Tue, Jul 24, 2018
LAS VEGAS, NV – Boise State was chosen to finish atop the Mountain Division, while two-time Mountain West champion Fresno State was predicted to win the West Division title, as announced today by the Mountain West at its annual Media Summit, being held at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
This marks the sixth season of divisional play for the Conference, which moved to the two, six-team divisional format in 2013 following the additions of San José State and Utah State. The Mountain Division is comprised of Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming, while Fresno State, Hawai‘i, Nevada, San Diego State, San José State and UNLV make up the West Division. The two divisional winners will meet in the MW Championship Game on Dec. 1, 2018 at the home stadium of the divisional champion with the highest winning percentage in Conference games only.
Boise State, which has been predicted to win the Mountain Division the last five seasons, finished 2017 with a 7-1 Conference record and defeated Fresno State in the 2017 Mountain West Football Championship Game, 17-14. The Broncos were a unanimous first-place pick, garnering all 22 first-place votes and 132 total points. Fifth-year head coach Bryan Harsin returns 18 starters from 2017, including six on offense and 10 on defense.
Fresno State earned 16 first-place votes in the West Division, earning 126 total points. This is the first year the Bulldogs have been favored to win the division since 2014. Last year, Fresno State compiled a 7-1 record in MW play and became only the second team in FBS history to win double-digit games in a year after losing double-digit contests the year before. The Bulldogs, who ended the 2017 campaign with a victory over Houston in the Hawai‘i Bowl, returns 17 starters from last season.
Wyoming received 95 points for second place in the Mountain Division, with Colorado State’s 82 total points, good for third place. Utah State (78), Air Force (52) and New Mexico (23) round out the Mountain Division poll.
This is the highest Wyoming has been picked to finish since the Conference switched to the two-division format.
San Diego State picked up six first-place votes and 116 total points, good for second place in the West Division. UNLV was third with 78 points, followed by Nevada (72), Hawai‘i (45) and San José State (25).
Rank Team (first-place votes) Points
1. Boise State (22) 132
2. Wyoming 95
3. Colorado State 82
4. Utah State 78
5. Air Force 52
6. New Mexico 23
Rank Team (first-place votes) Points
1. Fresno State (16) 126
2. San Diego State (6) 116
3. UNLV 78
4. Nevada 72
5. Hawai‘i 45
6. San José State 25
11 SENIORS NAMED TO MW PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
The team, as selected by members of the media, features 17 student-athletes who were All-MW selections in 2017. The 25-member squad is comprised of 11 seniors, six juniors and eight sophomores.
Boise State senior quarterback Brett Rypien was named Preseason MW Offensive Player of the Year, while Wyoming senior defensive back Andrew Wingard has earned Preseason MW Defensive Player of the Year accolades for the second consecutive year. Boise State sophomore return man Avery Williams garnered Preseason MW Special Teams Player of the Year honors.
Rypien enters the 2018 campaign as the nation’s active leading passer, throwing for 9,876 yards and has thrown the fourth-most touchdown passes among active FBS quarterbacks (60) in 37 collegiate games. The native of Spokane, Washington, earned All-Mountain West first team honors in 2015 and ‘16, and second team accolades in 2017. Last season, Rypien threw for 2,857 yards and 16 touchdowns. The 2,857 passing yards were second-most among Mountain West signal-callers last year. During the past week, Rypien has been named to the preseason watch lists for the Davey O’Brien Award, which is given to the nation’s best quarterback, and the Maxwell Award, given to the best overall player nationally.
Wingard, who has earned first-team all-conference honors in back-to-back years, enters his senior season averaging 9.4 tackles per game, which ranks as the third-most among active FBS defenders. The native of Arvada, Colorado, enters 2018 with 367 career tackles, the sixth-most in Wyoming history. Wingard is just 88 tackles shy of setting the Mountain West record for career tackles, which is currently held by New Mexico’s Carmen Messina (2008-11). Last week, Wingard was named to the Bednarik Award Preseason Watch List, which is given to the top defensive player nationally.
Williams finished the 2017 campaign ranked 13th nationally in punt return average (11.2 yards), while returning two punts for touchdowns. Additionally, the native of Pasadena, California, averaged 24.7 yards per kick return on his way to earning All-Mountain West second team honors last season.
2018 MOUNTAIN WEST FOOTBALL PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
QB Brett Rypien** Sr. Boise State
WR KeeSean Johnson** Sr. Fresno State
WR McLane Mannix So. Nevada
RB Alexander Mattison Jr. Boise State
RB Lexington Thomas* Sr. UNLV
OL Ezra Cleveland So. Boise State
OL John Molchon Jr. Boise State
OL Aaron Jenkins Sr. New Mexico
OL Keith Ismael** So. San Diego State
OL Tyler Roemer** So. San Diego State
TE Dax Raymond Jr. Utah State
DL David Moa** Sr. Boise State
DL Curtis Weaver* So. Boise State
DL Youhanna Ghaifan* Jr. Wyoming
DL Carl Granderson* Sr. Wyoming
LB Jeffrey Allison* Jr. Fresno State
LB Jahlani Tavai** Sr. Hawai‘i
LB Malik Reed Sr. Nevada
DB Tyler Horton* Sr. Boise State
DB Dameon Baber** Sr. Nevada
DB Tariq Thompson** So. San Diego State
DB Andrew Wingard * Sr. Wyoming
P Ryan Stonehouse So. Colorado State
PK Dominik Eberle* Jr. Utah State
KR/PR Avery Williams** So. Boise State
Offensive Player of the Year: Brett Rypien, Sr., QB, Boise State
Defensive Player of the Year: Andrew Wingard, Sr., DB, Wyoming
Special Teams Player of the Year: Avery Williams, So., KR/PR, Boise State