By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
LAS VEGAS — Favorites, again — despite all those lost stars.
The Boise State Broncos were the overwhelming top choice in the Mountain West’s preseason media poll, released Tuesday morning in conjunction with the football media days at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
This is the fifth straight year that Boise State has been its conference favorite.
Boise State received 27 of 30 first-place votes. Fresno State got two votes and San Diego State took one.
Nevada is No. 2 overall, followed by Fresno State, Wyoming, San Diego State, Air Force, Hawaii, Colorado State, UNLV and New Mexico.
The Broncos were the favorites last year, but finished second in the Mountain West behind TCU.
Boise State senior wide receiver and punt returner Mitch Burroughs was named the preseason Special Teams Player of the Year and the first-team kick returner. Burroughs finished eighth in the nation in punt returns last year with an average of 13.3 yards per attempt.
Other Broncos on the preseason all-conference team were sophomore wide receiver Matt Miller, senior left guard Joe Kellogg, senior defensive tackle Mike Atkinson and senior cornerback Jamar Taylor. Here is the story I wrote on Kellogg for today’s paper.
Boise State had the most preseason all-conference team members with five.
Mountain West preseason media poll (first-place votes in parentheses):
1. Boise State (27), 296
2. Nevada, 244
3. Fresno State (2), 231
4. Wyoming, 213
5. San Diego State (1), 173
6. Air Force, 170
7. Hawaii, 116
8. Colorado State, 111
9. UNLV, 63
10. New Mexico, 33
Mountain West preseason all-conference team:
QB Derek Carr, junior, Fresno State
WR Matt Miller, sophomore, Boise State
WR Colin Lockett, junior, San Diego State
RB Robbie Rouse, senior, Fresno State
RB Chris Nwoke, junior, Colorado State **
OL Chris Barker, senior, Nevada
OL Joe Kellogg, senior, Boise State
OL Weston Richburg, junior, Colorado State **
OL Nick Carlson, senior, Wyoming **
OL Jeff Nady, senior, Nevada
TE Gavin Escobar, junior, San Diego State *
DL Mike Purcell, senior, Wyoming
DL Mike Atkinson, senior, Boise State
DL Paipai Falemalu, senior, Hawaii
DL Jack Reynoso, junior, Nevada
LB Travis Brown, senior, Fresno State
LB Saquil Barrett, junior, Colorado State
LB Alex Means, senior, Air Force
DB Leon McFadden, senior, San Diego State *
DB Duke Williams, senior, Nevada
DB Luke Ruff, senior, Wyoming **
DB Jamar Taylor, senior, Boise State
P Pete Kontodiakos, senior, Colorado State **
PK Parker Herrington, senior, Air Force #*
Ret. Mitch Burroughs, senior, Boise State
Offensive player of the year: Carr
Defensive player of the year: McFadden
Special teams player of the year: Burroughs
# - unanimous 2012 selection
* - member of the 2011 All-Mountain West first team
** - member of the 2011 All-Mountain West second team
— Boise State has a balanced home-road schedule. The Broncos play at No. 2 Nevada, No. 4 Wyoming, No. 7 Hawaii and No. 10 New Mexico. They play No. 3 Fresno State, No. 5 San Diego State, No. 8 Colorado State and No. 9 UNLV at Bronco Stadium. They don’t play No. 6 Air Force.
— Nevada gets No. 1 Boise State, No. 3 Fresno State, No. 4 Wyoming and No. 5 San Diego State at home. The Wolf Pack play at No. 6 Air Force, No. 7 Hawaii, No. 9 UNLV and No. 10 New Mexico.
I wouldn’t take this too seriously, but here is the Boise State depth chart provided for the Mountain West media guide:
QB: Joe Southwick OR Grant Hedrick OR Jimmy Laughrea OR Nick Patti
RB: D.J. Harper, Drew Wright
FB: Dan Paul, Chandler Koch
X receiver: Matt Miller, Geraldo Boldewijn
Z receiver: Mitch Burroughs, Aaron Burks
H receiver: Kirby Moore, Chris Potter
TE: Gabe Linehan OR Chandler Koch
LT: Faraji Wright, Rees Odhiambo
LG: Joe Kellogg, Spencer Gerke
C: Cory Yriarte, Matt Paradis
RG: Jake Broyles, Brenel Myers
RT: Charles Leno Jr., Michael Ames
DE: Tyler Horn OR Demarcus Lawrence
DT: Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe OR Darren Koontz
DT: Mike Atkinson, Greg Grimes
DE: Beau Martin OR Sam Ukwuachu
LB: Tommy Smith, Blake Renaud
LB: J.C. Percy, Dustin Kamper
N: Dextrell Simmons, Corey Bell
CB: Jamar Taylor, Josh Borgman
CB: Jerrell Gavins, Ebo Makinde
S: Jeremy Ioane, Hazen Moss
S: Lee Hightower, Eric Agbaroji
K: Michael Frisina OR Dan Goodale
P: Trevor Harman, Dan Goodale
KR: Mitch Burroughs, Dallas Burroughs
PR: Mitch Burroughs OR Chris Potter
Holder: Trevor Harman, Matt Miller
Snapper: Chris Roberson
Worth noting: Burks would have a spot in the receiver rotation if this holds. Koontz moved to end in the spring but is back at tackle here. Harman could be an unsung hero this year — kickoffs, punts and holding on scoring kicks.