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Mountain West media pick Boise State to win 2012 league title

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

If the voters at the Mountain West Conference media days in Las Vegas are correct, Boise State will be wishing the league the fondest possible farewell.

The Broncos were named the overwhelming favorite to win the conference in their final season in the league, picking up 27 of a possible 30 first-place votes after 2011 champion TCU fled for the Big 12. Boise will, of course, head to the Big East after the 2012 season itself.

Despite their well-earned reputation for dominating their non-BCS leagues, an outright conference championship would be the first for the Broncos since 2009. In 2010 Boise shared the WAC crown with Nevada and Hawaii, and missed out on the MWC title altogether last year when the Horned Frogs snapped their 35-game home winning streak.

It's first-year MWC member Nevada that the media picked to represent the greatest threat to the Broncos this season, finishing with 244 points in the voting process to Boise's 296. The Wolf Pack finished second in the WAC last season and will host Boise in Reno in both teams' final game of the regular season. Reno -- as every Boise fan remembers all too clearly -- was the site of kicker Kyle Brotzman's infamous 2010 meltdown that cost the Broncos a perfect regular season and BCS berth.

The Wolf Pack will also have the advantage of experience, returning 12 starters to Boise's 8; Nevada also returns quarterback Cody Fajardo while Boise said good-bye to Kellen Moore. Among Boise's returners are preseason All-Mountain West selections Jamar Taylor (at corner), Joe Kellogg (at guard), and Mike Atkinson (at defensive tackle).

The Mountain West's other two new additions, Fresno State and Hawaii, were picked to finish third and seventh, respectively. Wyoming placed fourth, San Diego State fifth, Air Force sixth, Colorado State eighth, UNLV ninth, and -- you guessed it -- New Mexico tenth.

Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr was tabbed the MWC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, with San Diego State corner Leon McFadden earning defensive honors.

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