The annual Mountain West media days kicked off in Las Vegas this week and with it comes preseason predictions. Colorado State was picked to finish second in the Mountain Division behind perennial conference powerhouse Boise State by various media members from around the league.
Along with the Rams being one of the trendy picks to win the Mountain West in 2017, starting center Jake Bennett and wide receiver Michael Gallup were each named to the preseason All-Mountain West team as well.
Bennett was named second-team All-Mountain West by the league’s media and coaches in 2016 and was also named to Phil Steele’s All-MW second team after starting all 13 games at center. The Lakewood, Colo. native has also been placed on watch lists for both the Rimington Trophy and Outland Trophy.
Gallup is coming off of a breakout 2016 season in which earned first-team All-Mountain West honors after recording 76 catches for 1,272 yards and 14 touchdowns. Gallup was also recently named to the 2017 Biletnikoff Award watch list and was named one of the top 10 wide receivers in college football by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com.
“You want to be at a place where expectations are high, but the poll I’m most interested in is the one at the end of the season, the final standings,” Head Coach Mike Bobo said. “Our expectations as a program will always be higher than those placed on us by others, and it’s our responsibility collectively as a program, and individually, to earn the right every day to represent Colorado State University.”
CSU was picked to finish second in the Mountain Division behind Boise State. The Rams received six first-place votes. Boise State totaled 161 points in the poll, followed by CSU (135), Wyoming (114, one first-place vote), Air Force (82), New Mexico (68) and Utah State (28).
On the other side of the conference, two-time defending league champion San Diego State was unanimously predicted to take the West Division with 168 points, followed by Hawai’i (135), UNLV (105), Nevada (79), San Jose State (54) and Fresno State (47).
Wyoming junior quarterback Josh Allen was named Preseason MW Offensive Player of the Year, while his teammate Andrew Wingard, a junior defensive back, was tabbed as the Preseason MW Defensive Player of the Year. San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny, a two-time MW Special Teams Player of the Year (2015-16), is expected to three-peat, as the Aztecs versatile running back was voted Preseason MW Special Teams Player of the Year.
Collegian sports director Justin Michael can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @JustinTMichael.