Boise State favored again to win WAC

Updated: July 28, 2004, 3:14 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

WAC media poll
(first-place votes in parentheses)
Team Points
Boise State (23) 434
Fresno State (20) 427
Hawaii (3) 384
Tulsa (1) 312
Nevada 256
Rice 212
La. Tech 199
UTEP 179
SMU 95
San Jose State 87

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 total points.

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.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press