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How the Star-Tribune voted for the Mountain West preseason honors
MW FOOTBALL

How the Star-Tribune voted for the Mountain West preseason honors

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QB questions face No. 14 Boise State at BYU

Boise State's George Holani breaks away from the Hawaii defense for a 40-yard touchdown run in the Broncos' 59-37 win Oct. 12, 2019 in Boise, Idaho. Boise State, which went on to win the Mountain West championship, is once again the favorite in the Mountain Division having won three straight division titles.

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.

TheĀ 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:

ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM

Offense

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

Defense

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

Specialists

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

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PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

Mountain Division

1. Boise State

2. Wyoming

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.

West Division

1. San Diego State

2. Nevada

3. Hawaii

4. Fresno State

5. UNLV

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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