Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The college football magazines are already starting to trickle out. The venerable Street & Smith’s, faded but not forgotten, has its Mountain West picks assembled. It goes with Boise State to win the Mountain Division after a two-year hiatus, to be followed by Wyoming, New Mexico, Air Force, Colorado State and Utah State. That draws a little line in the sand for the Rams. More on the Aggies below. No surprise in the West Division: San Diego State is predicted to win it again. What you have to like about that is Street & Smith’s sees the Broncos and Aztecs meeting in the Mountain West championship game, which means they’d place twice this season after skipping each other the last two years. Boise State and San Diego State will play at least once—October 14 at Qualcomm Stadium.

Athlon Sports, meanwhile, has released its Preseason All-Mountain West team. The hype surrounding Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen has been crescendo-ing, but Athlon’s not quite there yet, tabbing Boise State’s Brett Rypien as its first-team QB. Rypien is joined on offense by wide receiver Cedrick Wilson (what’s not to like about a player who amassed 1,129 yards and 11 touchdowns on 56 catches last season), and offensive tackle Archie Lewis. Lewis is going to be pushed by guys like Ezra Cleveland and Isiah Moore, which will only make him better. It’s interesting that Athlon has Alexander Mattison as a second-team running back. Mattison showed a lot in limited time behind Jeremy McNichols in 2016.

On defense, Athlon Sports sees cornerback Tyler Horton and defensive tackle David Moa as first-teamers. I’ve said that Horton was responsible for the most exciting and highest-profile moment in 2016: his 85-yard interception return for a touchdown against Washington State on the blue turf last September. It was a Saturday night on ESPN2, and with fireworks anticipated, the Cougars were driving on their first possession of the game before Horton stepped in front of a Luke Falk throw and weaved his way to the end zone. It was one of Albertsons Stadium’s all-time noise moments, and it has obviously stuck with national writers. Moa was the most pleasant surprise on defense last season, with a team-leading 8.5 sacks and a famous blocked field goal versus BYU in his first year as a starter.

Yesterday’s press conference that was supposed to unveil new Boise State uniforms was postponed until next Tuesday. The suspense will be killing us. I will say that blue, black, orange and white jerseys would provide plenty of smorgasboard for the Broncos. I won’t mind if gray is retired. You’ll recall that the gray look was created for Boise State’s first home conference game against Air Force in 2011, when the Mountain West had banned the Broncos from wearing all-blue on the blue turf (a policy later rescinded). The numbers were hard to read on the gray unis, and that problem was exascerbated by the fact that every possible patch of perspiration would show, really messing up the look.

Today marks the 100-day checkpoint for the 2017 Boise State football season. One opponent we haven’t spent much time on is Utah State. It was just 19 months ago the Aggies were blowing a hole in the Broncos’ 2015 season with the 52-26 rout in Logan. Since that night, USU has gone 5-14. This week the Deseret News previews Utah State quarterback Kent Myers, who threw for three touchdowns in that 2015 upset. “Myers may be the most underrated quarterback in the state (of Utah) headed into the 2017 season,” writes Lafe Peavler. “He's moving into his senior year, and he's getting a solid new offensive coordinator and quarterback coach in David Yost.”

Peavler notes that “Yost was the quarterbacks coach at Oregon last season, and for three seasons before that at Washington State. It will be interesting to see how much Myers' game improves under Yost's new offense.” Myers’ numbers last year were middling—he completed 58 percent of his throws, covering 2,389 yards and and 10 touchdowns against eight interceptions. He was 29-of-50 for 289 yards in Utah State’s 21-10 loss to Boise State last October.

FloTrack, one of the nation’s premiere sources for track and field news, is all over Allie Ostrander’s appearance this week at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships in Austin, TX. Notes FloTrack: “Boise State's distance star made her season debut with a stunning 9:55 steeplechase victory at the Stanford Invitational. The performance was her first attempt at the event, and it made heads turn for a few reasons. No athlete in the Olympic Trials steeplechase final ran a faster debut than Ostrander's run at Stanford. It was also an NCAA All-American-worthy time that beat several pros in the field. In Austin, Ostrander is choosing to focus her energy in the event which has unlimited potential for her.” Allie is also entered in the 5,000-meters, the event in which she finished eighth in the Olympic Trials last year.

The Boise State men’s tennis team has some cool consolation after enduring its worst season under coach Greg Patton. The Broncos have been named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s National Community Service Award recipient for 2017. This is the first such honor for the program. “What it does is kind of acts as a gauge to judge the heart and soul of your program and its student-athletes on and off the court,” Patton said. Boise State was honored for its work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation—and for “adopting” Sam Lee, a 13-year-old Idaho teen battling a life-threatening disease, and signing him to an honorary letter of intent as part of the team’s work with the National Team IMPACT organization.

This Day In Sports…May 24, 2002, 15 years ago today:

Boise’s first legit hockey star, Cal Ingraham, hangs up his skates after four seasons with the Idaho Steelheads. Ingraham’s final appearance was in Game 6 of the Taylor Cup Finals, a classic contest won 3-2 in double sudden death overtime by the Fresno Falcons. Cal ended his career as the Steelheads all-time leading scorer (175 goals) and the only player in WCHL history to score 50 goals in three straight seasons. He also owned the fastest hat trick in league history, scoring three times in 1:15 in a game against Colorado in 1999.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)