Media Pick Cougars Fourth in Preseason Poll

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LAS VEGAS (July 29, 2003) -- In a poll of 21 different Mountain West Conference media members, released by the league on July 29, the Cougars have been picked to finish fourth in the MWC during the 2003 season. The projection marks the lowest predicted finish for the Cougars since joining the MWC in 1999.

"The league is getting tougher and tougher each season," BYU head coach Gary Crowton said. "It's going to be interesting to see how this season plays out. We're excited about this year though. We have a lot of guys back, and we're looking to do some exciting things. We'll be ready to go, I can promise you that."

Colorado State received 18 first-place votes to top the preseason list for the third straight season. The Rams, who have won (or tied) three league titles, including the 2003 championship, return 17 starters from last season's 10-4 squad.

New Mexico was second in the poll with 140 total points and one first-place vote, marking the Lobos highest ranking in the annual preseason poll.

Air Force and BYU were separated by just three points, with the Falcons finishing third with 113 points, followed by the Cougars with 110. Like New Mexico, both Air Force and BYU received one first-place vote.

A total of 11 points divided spots five through seven, with Utah (73) claiming the fifth spot, trailed by UNLV (67) and San Diego State (62). Wyoming rounded out the balloting with 27 points.

"This kind of fires you up," senior offensive lineman Scott Jackson said. "We have a pretty bad taste in our mouth from last season. Obviously we don't think we're going to finish fourth, so we have to go out there and prove some people wrong. This is BYU, and finishing fourth is not what we are out there playing for."

Two of the projected top-three teams will travel to Provo during the season, including Colorado State on Oct. 9 and Air Force on Sept. 27.

In the short, four-year history of the preseason MWC media poll, the Cougars have finished as predicted in only one of the previous four polls. In 1999, BYU was ranked as the top team entering the season. As projected, the Cougars won the first-ever MWC title with a 5-2 league record. In 2000, the Cougars were predicted to finish third, and ended up fourth behind CSU, Air Force and UNLV. In 2001, the media predicted the Cougars would finish third. That season, BYU not only win the league title, but also became the first undefeated to do so with a perfect record. Last season, the media selected BYU to finish third. The Cougars ended up in seventh with a 2-5 conference record.

Since the league was formed, the Cougars have posted an overall record of 18-10 against MWC opponents to rank second behind Colorado State. The Rams are 22-6 over the same period. New Mexico and Utah are tied for third with a 15-13 overall league record.

Written by BYU Athletic Media Relations

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