe we’ll just say Steele’s publication isn’t the “Most Consistent Preseason Magazine in the Last 11 Years.”
Back to reality: Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams is No. 8 on Steele’s list of Heisman Trophy candidates. There’s a name you’ll be hearing a lot over the next, oh, 69 days. Williams wouldn’t have been on anybody’s Heisman list a year ago, because he hadn’t played a down of college football. But the Hokies’ reigning leading rusher at the time, Darren Evans, tore his ACL in fall camp, and all Williams did was rush for 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. Now Boise State has to deal with both Williams and Evans (not to mention quarterback Tyrod Taylor) on Labor Day at FedEx Field in Washington, DC.
Former Boise State standout Legedu Naanee will go into training camp a month from now knowing he has a great opportunity in San Diego. With wide receiver Vincent Jackson now expected to hold out into November, Naanee’s star could shine. The one-time Bronco quarterback has been climbing the Chargers’ receiving ladder in each of his first three NFL seasons, making 24 catches last season for 242 yards and two touchdowns. Bolts’ general manager A.J. Smith says the team is ready to move on without Jackson, a Pro Bowler who had 68 receptions for 1,167 yards and nine scores last year. Naanee is Jackson’s likely replacement.
The Boise Hawks started with the long ball and finished off Eugene with small ball last night in a 5-4 win over the Emeralds. Richard Jones crushed a three-run homer in the first inning, but the Ems would come back to tie. It was a suicide squeeze bunt by Arismendy Alcantara in the seventh that gave the Hawks the victory and pushed them back over the .500 mark at 6-5. Just 11 games into the season, the Hawks are already a third of the way to their 2009 home run total. Jones’ shot last night was his second of the season—and Boise’s seventh. The Hawks hit only 21 homers all of last year, fewest in the Northwest League.
Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman are pressure-tested as they go into the quarterfinals of men’s doubles at Wimbledon. Moodie, the 31-year-old South African and former Boise State star, and Norman, the Belgian, defeated Martin Damm of the Czech Republic and Filip Polasek of Slovakia in straight sets yesterday. But all three went to tiebreakers. Moodie and Norman now face the ultimate challenge, if everything goes as expected. They’d next have to tackle the second-seeded Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, assuming the famous twins win their match in the Round of 16.
Hey—we’ve got to tip the cap to Plantation Country Club pro Ron Ptacek, who won a sectional yesterday in Salt Lake City to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next month. Ptacek did it the hard way, winning a three-hole sudden-death playoff at the Salt Lake Country Club. The U.S. Senior Open tees off in four weeks at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish outside of Seattle. "This is unbelievable," said Ptacek in the Deseret News. "It's a dream come true to be able to go play in a USGA event.'
The BAM Jam Boise 3 on 3 basketball tournament is coming up August 6-7, and a team put together to represent the event showed over the weekend it knows the drill. Team BAM Jam Boise finished second in the men’s Elite Division at the Spokane Hoopfest, the world’s largest 3 on 3 tourney. The Spokane mega-event, in its 21st year, featured 6,950 teams, 64 in BAM Jam Boise’s division. By Sunday night there were only two teams remaining. Spokane’s Team Tonicx won the final 21-11 over BAM Jam Boise, which included Boise State products Kurt Cunningham, Matt Bauscher and Clint Hordemann and former Washington Husky Jon DeWolfe.
This Day In Sports…June 29, 1936:
Probably the most famous and prolific sports figure in Idaho history is born. Harmon Killebrew spent 22 years in the major leagues—all but one with the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins. With 573 career home runs, he was the all-time leader among American League righthanded hitters until being passed by Alex Rodriguez last year. Of course, Killebrew hit his homers without the benefit of steroids. Harmon Killebrew is 74 years old today.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 1350 KTIK/The Ticket. He’s also handled color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football the last five seasons.)