Boise State was selected as the preseason favorite to claim the 2023 Mountain West football regular-season title as the conference moves to a no-division format after a 10-year run with two divisions. The Broncos were predicted to win their division in nine of those seasons.
A preseason all-conference team was also announced during the annual media days which were held at the Circa Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, July 19-20.
Of the 36 members polled, 28 placed Boise State at the top their ballot, followed by defending conference champion Fresno State with 5. The remaining 3 first-place votes were split between Air Force and San Diego State with the Falcons garnering 2 and the Aztecs 1.
Fresno State was a 28-16 winner on Boise State's home blue field in last year's conference championship game.
In the over-all points tally, the Bulldogs actually fall into 3rd-place, behind Air Force.
The Falcons have been on a historic run under head coach Troy Calhoun with three straight seasons of at least 10 wins, forgiving the Covid-shortened 6-game campaign of 2020.
Air Force has also won four straight bowl games in the process, including a 30-15 romp over Baylor last season. But the Falcons has not been able to win the championship of a conference that formed in 1999, the year after the Falcons won the final WAC title game over BYU.
Boise State, Fresno State and San Diego State have dominated the league, capturing 9 of the last 11 titles. Those three schools, plus Air Force are the top four Mountain West betting favorites to claim the conference title this season. That game will be contested by the top two teams in the entire conference, and will continue to be hosted by the school with the best record in league play.
San Diego State, which spent the summer trying to defect to the PAC-12 or Big 12, was voted to finish fourth. The Aztecs won consecutive titles in 2015 and 2016, and lost to Utah State in the 2021 championship tilt.
San Jose State finished 5th in the polling. The Spartans won the 2020 Covid short season title by knocking off Boise State in Las Vegas.
Wyoming was picked to finish sixth with 281 points, and Colorado State was selected seventh, earning 201 points.
Rounding out the preseason predicted order of finish was Utah State in eighth with 194 points, UNLV in ninth with 177 points and the remaining first-place vote, Hawai’i in 10th with 102 points, Nevada in 11th with 92 points, and New Mexico in 12th with 60 points.
The new no-divisions format allows for a schedule rotation that features a 2-6 structure where each team will play two guaranteed opponents annually and face six other Conference teams. During the three-year cycle, all teams will face nine of 11 opponents at least twice - once at home and once on the road - and two opponents in each of the three years. The top two teams with the highest Conference winning percentage will compete in the MW Football Championship Game on the first Saturday of December.
2023 Mountain West Predicted Order of Finish:
|Rank||Team (1st-place votes)||Points|
|1.||Boise State (28)||433|
|2.||Air Force (2)||364|
|3.||Fresno State (5)||351|
|4.||San Diego State (1)||338|
|5.||San José State||293|
The 2023 Preseason All-Mountain West Football Team was announced today at the league’s annual media days, being held at Circa Las Vegas. As selected by a media panel, the team features 12 student-athletes who were first or second-team All-MW selections in 2022. The 27-member squad is comprised of 15 seniors, nine juniors, and two sophomores.
San José State senior quarterback Chevan Cordeiro is the Preseason Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, while Wyoming junior linebacker Easton Gibbs has been named Preseason MW Defensive Player of the Year, and San Diego State senior punter Jack Browning garnered Preseason MW Special Teams Player of the Year honors.
Cordeiro, the first Spartan to claim MW Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors, was a 2022 All-Mountain West Second-Team selection. He is coming off a career year in which he threw for 3,251 yards and a career-high 23 touchdowns, which topped the MW. He also ran for a career-best nine touchdowns, the most by a Spartan quarterback in the modern era. The Honolulu native averaged 270.9 passing yards per game last season. Cordeiro threw 170 passing attempts before his first interception at SJSU.
Gibbs, the second Cowboy to earn MW Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honors, started 12 of Wyoming’s 13 games last season. He recorded 121 tackles, including nine tackles for loss and three sacks, for his first 100-tackle season. The native of Temecula, California, finished the 2022 season ranked No. 3 in the Conference and 22nd nationally in tackles last season, at 9.3 tackles per game. Gibbs, a 2022 All-Mountain West First Team honoree, posted double figures in tackles in six games last season.
Browning is the fourth Aztec to be named MW Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year, joining Jordyn Byrd (2022), Rashaad Penny (2016, ’17), and Donny Hageman (2015). The native of Lakeside, California, was the 2022 MW Special Teams Player of the Year after making 20 of 25 field goal attempts (80 percent) with a season-best kick of 52 yards. He also made all 30 PATs last season. Browning recorded 68 punts for 3,135 yards, averaging 46.1 yards per punt in 2022. The senior had 28 of his punts last season land inside the 20-yard line, including 14 in the 10-yard line.
2023 Mountain West All-Conference Team:
QB, Chevan Cordeiro **, Sr., San José State
WR, Tory Horton*, Sr., Colorado State
WR, Justin Lockhart, Jr., San José State
RB, John Lee Eldridge III, Sr., Air Force
RB, George Holani**, Sr., Boise State
OL, Thor Paglialong, Sr., Air Force
OL, Cade Beresford**, Sr., Boise State
OL, Mose Vavao, Sr., Fresno State
OL, Cade Bennett**, Jr., San Diego State
OL, Frank Crum, Sr., Wyoming
TE, Mark Redman, Sr., San Diego State
DL, Payton Zdroik, Jr., Air Force
DL, Mohamed Kamara**, Sr., Colorado State
DL, Devo Bridges, Sr., Fresno State
DL, Jordan Bertagnole, Jr., Wyoming
DL, DeVonne Harris, Jr., Wyoming
LB, DJ Schramm**, Sr., Boise State
LB, Cody Moon, Jr., San Diego State
LB, Easton Gibbs*, Jr., Wyoming
DB, Trey Taylor**, Sr., Air Force
DB, Jack Howell*, Jr., Colorado State
DB, Cam Stone, Sr., Hawai’i
DB, Ike Larsen**, So., Utah State
P, Jack Browning*, Sr., San Diego State
PK, John Hoyland*, Jr., Wyoming
PR, Tory Horton, Sr., Colorado State
KR, Christian Washington, So., New Mexico
Offensive Player of the Year: Chevan Cordeiro, Sr., QB, San José State
Defensive Player of the Year: Easton Gibbs, Jr., LB, Wyoming
Special Teams Player of the Year: Jack Browning, Sr., PK/P, San Diego State
* - member of the 2022 All-Mountain West first team
** - member of the 2022 All-Mountain West second team