2016 Mountain West preseason projections

Justin Michael

The 2016 Mountain West Media Days began Tuesday in Las Vegas, and with it, the annual preseason media polls and Preseason All-MW teams were announced.

Colorado State football did not receive much love in the annual preseason media poll, being projected to finish fourth in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West. Boise State is predicted to win the division, receiving 172 total votes, followed by Air Force (126), Utah State (111), Colorado State (95), New Mexico (74) and Wyoming (31).

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After winning the conference in 2015, San Diego State is the projected to repeat as winners of the West Division, earning more points than any other MW member (174). Behind the Aztecs, sits Nevada (129), San Jose State (122), Fresno State (76), UNLV (73) and Hawai’i (35).

CSU punter Hayden Hunt and offensive lineman Fred Zerblis were the lone Rams to be selected to the 2016 All-Mountain West Football Team.  

Last season, Hunt was among the nations top punters and was named to several All-America teams, ultimately finishing as one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award – awarded annually to college football’s top punter.

Hunt ranked fifth nationally with an average of 46.0 yards per punt, while the Rams’ team net punting average of 42.0 ranked fourth.  Of Hunt’s 52 punts, 15 went at least 50 yards, 24 were marked down inside opponents’ 20-yard line, 18 were fair caught and just one was a touchback.

This summer, he has already been named to ESPN and Sporting News’ All-America first teams.

Zerblis, a senior from Grayson, Ga., earned All-Mountain West second-team honors by vote of media and coaches and first-team recognition by Phil Steele in 2015.

Zerblis is one of five offensive linemen named to the preseason team. This offseason, he has also been named to preseason first teams by Athlon Sports, ESPN, Lindy’s, Phil Steele and Sporting News. Zerblis was also named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy

Zerblis has started the last 26 games for the Rams, helping lead CSU to a third consecutive bowl game appearance by blocking for an offense that ranked third in the Mountain West with 417.0 yards per game.

Collegian sports reporter Justin Michael can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @JustinTMichael.