One had to wonder if those who voted in the All-Mountain West football teams would go with TCU’s Gary Patterson, Boise State’s Chris Petersen or Wyoming’s Dave Christensen as the coach of the year.
By the way, here is the link to the entire MW All-Conference teams and individual awards list: http://www.themwc.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/120611aab.html
Patterson followed up last season’s No. 2 national finish and Rose Bowl championship with another undefeated league record and a third straight conference title. Right or wrong, fair or unfair, Petersen likely lost his chance after his team lost at home to TCU, even though the Broncos once again finished the regular season ranked in the top 10 nationally.
Then there was Christensen, who took a team picked to finish sixth in the MW in the preseason by the media and had the Cowboys finish third with a true freshman quarterback.
The league’s eight coaches and select media (myself included) voted, and Christensen was named coach of the year. I also voted for him, but not to be a UW homer. I think, more often than not, it’s more impressive to take a team not expected to do much and exceed expecations than to win with a team expected to win. Not to take anything away from Patterson or Petersen. Solid arguments can be made for their coach of the year cases as well.
But congrats to Christensen, and to true freshman quarterback Brett Smith, who was named Freshman of the Year. That had to have been the no-brainer vote of the season.
Some other notes and thoughts from the All-MWC teams:
–Not a lot of huge surprises on the MW First Team, but a little surprised no UW player made it. I thought defensive ends Josh Biezuns or Gabe Knapton had a chance, along with senior safety Tashaun Gipson.
–No UW players on the First Team, but eight on the Second Team. Good representation there, and two more Honorable Mention picks. Of the 11 players recognized this year on the All-MW teams and who won individual awards, six return next season.
–Is it ironic or a little strange that even though Smith was named the Freshman of the Year, he wasn’t even an Honorable Mention pick at quarterback? Senior Kellen Moore of Boise State was the Offensive Player of the Year and First Team pick. Sophomore Casey Pachall was the Second Team guy. That’s how I voted as well and it makes sense, but it seems a bit odd, doesn’t it?
–For a fourth-place team, San Diego State tied Boise State with the most First Team selections with seven.
–I found it amazing and impressive that TCU has had a First Team All-MW kick returner in each of its seven years it has been in the MW. That streak will end next year as TCU will be in the Big XII.
–I reported in Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang that Christensen and athletics director Tom Burman had not been in contact from other schools about Christensen being a candidate or other coaching jobs. I talked to colleagues at two newspapers that cover schools Christensen was mentioned at — Kansas and Illinois — and they both were surprised Christensen and/or Burman hadn’t been contacted. They also said both schools are close to hiring coaches and Christensen isn’t the leading candidate, or a candidate at all at this point.
See Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang for some news and notes from Tuesday’s MW coaches teleconference with the five coaches taking their teams to bowl games. Find out why getting ready for the New Mexico Bowl is similar to two other instances that UW dealt with earlier this season.