Despite losing significant talent from last year’s Mountain West Championship team, Fresno State football is expected to compete once again for the conference title.
Wednesday, the Mountain West announced at its annual media days in Las Vegas that Fresno State is predicted to finish third in the preseason media poll.
Driving the news: Last year, Fresno State won the Mountain West with a 10-4 record, finishing the season on a nine-game win streak during quarterback Jake Haener’s final season with the Bulldogs.
- Haener, running back Jordan Mims and wide receiver Jalen Moreno-Cropper are off to the NFL, and safety Evan Williams left for Oregon, leaving sizable holes to be filled on Fresno State’s roster.
- But Fresno State is expected to quickly retool and finish as one of the top teams in the conference as the Bulldogs received five – out of 37 – first-place votes.
- The Bulldogs received 351 total points in the media poll, placing behind Boise State at 433 and Air Force at 364. The Broncos are the overwhelming favorite to win the conference, receiving 28 first-place votes, although Air Force only received two-first place votes but was still predicted on average to finish higher than the Bulldogs.
- This year the Mountain West is doing away with its division structure, instead opting to have the top two teams by conference record play in the Mountain West title game in December.
Early honors: Additionally, the Mountain West also announced its Preseason All-Conference Team, which includes two Bulldogs who are entering their senior years in the program.
- On offense, right guard Mose Vavao was one of five linemen to be selected to the team. Vavao started all 14 games for the Bulldogs last year and was part of a unit that helped Mims rush for over 1,300 yards.
- Fresno State also earned a selection on the defensive side of the ball as defensive lineman Devo Bridges was honored on the team. Bridges also started all 14 games, although he moved around the defensive line en route to picking up 6.5 tackles for loss.
- The Preseason Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year is San Jose State quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, while the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year is Wyoming Linebacker Easton Gibbs. San Diego State punter Jack Browning was picked as the Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year.