Boise State, Fresno State Picked to Win 2014 MW Football Divisional Titles
LAS VEGAS - Boise State was predicted to win the 2014 Mountain Division title, while 2013 MW Champion Fresno State was chosen to finish atop the West Division, announced today by the Mountain West at its annual Media Days, being held at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
This marks the second season of divisional play for the Conference, which moved to the two, six-team divisional format in 2013 following the additions of San José State and Utah State. The Mountain Division is comprised of Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming, while Fresno State, Hawai‘i, Nevada, San Diego State, San José State and UNLV making up the West Division. The two divisional winners will meet in the MW Championship Game on Dec. 6, 2014 at the home stadium of the divisional champion with the highest College Football Playoff Committee ranking.
The Broncos posted a 6-2 league record in 2013, finishing one game behind Mountain division winner, Utah State. Boise State received 20 first-place votes, and earned a total of 183 points in a poll of media members. They posted an 8-5 overall mark in 2013 and finished the year with a 38-23 loss to Oregon State in the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl. Under the direction of first-year head coach and former Boise State player and assistant coach, Bryan Harsin, the Broncos return 15 starters from 2013, including eight on the defensive side of the ball. Quarterback Grant Hedrick, running back Jay Ajayi and wide receiver Matt Miller highlight the returning offensive players. Boise State possesses the nation's highest win percentage over the last 15 years at .851.
Fresno State earned 15 first-place votes and 174 points to claim the top spot in the West Division poll. The Bulldogs were in contention for a BCS Bowl bid for most of the 2013 season, reaching as high as No. 14 in the BCS standings. They ultimately finished the year with an 11-2 record, including a 7-1 mark in MW play that clinched the West Division title. Fresno State defeated Utah State 21-14 in the inaugural MW Championship Game. This was the first outright MW football championship for the Bulldogs, who shared the 2012 regular-season title with Boise State and San Diego State. Fresno State returns 16 starters, including eight on defense. Wide receiver Josh Harper, running back Josh Quezada and offensive lineman Cody Wichmann highlight the offensive returners, while safety Derron Smith, defensive lineman Tyeler Davison and linebackers Ejiro Ederaine and Karl Mickelsen anchor the defense.
Utah State, which won the Mountain Division in 2013 and fell to Fresno State in the inaugural MW Championship Game, received 12 first-place votes and 171 total votes for second place in the Mountain Division. The Aggies ended 2013 with a 9-5 overall record, thanks to a 21-14 win over Northern Illinois in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. Another 2013 postseason victor, Colorado State, earned the other first-place vote and finished with 135 total points to claim third. Wyoming (90 points), New Mexico (56 points) and Air Force (53 points) round out the Mountain Division poll.
San Diego State posted an 8-5 record in 2013, including 6-2 in Conference play to finish second in the West Division. The Aztecs closed out the season with a 49-24 victory over Buffalo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. San Diego State garnered 15 first-place votes and a total of 172 points to earn second place in the poll. Nevada finished third in the voting thanks to three first-place nods and 130 total points. UNLV (95 points), San José State (87 points) and Hawai‘i (35 points) complete the West Division poll.