Fresno State has not won an outright conference football title since 1991 as a member of the Big West. The Bulldogs spent 20 years in the Western Athletic Conference but won only a share of the conference title three times (1992, ‘93, and ‘99).
FS enters the Mountain West as a legitimate contender in a wide open conference that returns no clear cut favorite in 2012. The ‘Dogs have won at least a piece of a conference title each of the last two inaugural seasons in a new conference (Big West 1988, WAC 1992).
MWC Predicted Order of Finish
1. Boise State 9-3 (7-1)
2. Nevada 8-4 (6-2)
3. Fresno State 7-5 (6-2)
4. Wyoming 8-4 (5-3)
5. Air Force 8-4 (5-3)
6. San Diego State 7-5 (4-4)
7. Colorado State 5-7 (4-4)
8. Hawaii 4-9 (2-6)
9. UNLV 2-11 (1-7)
10. New Mexico 2-11 (0-8)
MWC Preseason Offensive POY
RB Chris Nwoke, Colorado State – New Rams head coach Jim McElwain inherits one of the top running backs in the MWC. Nwoke rushed for over 1,110 yards last season and expect McElwain to get the ball in his hands as much as possible in 2012.
MWC Preseason Defensive POY
S Phillip Thomas, Fresno State – Thomas missed all of 2011 with broken ankle. He returns this season 100% and eager to make an impact. DeRuyter’s 3-4 defense has never featured a safety with Thomas’ size and playmaking ability. With a role expected to place him all over the field, Thomas could be the MWC’s most feared defender in 2012.
MWC Preseason Newcomer POY
DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State – The Broncos return only seven starters, including just two on defense, in 2012. BSU must replace its entire starting front four that ranked among the nation’s best the last two seasons. Lawrence should not only push for a starting role but should emerge as one of the conference’s top pass rushers in 2012.
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