Mountain West Media Days got off to an inauspicious but not unexpected start for Fresno State on Tuesday, with the Bulldogs picked to finish fourth in the West Division while failing to land any players on the preseason all-conference team.
Coming off a 3-9 season beset by poor quarterback play, Fresno State received no first-place votes and 76 points in the poll of media that cover the league. It was Fresno State’s lowest total since joining the conference.
San Diego State, the defending division champion, was picked to repeat in the West with all 29 firsts and 174 points, followed by Nevada, San Jose State, the Bulldogs, UNLV and Hawaii.
17 Bulldogs named to preseason all-conference team in Fresno State’s first four seasons in the Mountain West; in 2016, they have none
Boise State came out on top of the poll in the Mountain Division with 27 first-place votes and 172 points followed by Air Force, Utah State, Colorado State, New Mexico and Wyoming.
San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey was selected as Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, cornerback Damontae Kazee as the Defensive Player of the Year and Rashaad Penny as Special Teams Player of the Year, the first time since Texas Christian in 2010 that one school had swept the three individual awards.
TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, linebacker Tank Carder and return specialist Jeremy Kerley were the offensive, defensive and special teams preseason players of the year that season.
Fresno State did not have a player on the preseason all-conference team for the first time since joining the conference for the 2012 season. It had six on the ballot – linebacker Jeff Camilli, cornerback Tyquwan Glass, wideout Jamire Jordan, wideout Aaron Peck, tight end Chad Olsen and wideout Da’Mari Scott.
In 2015 the Bulldogs were picked to finish second in the West, receiving three first-place votes and 141 points, and running back Marteze Waller and offensive tackle Alex Fifita were selected to the preseason all-conference team.
In 2014 they were picked to win the West with 15 firsts and 174 points and guard Cody Wichmann, nose guard Tyeler Davison, outside linebacker Ejiro Ederaine, free safety Derron Smith and punter Garrett Swanson were all-conference picks
In 2013, the first year of divisional play in the conference, Fresno State was picked to win the West with 39 firsts and 243 points and quarterback Derek Carr, wideout Davante Adams, offensive tackle Austin Wentworth, tight end Marcel Jensen, cornerback L.J. Jones, Davison and Smith were on the all-conference team.
And in 2012, it was picked to finish third with two firsts and 231 points and running back Robbie Rouse, linebacker Travis Brown and Carr were on the all-conference team.
In its first four seasons in the Mountain West, Fresno State had 17 players selected to preseason all-conference teams, second to Boise State’s 18.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
Mountain West preseason poll
Predicted order of finish for the 2016 football season, with rank, team, (first-place votes in parentheses) and total points as announced Tuesday at the conference’s annual Media Days at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
- 1. Boise State (27) 172
- 2. Air Force (2) 126
- 3. Utah State 111
- 4. Colorado State 95
- 5. New Mexico 74
- 6. Wyoming 31
- 1. San Diego State (29) 174
- 2. Nevada 129
- 3. San Jose State 122
- 4. Fresno State 76
- 5. UNLV 73
- 6. Hawaii 35
Preseason All-Mountain West Team
- QB Brett Rypien,* So., Boise State
- WR Thomas Sperbeck,* Sr., Boise State
- WR Devonte Boyd,** Jr., UNLV
- RB Donnel Pumphrey,* Sr., San Diego State
- RB Brian Hill,** Jr., Wyoming
- OL Fred Zerblis**, Sr., Colorado State
- OL Nico Siragusa*, Sr., San Diego State
- OL Jake Simonich, Sr., Utah State
- OL Austin Stephens, Sr., Utah State
- OL Chase Roullier,** Sr., Wyoming
- TE Billy Freeman,* Sr., San Jose State
- DL Nik D’Avanzo, Sr., New Mexico
- DL Alex Barrett,* Sr., San Diego State
- DL Travis Seefeldt, Gr., Utah State
- DL Ricky Ali’ifua, Sr., Utah State
- LB Christian Tago,** Sr., San Jose State
- LB Calvin Munson,* Sr., San Diego State
- LB Dakota Cox, Sr., New Mexico
- DB Weston Steelhammer,* Sr., Air Force
- DB Damontae Kazee,* Sr., San Diego State
- DB Dameon Baber,** So., Nevada
- DB Andrew Wingard,** So., Wyoming
- P Hayden Hunt,** Sr., Colorado State
- Michael Carrizosa,* Jr., San Jose State
- PK Tyler Rausa,* Sr., Boise State
- Ret. Rashaad Penny,* Jr., San Diego State
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Donnel Pumphrey, Sr., RB, San Diego State
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Damontae Kazee, Sr., DB, San Diego State
Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year
Rashaad Penny, Jr., KR, San Diego State
* 2015 All-Mountain West first team
** 2015 All-Mountain West second team
2016 Fresno State football schedule
Home games in CAPS
Sept. 3: at Nebraska, 5 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Sept. 10: SACRAMENTO STATE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 17: at Toledo, noon (ESPN3)
Sept. 24: TULSA, 1:30 p.m. (MWN)
Oct. 1: at Nevada-Las Vegas, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 8: at Nevada, TBA (ESPN network TBD)
Oct. 14: SAN DIEGO STATE, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 22: at Utah State, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Oct. 28: AIR FORCE, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Nov. 5: at Colorado State, 12:30 p.m. (ROOT SPORTS/MWN)
Nov. 12: BYE
Nov. 19: HAWAII, 4 p.m.
Nov. 26: SAN JOSE STATE, 12:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
Dec. 3: Mountain West Championship, TBA