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July 27, 2011LAS VEGAS (AP) Boise State was picked by members of the media to win the Mountain West Conference title in its first year in the league.
The Broncos, who finished last season ranked No. 10 in the nation while playing in the Western Athletic Conference, received 28 of 31 first-place votes in a poll released by the conference on Tuesday.
Boise State returns six starters on offense and seven on defense from last season's 12-1 team, including seven players picked to the preseason all-conference team.
TCU, the defending MWC champion, was picked to finish second in the conference. It garnered three first-place votes.
Six other teams placed well behind TCU and Boise State in voting, with Air Force picked to finish third and San Diego State to finish fourth.
This season, the conference is without BYU or Utah, and is preparing to lose TCU next year. It will gain Hawaii in football only in 2012, and Nevada and Fresno State in all sports.
Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore was selected the conference's preseason player of the year on offense. TCU linebacker Tank Carder is preseason player of the year on defense.
Moore, a senior, is the country's active career leader in wins and passing efficiency. Last year, he threw for 3,845 yards, 35 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Carder, the conference's reigning defensive player of the year, had 60 tackles last year, along with 3.5 sacks and an interception. He was the only player unanimously picked to the preseason all-conference team.
Jonathan Warzeka, a kick returner from Air Force, was picked as the preseason player of the year on special teams. He led the conference with an average 28.7 yards per kickoff return.