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Pack picked to finish second in WAC

JOE SANTORO
For the Nevada Appeal

By JOE SANTORO

The Western Athletic Conference’s media and football coaches are in agreement on which two teams will be the best and the worst in the conference this season.

The WAC’s media and coaches preseason polls were announced Monday morning at the conference media event in Salt Lake City. Boise State (first) and Nevada (second) were picked in both polls to finish on top of the conference and New Mexico State (eighth) and San Jose State (ninth) were picked to finish at the bottom of the league in both polls.

Fresno State was also picked by the media and the coaches to finish third this season. But that is where the similarities between the two polls ends.

The coaches picked Utah State to finish fourth, Hawaii to finish fifth, Idaho to end up sixth and Louisiana Tech to finish seventh. The media likes Idaho to finish fourth, Louisiana Tech to finish fifth, Utah State to finish sixth and Hawaii to end up seventh.

The media poll simply reflected last year’s final standings. The coaches, though, sent a signal that they don’t believe Idaho’s breakout season in 2009 will continue in 2010. The Vandals finished fourth in 2009 with a 4-4 league record (8-5 overall) and finished the year with a thrilling 43-42 Humanitarian Bowl game victory over Bowling Green.

Boise State, which has won seven WAC titles since joining the league in 2001, received eight of the nine first-place votes. Boise State’s Chris Peterson voted for the Pack to finish first (coaches cannot vote for their own team).

The media also named Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore as the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and Wolf Pack defensive end Dontay Moch as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Both players won the same awards at the end of the 2009 season.

The league will feature two new head coaches this season: Mike MacIntyre at San Jose State and Sonny Dykes at Louisiana Tech.

The Wolf Pack will open its season on Sept. 2 at Mackay Stadium against Eastern Washington of the Big Sky Conference.