July 22, 2013
Boise State was predicted to win the 2013 Mountain West Football Mountain Division title, while Fresno State was chosen to finish atop the West Division, the league announced today at its annual Media Days, being held at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
This season marks the first time in Conference history for divisional play. Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming make up the Mountain Division, with Fresno State, Hawai`i, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State and UNLV comprising the West Division. The two divisional winners will meet in the inaugural MW Championship Game, which will be held Dec. 7, 2013 at the home stadium of the divisional champion with the highest BCS ranking.
The Broncos compiled a 7-1 league record in 2012 to share their first MW title with the Bulldogs and Aztecs. They received 40 first-place votes, and earned a total of 245 points in a poll of media members. Boise State posted an 11-2 overall mark in 2012 and finished the year ranked No. 14 and No. 18 in the USA Today/Coaches and Associated Press final polls, respectively. Boise State returns four starters from a defensive unit that led the Mountain West in scoring defense and ranked eighth nationally at 15.77 points per game last season. The Bronco defense also boasted a 1.54 turnover margin in 2012, second-best in the nation. Offensively, five starters return, including senior quarterback Joe Southwick and 2012 All-MW second-team wide receiver Matt Miller, a junior.
Fresno State, which finished its first season of Mountain West play as tri-champions with a 7-1 mark (9-4 overall) in 2012, garnered 39 first-place votes and a total of 243 points in the poll. Senior quarterback Derek Carr, the 2012 MW Offensive Player of the Year, heads up a group of seven starters returning to lead the Bulldog offense. Last season, Fresno State ranked 17th in the country in scoring offense (37.92 ppg) and 12th in passing offense (325.62). Eight players return to a defensive squad that ranked second in the country in passing defense (167.15 ypg), 22nd in total defense (338.85 ypg), 37th in scoring defense (23.85 ppg) and tied for seventh in turnover margin (1.15 tpg).
Utah State, which enters its first season in the Mountain West, totaled one first-place vote and 204 points for second place in the Mountain Division poll. The Aggies finished their final season in the Western Athletic Conference with a perfect 6-0 mark (11-2 overall), and were listed No. 16 and 17 in the Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches final rankings, respectively. Eight starters return on the offensive side of the ball for Utah State, while the defensive unit brings back seven starters. Air Force (143 points), Wyoming (116 points), Colorado State (90 points) and New Mexico (63 points) rounded out the Mountain Division poll.
San Diego State earned one first-place vote and 181 points for second place in the West Division poll. The Aztecs return seven offensive and nine defensive starters from a 2012 squad that posted a 7-1 league record (9-4 overall) en route to claiming its first MW crown as tri-champions. San Jose State also embarks on its first season of MW play in 2013, and is predicted to finish third in the West Division with one first-place vote and 172 points. The Spartans are coming off a 2012 campaign that saw them finish second in the WAC (5-1) and 11-2 overall. They were ranked No. 21 in both the Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches polls at the end of last season. Nevada (135 points), UNLV (71 points) and Hawai`i (59 points) complete the West Division poll.