Our perusal of five of the top preseason college football magazines takes us to Sporting News today. Unfortunately, this publication doesn’t go beyond a top 25. Boise State is the pick to win the Mountain Division of the Mountain West and San Diego State the West Division. The only clue as to which one SN thinks will win the championship is its bowl projections: the Broncos to the Hawaii Bowl and the Aztecs to the Las Vegas Bowl. Advantage, SDSU. Here’s a nickname I hadn’t heard before. Sporting News calls Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien “Brett The Rypper” and says “he should have an even brighter sophomore season.” Brett The Rypper. Do you think that’ll stick?
Under the “Rating the Mountain West” sidebar come these Sporting News assessments. Best Passing QB is Rypien, who “threw for 3,353 yards last year as a freshman. No one else even came close.” Most Elusive RB is Jeremy McNichols, who “can make sharp cuts and turn short gains into big plays.” Best Hands belong to Thomas Sperbeck, who is “Rypien’s favorite target for a reason. He catches virtually everything thrown his way.” Best Coach is, uh, San Diego State’s Rocky Long. But Coordinator To Watch is Zak Hill. “It should be fun to see what he does with Rypien,” writes Steve Carp. And your capper: Loudest Stadium is Albertsons Stadium, where “it’s not just the blue ‘Smurf Turf’ that makes this place tough on opponents. The fans make the place shake at times.”
Other notes of local interest from Sporting News’ preview: Washington State quarterback Luke Falk and wide receiver Gabe Marks get “Don’t Forget About” mentions on the magazine’s list of Heisman Trophy candidates. Here’s a headline that draws a line in the sand for the Mountain West: “A breakout 2015 established AAC as pacesetter in Group of 5.” Idaho is tabbed to finish seventh in the Sun Belt, right about where most of the magazines have the Vandals. Sporting News goes deeper into the divisions than its peer magazines. It has a full page on the Big Sky, with Idaho State picked to finish 12th this season. It even has a one- page NAIA Preview, in which College of Idaho tight end Marcus Lenhardt and defensive back Nate Moore are named first-team All-Americans.
Boise State has landed two players on the watch list for the 80th annual Maxwell Award that goes to the nation’s best college player, the only Mountain West team to do so. Rypien and McNichols are among 90 players from around the country on the watch list. The last time we saw them together, Rypien was throwing for 377 yards and three touchdowns while McNichols was collecting 93 yards rushing and 96 receiving—and three TDs overall—in the Broncos’ 55-7 rout of Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl.
It’s Wednesday, and time to open the vault on another position in voting for Boise State’s 30-Year All-Blue Team. For the next week, the tight ends are on the board. This group won’t be quite as time-consuming for fans. There have been some great Bronco tight ends, but only five meet the ballot criteria: Larry Stayner, Del Graven, Dave Stachelski, Jeb Putzier and Derek Schouman. Sure looks like a two-man race between those last two, both of them Eagle High grads. Putzier made 128 career catches from 1998-2001, although he played primarily at wide receiver as a sophomore and junior. Schouman had the game-winning touchdown catch in the 2003 Fort Worth Bowl against TCU and the overtime TD grab that led to Ian Johnson’s winning two-point conversion against Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
BYU doesn’t have a conference, so the Cougars hold their own Media Day every year. They can do it whenever they want, and they choose to be first out of the gate at the end of June. My takeaway from accounts of the gathering last Thursday (beyond Tanner Mangum versus Taysom Hill) is the return of running back Jamaal Williams, who withdrew from school before last season for reasons that still aren’t entirely clear. But Williams, a senior, is going to make a difference as he chases BYU’s career rushing record—he’s currently 930 yards away.
Williams says he never felt very far away from the team last year. Example: When the Cougars defeated Boise State on that last-minute, 35-yard touchdown pass from Mangum to Mitchell Juergens last September in Provo, Williams said he ran out of his house in California with his shirt off, “yelling like I’m there and I ain’t even there.” The BYU running game was spotty last year without him.
Game No. 2 was about the same in scoring and a lot better on the boards for James Webb III. The former Boise State star put up nine points and pulled down eight rebounds, a team-high four of them on the offensive end, in the Philadelphia 76ers squad’s 95-91 loss yesterday to the San Antonio Spurs entry in the Utah NBA Summer League. Webb also logged only one personal foul after committing six on Monday night. He was 4-for-10 from the field and 1-for-4 from beyond the arc.
Colorado State hoops got some good news over the weekend as the Rams try to return to the Mountain West’s upper echelon. Standout guard Gian Clavell has been granted a medical hardship by the MW and the NCAA and will return for one more season at CSU. Clavell played in only 10 games for the Rams last season before a hand injury and surgery to repair the labrum in his shoulder put him on the shelf. At that point, Clavell had been on a roll, averaging nearly 37 minutes, 20.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.
The Boise Hawks are now 6-13 after booting a 7-5 lead and losing 8-7 at Spokane last night. That spoiled a big night by Jacob Bosiokovic, who went 3-for-4 with four runs batted in, including a three-run homer. Bosiokovic is now hitting .377. Elsewhere, Kris Bryant and Josh Donaldson are the only former Hawks named to next week’s All-Star Game. But both are rather key components, with Bryant holding down third base as part of an all-Chicago Cubs National League infield. He hit another home run yesterday and now has an NL-leading 25 homers. Donaldson is rolling for Toronto. The reigning American League MVP is batting .304 with 22 homers and 60 RBIs.
Boise State’s Allie Ostrander is set for the first heat of the women’s 5,000-meters tomorrow evening at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene. The Bronco true freshman from Kenai, AK, is the only collegiate runner in the field. Ostrander’s resume isn’t going to make her any faster at Hayward Field, but she certainly has one. Last fall in cross country, she won the NCAA West Regionals and was runnerup at the NCAA Championships. Ostrander was then Mountain West Women’s Track Athlete of the Year and West Region Athlete of the Year for the indoor season before a stress fracture forced her to bow out of the NCAA Championships. Never say never when it comes to Allie Ostrander.
This Day In Sports…July 6, 1933:
Called the “Game Of The Century” and held in conjunction with the Chicago World’s Fair, baseball’s first All-Star game is played at Comiskey Park. Babe Ruth rose to the occasion, smacking a two-run homer in the third to lead the American League All-Stars to a 4-2 win over the National League. The Sultan of Swat’s Yankee, teammate, Lefty Gomez, got the win before more than 49,000 fans.
(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 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)