LAS VEGAS — Death, taxes and the Boise State football team being picked to win its division or conference.
Some things you can just count on.
The Broncos were announced Wednesday morning as the preseason choice by the media to win the Mountain Division — the 14th consecutive year Boise State has been picked to win either its division or conference.
“It’s the tradition,” Boise State coach Andy Avalos said. “It comes with great honor, but know we have to really put the work in as we have all summer and focus in and tighten up on what we need to.”
The announcement was made at the start of Mountain West Media Days in Las Vegas.
The Broncos received 23 of 25 first-place votes from the media to finish with 148 points. Wyoming got the other two first-place votes and came in second with 115 points, with Air Force (104), Colorado State (72), Utah State (47) and New Mexico (39) following behind.
Avalos said the preseason poll was mostly “fun for the media and the fans and all of that,” and said the Broncos “have to focus in on what it’s going to take to accomplish our goal.”
Nevada was the preseason pick to win the West Division, receiving 19 of 25 first place votes and finishing with 141 points. San Jose State had five first-place votes and finished second with 121 points. San Diego State (96) came in third, followed by Fresno State (one first place vote, 85), Hawaii (56) and UNLV (26).
Boise State has proven the media right as of late, winning the Mountain Division in each of the past four years. The four consecutive appearances in the conference championship game is tied for the third-longest streak nationally with Ohio State. Only Clemson (six) and Oklahoma (five) have appeared in more consecutive conference title games than the Broncos.
Boise State will open fall camp on August 4.
PLAYOFF EXPANSION GOOD FOR THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson was one of four members of the committee that researched and recommended expanding the College Football Playoff to 12 teams. He called the experience “one of the highlights” of his career, and said adding teams to the playoff would be good for a league like the Mountain West.
“I’ve been a pro playoff guy since I took this job 23 years ago,” Thompson told The Idaho Press Wednesday. “I like the proposal. I think it means a lot to the Mountain West Conference. As we talked with the coaches about this morning, you now have an opportunity to play for a national championship if you are one of the top six rated conference champions.
“There’s more importance now on conference championships, and if you have one or two losses there’s a real chance you’ll be one of the top six rated conference championships. Whether you’re ranked 11 or 12 and probably have to play a road game, you’ll have a chance to play for a national championship which really is not there today.”
Thompson said the CFP board will look at the recommendations in late September and could vote to approve it at that point. His guess is that the expanded playoff wouldn’t start until after the current TV deal ends following the 2024 season, but said it could come sooner if things fall into place.
“I’m thinking probably the implementation will be after this current contract expires with ESPN, so four more years,” Thompson said. “The push will be why do you have to wait four years, let’s make it happen sooner, and it will depend on a few factors including ESPN and the bowls that are currently involved or might be involved. There’s a lot of moving pieces.
“Could it be done in less than four years? Yes. Will it be done? I think that’s still to be determined.”
AZTECS’ HOKE SAYS EARLY 9 A.M. KICKOFF FOR BOISE STATE GAME ‘AWESOME’
San Diego State coach Brady Hoke said Wednesday he had no problem with the Mountain West scheduling a home game against Boise State for 9 a.m. local time on Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving.
In fact, he really likes it.
“It’s awesome,” Hoke said. “I’m telling you, to me, the Pac-12 and our league, the Mountain West Conference, we need to take advantage of that space. We really do.
“I’m fired up about it and I’m sure Andy is too. It’s going to be awesome. Both teams, players are up early anyway, so I think it’s awesome. We’re on CBS.”
The game was moved to Black Friday and set for 9 a.m. PDT to be televised nationally by CBS. It will lead in to a SEC game on CBS and likely draw some of the Mountain West’s biggest TV ratings of the season.
San Diego State is playing its home games this fall in Carson, California, while a new stadium is being built in San Diego.
BRONCOS HEALTHY TO START CAMP
Avalos said he expects to have a full, healthy roster when fall camp opens on August 4. Some players might be eased into team drills as they come off injuries, but Avalos expects everyone to be cleared for individual drills on day one.
“We’ve made huge strides (on the injury front),” Avalos said. “It’s been awesome to see how our strength and conditioning staff and our trainers have worked together because that was a long list (of injuries) back in January. That list was long.”
Markel Reed and Demitri Washington, two potential starters on defense, are included in that group. Both had injuries that kept them out of spring ball, but Avalos said both should be good to go.
“But we’ll have to do a great job monitoring those guys that are coming off things that had to get cleaned up last year,” Avalos said.
BLUE TURF SPORTS COVERAGE CONTINUES
Boise State wide receiver Khalil Shakir and defensive back Kekaula Kaniho will meet with the media Thursday in Las Vegas. Both will participate in a live interview with the Idaho Press at 4:15 p.m. MT on the Blue Turf Sports Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages. BlueTurfSports.com will have the latest news and notes throughout the day, and the Idaho Press will have multiple coverage in Friday’s print edition.