It’s Phil Steele time

It’s on newsstands, and it’s 352 pages again.  Phil Steele’s College Football Preview always has exponentially more information than other magazines, because it has small font and utilizes a glossary of about 225 abbreviations.  <!–more–>

So, with the help of reading glasses, I see that Steele takes the leap of faith at Boise State’s vacant quarterback position, just like so many others.  “Naturally going from a four-year starter to a unit with seven career pass attempts, there will be a drop off, but we like what Boise has to work with at this position,” writes Steele.  He notes the uncertainty with Chase Cord’s ACL recovery, but also Hank Bachmeier’s No. 14 placing in Phil’s rankings of players coming out of high school this year.

One of my main takeaways is how Steele views Florida State this year.  The opener in Jacksonville on August 31 will set the tone not only for the Seminoles, but also the Broncos.  On his list of “Surprise Teams,” Steele has FSU as his “roulette chip,” meaning he’s gambling on the ‘Noles to shock the college football world.  On the following page, Florida State is No. 3 on his list of Most Improved Teams this year. Then there’s Phil’s Preseason Top 40. FSU is No. 30, and Boise State is No. 36.  “This team has good depth,” Steele says of the Seminoles.  “Boise is my pick to win the Mountain West and a clear contender for the New Year’s Six bowl game,” writes Steele.  But…No. 36?  He just doesn’t think much of the Group of 5, which is absent from his top 25.

Another takeaway is how Steele predicts the Mountain West to go.  He has Boise State winning it despite dropping to No. 81 on his “Experience Chart” (that’s primarily due to Brett Rypien’s departure). But Steele goes with Air Force over Utah State as the runnerup in the Mountain Division.  The Falcons are his No. 5 most improved team nationally as they have 14 starters back, an unusually high number for the academy.  The Aggies are 124thmost experienced team, as they return only two starters on offense.  USU also draws San Diego State, Nevada and Fresno State out of the West Division this year.

BENGALS’ STOCK IS UP—VANDALS’ STOCK IS SIDEWAYS

Back to Street & Smith’s—that magazine includes the FCS and picks Idaho State to finish seventh in the Big Sky this year and Idaho ninth.  Writer Randy Reinhardt notes that the Bengals were “the surprise team in the conference in 2018.”  Quarterback Tanner Gueller is gone, but Reinhardt give props to wide receivers Mitch Gueller, Tanner’s brother, and Michael Dean on the offensive side of the ball and linebacker Kody Graves out of Skyview High and defensive back Adkin Aguirre on defense.  The Vandals get some notice for linebacker Christian Elliss, “the son of former Pro Bowler Luther Elliss” (also UI’s defensive line coach).  Reinhardt mentions that Mason Petrino returns at quarterback for Idaho.  The Vandals very much want to see that as a positive.

NO AHL IN DOWNTOWN BOISE

TheIdaho Steelheads won’t be moving to the American Hockey League, at least not as an affiliate of Seattle’s new NHL franchise. According to the Palm Springs Desert Sun, Seattle’s ownership group, in conjunction with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, is building a new 10,000-seat arena on tribal land in downtown Palm Springs to house its AHL team in 2021.  Boise and Palm Springs had been the two finalists.  Hockey in Palm Springs?  Well, there’s hockey in Phoenix.  Whatever.

MAIN ATTRACTION SHINES FOR THE HAWKS

Boise Hawks fans who came out to see Colorado Rockies first-round draft pick Michael Toglia were not disappointed Wednesday night at Memorial Stadium.  Toglia, who had been struggling at the plate since his debut last Friday, went 3-for-4, scored three runs, knocked in one and stole a base as the Hawks thumped Eugene 11-5 at Memorial Stadium.  Joe Aeilts had a big night, hitting a two-run homer—the first of his pro career—and legged out an RBI triple that could have been a single with pure hustle.  The Hawks rapped out 18 hits in the game.  They wrap up the three-game series with the Emeralds tonight.

MERRITT LOOKS TO EVEN IT OUT

After a wildly inconsistent stay at the Travelers Championship, Meridian’s Troy Merritt tries to rock steady as he tees off in the Rocket Mortgage Classic today at the Detroit Golf Club.  Merritt shot even-par last Thursday and then turned in a five-under gem on Friday to make the cut at the Travelers.  But he was five-over last Saturday.  And because so many players were still in the field Saturday, the bottom 12 were eliminated after the third round.  It’s called “made the cut/did not finish.”  Merritt still earned $13,824, though.

HARD TO LET GO OF SHANI REMME

It ain’t over yet for Boise State gymnastics star Shani Remme.  And that’s a good thing.  Following one of the most decorated careers in school history, Remme has been nominated for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year Award.  The honor goes to a graduating female athlete who has completed her eligibility and has distinguished herself in academics, athletics, service and leadership.  Remme was a two-time All-American and holds the Broncos’ all-time record for victories on beam and in the all-around.  She won back-to-back Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference Gymnast of the Year honors in 2017 and 2018.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by MAZ-TECH AUTOMOTIVE…your car says, “Take me to Maz-Tech!”

June 27, 2016:  Former Boise Hawk Kris Bryant, who was playing at Memorial Stadium just three years earlier, breaks more new ground with the Chicago Cubs.  Bryant became the first player in major league history to hit three home runs and two doubles in the same game in an 11-8 win over Cincinnati.  At the age of 24, the reigning National League Rookie of the Year also was youngest Cub ever to hit three homers in a game. Legendary Hall of Famer Ernie Banks was 10 days older when he first accomplished the feat in 1955.

(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.)