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Media peg Utes to finish 2nd, Cougs 3rd in MWC


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LAS VEGAS — If the 2010 Mountain West Conference media preseason poll is right, both Utah and BYU will be looking up at TCU — again — in the final standings.

Results of the annual poll were released Tuesday during the MWC football media day at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. The Horned Frogs, the defending conference champions, were the unanimous pick to claim the league title, followed by the Utes and Cougars. A year ago, BYU finished second and Utah ended up third.

"All I know for sure is that TCU, with how they performed last year and with what they have coming back personnel-wise, they certainly deserve to be No. 1," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.

TCU, which earned a bid to a BCS bowl in 2009, received 279 points and all 31 first-place votes.

The Utes, who are entering its final season in the MWC before it joins the Pac-10, were picked to finish second with 242 points. The Cougars were predicted to finish third with 207 points.

In the preseason poll, Air Force was slotted to finish fourth (195 points), followed by Wyoming (147), San Diego State (128), Colorado State (96), UNLV (56) and New Mexico (45).

TCU, Utah and BYU have finished in the top three in the league standings the past four seasons.

Cougar coach Bronco Mendenhall said Air Force has proven itself as a contender while the rest of the league is improving.

"If you look at it historically, the results say that there are three top 25 teams on a yearly basis, then there's the rest of the league with Air Force being a consistent No. 4," Mendenhall said. "I would consider it 'The Big Four.' The rest are kind of climbing.

"But when the season hits, I think they're all the same. That's how we treat them, anyway ... The strength of the league continues to improve."

As strong as the league was in 2009, "This conference will be stronger, top to bottom, than it was a year ago," said TCU coach Gary Patterson.


4 Utes, 2 Cougars named to All-MWC preseason squads

By: Dirk Facer, Deseret News

LAS VEGAS — Four Utah Utes and two BYU Cougars made the Mountain West Conference's All-Preseason team, which was released Tuesday morning at the league's football media day at the Red Rock Resort.

Utah is represented by running back Eddie Wide, offensive lineman Caleb Schlauderaff, center Zane Taylor and defensive back Brandon Burton. BYU placed offensive lineman Matt Reynolds and safety Andrew Rich on the squad.

TCU dominated the preseason team. Quarterback Andy Dalton, linebacker Tank Carder and return specialist Jeremy Kerley were tabbed as offensive, defensive and special teams players of the year, respectively.

2010 Preseason All-Mountain West Team

Offense

QB Andy Dalton#* Sr. TCU

WR Vincent Brown** Sr. San Diego State

WR Phillip Payne Jr. UNLV

RB Eddie Wide* Sr. Utah

RB Jared Tew** Sr. Air Force

OL Matt Reynolds#* Jr. BYU

OL Jake Kirkpatrick** Sr. TCU

OL Caleb Schlauderaff** Sr. Utah

OL Marcus Cannon* Sr. TCU

OL Zane Taylor** Sr. Utah

TE Alston Umuolo Sr. San Diego State

Defense

DL Johnathan Rainey** Jr. New Mexico

DL Wayne Daniels** Sr. TCU

DL Cory Grant** Sr. TCU

LB Carmen Messina* Jr. New Mexico

LB Tank Carder** Jr. TCU

LB Brian Hendricks** Jr. Wyoming

LB Mychal Sisson** Jr. Colorado State

DB Brandon Burton Jr. Utah

DB Reggie Rembert* Sr. Air Force

DB Anthony Wright** Jr. Air Force

DB Andrew Rich** Sr. BYU

DB Chris Prosinski** Sr. Wyoming

Note: Five defensive backs were selected due to a tie in the voting.

Specialists

P Brian Stahovich** Jr. San Diego State

PK Ross Evans* Jr. TCU

Ret. Jeremy Kerley#* Sr. TCU

Offensive Player of the Year: Andy Dalton, Sr., QB, TCU

Defensive Player of the Year: Tank Carder, Jr., LB, TCU

Special Teams Player of the Year: Jeremy Kerley, Sr., KR/PR TCU

# - unanimous 2010 preseason selection.

* - member of the 2009 All-Mountain West Conference first-team.

** - member of the 2009 All-Mountain West Conference second-team.

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