Steele’s itty-bitty type oozes optimism

When Phil Steele writes his annual College Football Preview, he uses the smallest font on his laptop. And he does write his magazine, noting that he pens every single team preview—all 128 of them—himself. To get everything into 352 pages, he uses lots of abbreviations. You can find a glossary of 224 in the front of the book. It’s easily the most comprehensive of the preseason magazines. It is Steele’s life. He claims it to be the most accurate college football preview magazine over the past 18 years, so let’s get down to brass tacks. Steele is the most positive of the prognosticators when it comes to Boise State, placing the Broncos first in the Mountain West and 16th overall.

Preseason hype has been commonplace for Boise State as the new century has progressed. Sometimes the Broncos live up to it—sometimes they don’t. Last year they didn’t. But Steele is really high on them. “This could be a bubble-bursting year as six of my nine sets of power ratings call for a 12-0 season,” summarizes Steele. “A win in the MW title game (vs. a potential 12-0 San Diego State) could have them in the playoff conversation at the end of the year. Now how will the Broncos handle this year’s high expectations?”

Other interesting Steele observations on Boise State involve the backfield: “This year they lose Kelsey Young but are much more experienced, and McNichols is one of the MWC’s top RB’s,” writes Steele. He must like Devan Demas and Ryan Wolpin. On the offense overall: “My computer calls for them to top the 39.7 and 39.1 points per game that they have put up the last two years.” The Broncos would take that. And there’s the concern over the defensive line and the development of a starting four, much less a second wave: “They do play their second string (Orange line) 30-40 percent of the time, but that unit produced 12.5 sacks in ’14 and just 3.5 in ’15.”

Boise State’s Tyler Rausa had waited his turn before a breakout 2015 season that produced a first-team All-Mountain West honor and a spot as a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award that goes to the nation’s best placekicker. Now Rausa is back on the Groza watch list, coming off a Mountain West kicking-scoring record 134 points, second in the country. Rausa went 25-of-30 on his field goal attempts—the 25 makes were a Bronco school record. That was the top mark in the conference and fourth-best nationally.

With the success he’s had during his career, Austin Rehkow has become the centerpiece of the Idaho roster. Rehkow is also on the Lou Groza Award watch list and was also a Groza semifinalist last year. He was the only player in the FBS to rank in the top 10 in both field goals and punting average in 2015. Rehkow’s 23 field goals set a new Idaho single-season record, while his 108 points led all Sun Belt players in scoring regardless of position. He was also the Vandals’ only first-team All-Sun Belt honoree last year as a punter, and he’s on the watch list for the Ray Guy Award that goes to the best player in that department.

We’re closer to NFL training camps now than spring OTA’s. So what do you suppose Dallas Cowboys quarterback Kellen Moore is doing? Working on his Tony Romo impression. Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News said he was surprised at how much the former Boise State star’s cadence sounded like Romo when he was under center during OTA’s. “Kellen said that’s something he’s been working on—a way to keep continuity,” wrote Machota. “I don’t remember Moore sounding that much like him last year.” It’s basically a done deal: Moore will be Romo’s backup in 2016 after passing his audition at the end of last season. And it seems to be accepted in Dallas.

Allie Ostrander is one big kick away from the Summer Games in Rio. The young Boise State star finished fourth in the 5,000-meters at the U.S Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene last night and is into Sunday’s final at Hayward Field. More importantly, Ostrander’s time of 15:27.13 was the fourth-fastest overall in the 23-runner field. It was her first race in four months, since she had to pull out of the NCAA Indoor Championships with a stress fracture. Yet Ostrander ran a smart race and blazed through the final lap in 1:05. The top three finishers on Sunday go to the Olympics. Also last night, Emmett’s Megan Rolland finished seventh in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, falling short of a trip to Rio.

“Former Idaho Stampede” references will fade over time. But Pierre Jackson is still fresh, so he gets a mention today. Jackson, who scored a D-League record 58 points in a February, 2014, Stampede game and played for the club again this past season, has landed with the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League. The Blazers open play Saturday against the Phoenix Suns. Boise State’s James Webb III was supposed to be back in Summer League action yesterday when the Philadelphia 76ers entry took on the host Utah Jazz squad in Salt Lake City, but he did not play. The Sixers beat the Jazz 86-75.

Mike Terpstra, the former Northwest Nazarene head coach who spent last season with the Boise State basketball program, has been named to the staff of the Washington Wizards. The NBA is not new to Terpstra—he was an assistant for the Oklahoma City Thunder from 2013-15 and has worked in various capacities in the D-League and the CBA. Terpstra also played at NNU before competing professionally in Turkey and England. He coached the Crusaders in 2004-05.

The Boise Hawks try to avoid a five-game sweep tonight when they wrap up their five-game series in Spokane at Avista Stadium. Mike Zimmerman, who was the Hawks’ Opening Night starter last month, fell to 0-5 on the season last night in an 8-4 loss to the Indians. Zimmerman allowed seven runs (only two of them earned) over 3 1/3 innings. His ERA is now 7.32. The Hawks return to Memorial Stadium tomorrow night to begin a three-game series against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.

Jefferson Dahl is headed back to the Idaho Steelheads for a third season. The 26-year-old forward was an assistant captain for the Steelheads last season and tied for the team lead in goals with a career-high 22, 10 of them on power plays. Dahl played in each of Idaho’s first 69 games last season before an injury ended his campaign. He has played 110 games for the Steelies overall.

This Day In Sports…July 8, 2014:

In the biggest knockout round rout in the history of World Cup soccer, Germany embarrasses the host country, Brazil, 7-1 in the semifinals. The Germans scored a staggering four goals in a six-minute stretch en route to a 5-0 halftime lead. The seven goals were the most ever tallied in a World Cup semifinal. It was Brazil’s worst defeat in 80 years and left the country despondent. Five days later, Germany would go on to beat Argentina 1-0 in extra time in the final to win its first World Cup since 1990.

(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.)