The Boise State football team will open the 2015 season as the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Mountain Division.
The defending league champion Broncos have been favored to win the Mountain West or Mountain Division every year since joining the conference in 2010. They have been favored in their conference or division for eight straight years overall, including the final three years in the WAC.
Boise State received 28 of 30 first-place votes in media voting and 177 points. Utah State received the other two first-place votes and 150 points. Colorado State was third.
Boise State returns 18 starters off a team that went 12-2 and won the Fiesta Bowl in 2014. Utah State returns 16 from a 10-4 team and Colorado State returns 16 from a 10-3 team.
“We are happy to be picked as one of the top teams in the Mountain West, but we have a lot of work to do,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said in a statement. “We’re excited to start fall camp and begin the 2015 season.”
San Diego State is the West Division favorite with 27 first-place votes and 177 points. Fresno State was second with three first-place votes and 141 points. San Diego State returns 15 starters. Fresno State, the two-time defending division champion, returns 12 starters.
The conference didn’t have the media vote on an overall champion.
Boise State placed a league-high six players on the preseason all-conference team: senior center Marcus Henry, senior left tackle Rees Odhiambo, junior defensive end Kamalei Correa, junior linebacker Tanner Vallejo, senior cornerback Donte Deayon and senior safety Darian Thompson.
The preseason players of the year were Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins (consensus All-American last year who led the nation with 1,750 receiving yards and 17 TDs), Utah State linebacker Kyler Fackrell (highly regarded NFL prospect who sustained a knee injury in the season opener last year) and San Diego State kicker Donny Hageman (20-for-25 on field goals last year).
The Mountain West media preview is Tuesday and Wednesday. West Division players and coaches and Commissioner Craig Thompson are on the schedule Tuesday.
Our Wednesday live chat schedule:
1:30 p.m. MT: Darian Thompson
1:45 p.m. MT: Rees Odhiambo
4:30 p.m. MT: Boise State coach Bryan Harsin
MOUNTAIN WEST PRESEASON POLL
1. Boise State (28 first-place votes), 177
2. Utah State (2), 150
3. Colorado State, 108
4. Air Force, 90
5. Wyoming, 64
6. New Mexico, 41
1. San Diego State (27), 177
2. Fresno State (3), 141
3. Nevada, 113
4. San Jose State, 91
5. Hawaii, 70
6. UNLV, 38
MOUNTAIN WEST PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
QB: Chuckie Keeton, sr., Utah State
WR: Rashard Higgins, jr., Colorado State*
WR: Devonte Boyd, so., UNLV**
RB: Donnel Pumphrey, jr., San Diego State*
RB: Marteze Waller, sr., Fresno State**
OL: Marcus Henry, sr., Boise State*
OL: Rees Odhiambo, sr., Boise State**
OL: Alex Fifita, sr., Fresno State
OL: Ben Clarke, sr., Hawaii
OL: Pearce Slater, sr., San Diego State
TE: Steven Walker, sr., Colorado State*
DL: Alex Hansen, sr., Air Force**
DL: Kamalei Correa, jr., Boise State*
DL: Ian Seau, sr., Nevada**
DL: Eddie Yarbrough, sr., Wyoming*
LB: Tanner Vallejo, jr., Boise State**
LB: Kyler Fackrell, sr., Utah State
LB: Nick Vigil, jr., Utah State*
DB: Weston Steelhammer, jr., Air Force*
DB: Donte Deayon, sr., Boise State**
DB: Darian Thompson, sr., Boise State*
DB: Damontae Kazee, jr., San Diego State**
P: Alex Boy, sr., Nevada**
K: Donny Hageman, sr., San Diego State
KR: Carolos Wiggins, sr., New Mexico
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year: Rashard Higgins, WR, jr., Colorado State
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Kyler Fackrell, LB, sr., Utah State
Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year: Donny Hageman, sr., K, San Diego State
* indicates 2014 All-Mountain West first-teamer
** indicates 2014 All-Mountain West second-teamer
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MEDIA DAYS COVERAGE