Boise State Football

Boise State football will be a heavy Mountain Division favorite. See how we voted

Boise State’s Brett Rypien would love to have a ‘storybook’ ending to his senior year

Boise State's Brett Rypien talks about the legacy he would like to leave behind saying, 'Ultimately, it'd be nice to have a storybook end to my senior season, but my legacy is going to be how I treated people in the locker room and the community.'
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Boise State's Brett Rypien talks about the legacy he would like to leave behind saying, 'Ultimately, it'd be nice to have a storybook end to my senior season, but my legacy is going to be how I treated people in the locker room and the community.'

The Mountain West Conference’s head football coaches, select players and media will descend on Las Vegas for the Mountain West Football Media Summit on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin will be joined by senior quarterback Brett Rypien and senior cornerback Tyler Horton. The Broncos will be an overwhelming favorite to win the Mountain Division, and both seniors likely will see their names as preseason all-conference picks.

Tuesday morning, the preseason polls will be announced. My picks are below. And they hopefully will not be as misguided as last year, when in a total lapse of sanity, I picked Colorado State to win the Mountain Division.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

Boise State: The Broncos ended a two-year dry spell with another conference title, plus return Rypien, running back Alexander Mattison, most of the offensive line, and nine of their top 10 tacklers. Easy pick.

Utah State: Going with upside here, as the Aggies have all five starters on the offensive line back, plus QB Jordan Love showed some promise. Seven starters are back on defense, too.

Wyoming: I already feel some regret having the Cowboys here. I wouldn’t be shocked if they end up second. This defense is going to be insane (17.5 ppg, 38 turnovers last year), with eight starters back.

Colorado State: One of the nation’s most inexperienced teams. Can Washington transfer KJ Carta-Samuels get it done at QB? Will the Rams weather games against Colorado, Arkansas and Florida?

Air Force: Woe be the person who underestimates the Falcons, but the entire offensive line and starting running backs are gone. The rush defense was horrible, and some good run teams are on the slate.

New Mexico: The Lobos lost seven in a row to end 2017, and it only got worse with coach Bob Davie suspended a month during the spring. The offense dropped off, the style is changing a bit and one lineman returns.

WEST DIVISION PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

Fresno State: What a story last season, and now the expectations are high. How will the Bulldogs handle it? They have their QB, some excellent receivers and the entire back seven on defense back.

San Diego State: Plug and play. Rashaad Penny is gone, but Juwan Washington should be a workhorse at running back. There’s no reason to think the defense shouldn’t be really good again, too.

UNLV: QB Armani Rogers showed some serious potential, and RB Lexington Thomas may run for 1,500 yards. Can the Rebels finally get in a bowl? The schedule is friendly, and if the defense improves, it’s likely.

Nevada: The Wolf Pack could be bowl contenders, too. The offense showed a lot of promise down the stretch. The defense was bad, but there’s talent on the back end. The rush defense could struggle though.

Hawai’i: Nick Rolovich is a great presence for the school and the conference, but he’s in a tough spot after a 3-9 year. The ‘bows lost their top QB and WR to transfer and six new assistants join the staff.

San Jose State: Quarterback play was a concern, and there’s still no set answer there. The Spartans beat only one FBS team last year, and it’s hard to be optimistic about a team that was last in the MW in scoring offense and defense.

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As far as preseason all-conference players go, it can be a crapshoot, though 11 of the 25 first-team All-Mountain West selections in 2017 were also on the preseason all-conference list. Not on last year’s preseason All-MW team? Leighton Vander Esch, the eventual Defensive Player of the Year. At least I had him on my preseason ballot! Maybe partially it makes up for the CSU pick?

Tough choices on offense especially. Nevada’s Ty Gangi, Boise State’s Brett Rypien and Fresno State’s Marcus McMaryion all deserve recognition. All three finished last season within 151 yards passing, 1.6 percent completion percentage and 10 completions of one another. Gangi finished strong, he has a solid line, another year in a high-scoring system, two of his top three receivers back and a versatile runner in Kelton Moore. I have no doubt Rypien will have a solid year, but are his targets ready for primetime?

I went with Washington as the OPOY because he’s done well in a backup role (6.6 career yards per carry, 17 total TDs in last 20 games) just like his predecessors did, and that system will allow him to put up some huge numbers. I think Wyoming’s Andrew Wingard (367 career tackles, five INTs last season) will anchor an excellent defense, while Avery Williams (two punt return TDs, 24.7 yards per kick return) was outstanding in his first year of action.

QUARTERBACK

Ty Gangi - Nevada

RUNNING BACK

Lexington Thomas - UNLV

Juwan Washington - San Diego State

WIDE RECEIVER

KeeSean Johnson - Fresno State

John Ursua - Hawai’i

TIGHT END

Dax Raymond - Utah State

OFFENSIVE LINE

Ezra Cleveland - Boise State

Tyler Roemer - San Diego State

Keith Ismael - San Diego State

John Molchon - Boise State

Quin Ficklin - Utah State

DEFENSIVE LINE

Carl Granderson - Wyoming

Jabril Frazier - Boise State

Curtis Weaver - Boise State

Youhanna Ghaifan - Wyoming

LINEBACKER

Jeff Allison - Fresno State

Jahlani Tavai - Hawai’i

Malik Reed - Nevada

DEFENSIVE BACK

Andrew Wingard - Wyoming

Tariq Thompson - San Diego State

Tyler Horton - Boise State

Kekoa Nawahine - Boise State

PLACEKICKER

Dominik Eberle - Utah State

PUNTER

Ryan Stonehouse - Colorado State

RETURN SPECIALIST

Avery Williams - Boise State

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Juwan Washington - San Diego State

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Andrew Wingard - Wyoming

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Avery Williams - Boise State

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