BOISE STATE, SAN DIEGO STATE EARLY FAVORITES
Boise State enters 2015 in a familiar spot — as the team to beat among its peers.
The Broncos received 28-of-30 first-place votes in the Mountain Division preseason media poll released Tuesday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Utah State received the other two votes and placed second.
Boise State was the WAC favorite from 2008 to 2010, the Mountain West favorite in 2011-12 and the Mountain Division favorite in 2013-14.
Never miss a local story.
“It was great news to hear, but at the end of the day it’s still preseason and not much, if any, football has been played,” senior safety Darian Thompson said. “It’s still a long ways away. We just have to keep grinding and see what happens.”
Thompson, senior offensive tackle Rees Odhiambo and coach Bryan Harsin arrived in Las Vegas on Tuesday. They’ll participate in their full media sessions Wednesday.
Odhiambo says the Broncos have maintained their edge despite a successful 2014 that included Mountain West and Fiesta Bowl titles. Boise State returns 18 starters.
“The edge right now really comes from coach Harsin,” said Odhiambo, who learned Monday that he’d replace senior center Marcus Henry (had a conflict) at the event. “He’s made sure we never lose that chip on our shoulder.”
San Diego State is the West Division favorite with 27 first-place votes. Fresno State was second with three first-place votes. The conference didn’t ask the media to vote on an overall champion.
Boise State placed a league-high six players on the preseason all-conference team: Henry, Odhiambo, junior defensive end Kamalei Correa, junior linebacker Tanner Vallejo, senior cornerback Donte Deayon and Thompson.
TITLE GAME PROFITS
The Mountain West made nearly $1.3 million off its second championship game, staged last year in Boise, Commissioner Craig Thompson said.
That was a 15.7 percent increase over the 2013 game, largely because of a title sponsorship sold to Sports Authority, Thompson said. The Mountain West is in negotiation for a 2015 title sponsor and Sports Authority remains in the picture.
The 2014 title game was at Albertsons Stadium. Boise State beat Fresno State 28-14 in front of a season-low crowd of 26,101.
The 2013 championship game was at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif. Fresno State beat Utah State 24-17 in front of 31,362 fans.
The 2013 profit was $1,108,174.
The revenue each year was split 10 percent to the home team, 5 percent to the visiting team and 85 percent to the 12 football-playing members (7.08 percent each). That gave Boise State roughly $218,900 from the 2014 game.
The title game distribution was part of Boise State’s Mountain West-high $9.4 million payout from conference and College Football Playoff revenue. The MW distributed a record $47 million for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Other notes from Thompson:
• He doesn’t consider potential Big 12 expansion a threat to his league. Boise State has been on many media lists of potential candidates. “I don’t,” he said. “I know a lot of those ADs ... I haven’t heard anyone other than the Oklahoma president say, ‘We should be more than 10 members.’ ”
• Seven members plan to offerfull cost-of-attendance scholarships
to all scholarship athletes in 2015-16. Air Force has a different system as a service academy. Four schools aren’t moving to full cost of attendance this year: Nevada, UNLV, New Mexico and Hawaii.
Boise State has the highest estimated annual COA increase at $5,100 per year, according to a MW survey conducted this month. Colorado State has the smallest at $2,400 for in-state students ($3,200 for out of state). The average is $3,813.
Boise State’s actual COA increase depends on where athletes are from and where they live. The numbers, provided by the school: $4,686 per year for Idaho residents living on campus, $5,262 for Idaho residents living off campus, $5,330 for out-of-state students living on campus and $5,486 for out-of-state students living off campus.
STILL NO ‘MYSTIQUE’
San Diego State coach Rocky Long stood by his comment from last season that he doesn’t think there’s a “mystique” advantage for Boise State playing at home on the blue turf.
“Look at the scores the last four years,” he said. “You tell me if there’s a mystique. There’s no mystique.”
The Broncos are 23-2 at home during that time with losses to TCU in 2011 and San Diego State in 2012. San Diego State also led 20-0 in the first half last year in Boise but the Broncos rallied to win. Four of last year’s seven home wins were by 14 points or fewer.
UNLV’S SANCHEZ MAKES BIG JUMP
Tony Sanchez doesn’t consider the jump from coaching high school to college a major hurdle. He was the head coach at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas from 2009 to 2014.
His only college experience was as an undergraduate assistant.
“I’m real excited, because at the end of the day, not enough guys have had the opportunity,” he said. “It’s one of those deals, is there enough of a case study to know whether or not it does work? Have high school guys made the immediate jump and impacted college? Unbelievably. You look at (Auburn coach) Gus Malzahn, what he did as a coordinator, (Baylor) coach (Art) Briles, you look at (Arizona State coach) Todd Graham, the amount of impact that guys who have spent the majority of their career in high school have had on the game of college football in the last 10 years has been significant.
“I do not think I’m the only one capable of doing what I’m doing, I just think I’m fortunate I got the opportunity, so I want to be successful. I think we’re going to open up doors.”
BRONCOS FANS TAKE SHOTS AT POLIAN
Nevada coach Brian Polian uses Twitter for recruiting and tries to keep a sense of humor about the comments he gets from Boise State fans.
“It is an absolute necessity to have in recruiting, and it takes everything in my power not to reply to a guy that’s got 12 followers and wants to be a clown,” he said. “A lot of it is good fun, and I laugh, I giggle and I show my wife, I’ll say ‘What do you think of this?’ because they get very creative with pictures. I laugh about the vast majority of them, but unfortunately in our world today this stuff has given people a forum to say hateful, disgusting, mean stuff and not have to put their name next to it.”
CHOW: HAWAII FOOTBALL WILL LAST
Former Hawaii Athletic Director Ben Jay caused a stir last year when he suggested that financial issues could lead to the end of the school’s football program. Jay resigned in December.
The comments caused problems in recruiting, coach Norm Chow said.
“It’s hard. First of all, I think that was taken a little bit out of context,” Chow said. “The AD who is no longer there, probably because he made those comments, was just trying to make a point — he really was saying: ‘Hey, we’ve got to get with it. We can’t just meander along. We’ve got to make a statement.’ But it hurt us in recruiting. There will always be football. People are too passionate about it. It’s the only game in town.”
Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter doesn’t like the MW’s reliance on Friday games. The Bulldogs played four in a row last year.
“I’m not so concerned about the night games as I am Friday night games,” DeRuyter said. “When you’re playing on Fridays, it’s tough on fans in your community that want to support the high schools as well as go to your game. You make them decide. And selfishly, from a recruiting standpoint, that’s one less recruiting opportunity.”
DeRuyter seemed stunned that Boise State is playing six Friday games this season.
“If they go undefeated, maybe they should be in the playoff,” he said.