LARAMIE -- After announcing the league's virtual football media days would be postponed, the Mountain West went ahead and released its preseason accolades this week as voted on by the media.
The predicted order of finish in both divisions was released Tuesday followed by the preseason all-conference team Wednesday. On Thursday, Colorado State receiver Warren Jackson was named the league's preseason Offensive Player of the Year; Fresno State linebacker Justin Rice was named preseason Defensive Player of the Year; and Utah State kick returner Savon Scarver got the nod for preseason Special Teams Player of the Year.
Here's a look at the ballot submitted by Wyoming athletics beat writer Davis Potter, who explains his predicted order of finish in each division:
QB Hank Bachmeier, sophomore, Boise State
RB Xazavian Valladay, junior, Wyoming
RB Charles Williams, senior, UNLV
WR Warren Jackson, senior, Colorado State
WR Tre Walker, senior, San Jose State
WR Jared Smart, senior, Hawaii
TE Trey McBride, junior, CSU
OL Parker Ferguson, senior, Air Force
OL Nolan Laufenberg, senior, Air Force
OL John Ojukwu, junior, Boise State
OL Nate Brown, senior, Nevada
OL Keegan Cryder, junior, Wyoming
DL Dom Peterson, junior, Nevada
DL Scale Igiehon, junior, Boise State
DL Cameron Thomas, sophomore, San Diego State
DL Keshawn Banks, junior, San Diego State
LB Riley Whimpey, sophomore, Boise State
LB Justin Rice, senior, Fresno State
LB Demonte Meeks, senior, Air Force
DB Tariq Thompson, senior, San Diego State
DB Darren Hall, junior, San Diego State
DB Kekaula Kaniho, senior, Boise State
DB Cortez Davis, senior, Hawaii
PK Matt Araiza, sophomore, San Diego State
P Ryan Stonehouse, senior, Colorado State
KR Savon Scarver, senior, Utah State
PR Avery Williams, senior, Boise State
Offensive Player of the Year: Jackson
Defensive Player of the Year: Peterson
Special Teams Player of the Year: Williams
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Boise State
3. Air Force
4. Utah State
5. Colorado State
6. New Mexico
Boise State has won three straight division titles, so until some knocks the Broncos off their perch, the reigning conference champ deserves the top spot. With more than 70 percent of its two-deep back from last season and a favorable home schedule (what's left of it anyway), Wyoming could be primed to pose a legitimate threat to Boise State. I went back and forth between the Cowboys and Air Force, an 11-win team last season, for the No. 2 spot, but the news that Air Force quarterback Donald Hammond III isn't likely to play this season after recently losing good standing as a cadet ultimately made the decision for me.
If there's a sleeper for me in the division, it's Colorado State, which needs to find a running game and a defense to complement what should again be one of the MW's most potent passing attacks.
1. San Diego State
4. Fresno State
6. San Jose State
San Diego State is sort of, kind of starting over under Brady Hoke, who's back for his second stint as the Aztecs' head coach. SDSU will also break in a new quarterback with Ryan Agnew no longer around, but there's gobs of talent still around from the MW's top-ranked defense last season, which helped the Aztecs to a share of the division title despite owning the league's lowest-scoring offense. Defensive backs Tariq Thompson and Darren Hall look like future NFL players, and there's some experienced talent along the defensive line.
Nevada (Carson Strong) and Hawaii (Chevan Cordeiro) have promising young quarterbacks returning from bowl teams. Fresno State (Kalen DeBoer) and UNLV (Marcus Arroyo) are starting over under new coaches while San Jose State, a program already low on talent, has a major void to fill with the graduation of quarterback Josh Love, the league's Offensive Player of the Year a season ago.
Follow UW athletics beat writer Davis Potter on Twitter at @DavisEPotter
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