RENO, Nev. -- Boise State, which hasn't lost a conference
football game since 2001, is the favorite again to win its third
straight Western Athletic Conference title, with Fresno State close
behind, a media poll released Wednesday said.
Hawaii is next, followed by Tulsa and Nevada. Hawaii quarterback
Timmy Chang and Boise State linebacker Andy Avalos are the
preseason picks for players of the year.
Boise State, 13-1 last year, has won 18 straight WAC games. The
Broncos received 23 first-place votes from media members around the
WAC for 434 total points.
Fresno State, with 20 first-place votes, had 427 total points.
Hawaii, with three first-place votes, was picked third with 384
points. The only other first-place vote went to Tulsa, with 312
Nevada, where Chris Ault has left his job as athletic director
to return to the field for his third stint as coach of the Wolf
Pack, was selected to finish fourth with 312 total points, followed
by Rice (212), Louisiana Tech (199), UTEP (179), SMU (95) and San
Jose State (87).
Chang, a senior from Oahu tabbed as preseason offensive player
of the year, passed for 4,199 yards last season and ranked sixth in
the nation in total offense averaging 318.4 yards per game.
He already is the school's all-time leader in total offense and
passing yards and is second on the WAC all-time passing list. He
needs 2,218 yards to surpass NCAA-record holder Ty Detmer.
Avalos, a senior from Corona, Calif., picked as preseason
defensive player, led the Broncos in tackles last year for the
second season in a row. He was a first-team all-WAC selection and
finished with 112 tackles, including eight for a loss.