If college football guru Phil Steele is correct, Boise State won’t even require a trip to the airport for its 2017 bowl game.
Though the print edition of Phil Steele’s annual college football preview doesn’t hit shelves until June 27, a digital copy of his magazine became available June 9. Steele’s magazine is widely lauded as one of the most accurate out there, and he predicts the Broncos will play Ohio in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Friday, Dec. 22, ESPN). He predicts defending champion San Diego State will win the Mountain West a third straight year and play in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Steele ranks Boise State as his No. 45 team overall and to finish second in the Mountain West’s Mountain Division behind Colorado State. The Broncos are Steele’s third-highest ranked Mountain West team in his overall rankings, behind San Diego State (41) and Colorado State (43).
The Broncos have the No. 71 toughest schedule in the nation, which is the second most difficult in the Mountain West behind Fresno State (69).
Several individual Boise State players ranked highly on Steele’s All-Mountain West teams, including quarterback Brett Rypien. Rypien, who has earned first team all-conference honors in each of his two seasons, is Steele’s first team All-Mountain West quarterback, edging out Wyoming’s Josh Allen. Rypien, Steele’s No. 15 quarterback overall, is also listed in “Heisman Possibilities,” which Steele categorizes as “players who will put up big stats but aren’t likely to be playing for a National Title Contender but could split votes with other prime players.”
Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson, defensive lineman David Moa and cornerback Tyler Horton join Rypien on Steele’s All-Mountain West first team.
Center Mason Hampton, tackle Archie Lewis and tight end Jake Roh were all named to Steele’s second team All-Mountain West list. Edge rusher Jabril Frazier, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch and Wilson (punt returner) made the third team. Running back Alexander Mattison and edge rusher Gabe Perez made Steele’s fourth team.
South Florida is Steele’s pick to get the Group of Five’s bid to a New Year’s Six Game, as he has the Bulls playing in the Cotton Bowl against Washington.
In his preview, Steele writes, “I like it when long time favorites are under the radar and that is where Boise figures to be in ’16. Despite the schedule they are still a prime contender for the MW Title and that NY’s day 6 bowl bid.”