2013 Mountain West football preseason picks: Boise State, Fresno State dominate poll, all-conference teams

Otto Kitsinger III

The Mountain West features a conference championship game for the first time this year. Almost everybody thinks it will pit Derek Carr and Fresno State against a Boise State squad that went 11-2 last year.

There's not a whole lot of debate as to who will be the elites in the Mountain West: In the preseason poll released at the conference's media day in Las Vegas, Boise State and Fresno State were picked to win their divisions on 40 and 39 of 41 ballots, respectively.

Utah State kept Chris Petersen's squad from being the unanimous winner in the Mountain Division, while San Jose State and San Diego State got one vote apiece in the West Division, but it doesn't seem as if there will be much drama about who will qualify for the league's first championship game. Last year, the Broncos and Bulldogs were joined by San Diego State in a three-way tie atop the conference as champions, but there won't be any more split titles now that the league has 12 members. The two teams won't have to wait until December to play: they'll meet on Sept. 20 at Fresno State in a primetime Friday night game on ESPN, although a rematch seems probable.

Here's the predicted order of finish in each division, with total votes and first-place votes in parentheses:

Mountain Division:

1. Boise State (40), 245
2. Utah State (1), 204
3. Air Force, 143
4. Wyoming, 116
5. Colorado State, 90
6. New Mexico, 63

West Division

1. Fresno State (39), 243
2. San Diego State (1), 181
3. San Jose State (1), 172
4. Nevada, 135
5. UNLV, 71
6. Hawaii, 59

Fresno State also had both conference preseason players of the year: Derek Carr, the star quarterback and, yes, brother of one-time Bulldog and former No. 1 NFL draft pick David Carr, and free safety Derron Smith, who spent last year in the shadow of unanimous first-team all-American Phillip Thomas. If the preseason all-conference team is any indicator, the Bulldogs should be favored in the matchup against the Broncos, as they have seven players on the all-Mountain West teams, while Boise State only has three.

Here are the all-conference teams:

OFFENSE
QB Derek Carr, Sr., Fresno State
WR Davante Adams, So., Fresno State
WR Noel Grigsby, Sr., San Jose State
RB Kasey Carrier, Sr., New Mexico
RB Adam Muema, Jr., San Diego State
OL Charles Leno, Sr., Boise State
OL Matt Paradis, Sr., Boise State
OL Weston Richburg, Sr., Colorado State
OL Austin Wentworth, Sr., Fresno State
OL Tyler Larsen, Sr., Utah State
TE Marcel Jensen, Sr., Fresno State

DEFENSE
DL Demarcus Lawrence, Jr., Boise State
DL Tyeler Davison, Jr., Fresno State
DL Brock Hekking, Jr., Nevada
DL Travis Raciti, Jr., San Jose State
LB Jake Fely , Jr., San Diego State
LB Keith Smith, Sr., San Jose State
LB Kyler Fackrell, So., Utah State
DB L.J. Jones, Sr., Fresno State
DB Derron Smith, Jr., Fresno State
DB Nat Berhe, Sr., San Diego State
DB Bené Benwikere, Sr., San Jose State

SPECIALISTS
P Ben Skaer, Sr., New Mexico
PK Austin Lopez, So., San Jose State
Ret. Chase Clayton, Jr., New Mexico

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