Breaking down All-MW football selections

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:

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┬álikely 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.


10 thoughts on “Breaking down All-MW football selections

  1. What is your rationale on why Pachall is better than Smith? Not bashing you, but I’m curious. I simply feel that Smith was more impressive with less talent around him, and I think the stats reflect that…depending on what you put the most stock in.

    • That’s a good point, but Pachall is just a sophomore, first full season as a starter with an offensive line that was mostly new. Threw for the second-most TD passes and third-most yards and his pass eff. was second only to Moore. I agree he had much better talent around him.

      Plus, and this isn’t necessarily an argument for him, the QBs on the better teams more often than not make all-conference teams. TCU and Boise were the two best in terms of the standings.


  2. Josh Biezuns not first team all conference is B.S. That kid was a force all the time when on the field. Nobody got held more then him. Pre season all conferece tell me what he didn’t do all season to warrant he took a step back .he never takes a play off.

    • I thought he or Knapton had a shot. Probably hurt Knapton he started at DT this season.


  3. Christensen wouldn’t leave for Kansas or Illinois because of his respect and loyalty to his former employer, Missouri. Both of those schools are big rivals for Mizzou, and going to either would probably eliminate any chance of him returning to Columbia, should that be among his aspirations. But here’s hoping he sticks around in Laramie a long time!

  4. RG-

    Talked w/my Pop last night who coached during Wyomings two undefeateated season’s under Eaton. Gator Bowl, then Sugar Bowl. Interesting thoughts by him, it took the 67 undefeated team to put Wyoming into the National Spotlight to play in the Sugar Bowl w/ LSU. If they wouldn’t have complimented two back to back seasons with teams like A State, and Arizona on the schedule; No Major Bowls would have considered the “stepchildren from the Wac”. Things change, and things remain the same. TCU last year needed an outstanding run to enter the liklihood of a Rose Bowl victory. Boise, didn’t achieve what they set out to do. Yes, they had a great run under Moore and Peterson, but “no ticky, no dance”. Funny, how things work out when you win outside of the BCS, they can’t ignore you then. Entitlement is not part of the process- and so greener pastures are alluring….but all expectations for Big East auto qualifying may be out the door soon.

    So adios to Boise State and their travelling partner SDSU. I will say Thompson from the Mtn West has totally screwed the goose, Golden Goose that is. Setting the table w/ BYU and no broadcasting has cost this conference plenty. I don’t think he’s got a prayer moving forward to salvage much. CUSA, yea ok- but no tradition, no familiar rivalries, no western geographical affiliation. So, yea Craig- what’s next on the Merry go Round?- can’t wait to hear. A bum steer, for sure.

    Thanks for listening and Beat the Owls…lol.

  5. Johnny, you make some good points, but I disagree a little bit with a few of them. While the commish has made a few head scratchers in his tenure, I think he’s done a great job the last couple years. BYU would have left even if we had national distribution and higher tv revenues–they acted out of a longstanding desire to own their own broadcasting rights–something NO conference would accept–including the big12 and big Least. The straw that broke their back was Utah’s invitation to the Pac. With a bruised ego, they left for independence, and there was nothing Thompson could have done to prevent that. However, where he earned his money in my opinion, was preemptively breaking up the backdoor deal BYU was making with the WAC to kill off the MWC with its departure. Since that point, he has been proactive and doing everything possible to stabilize the conference in a crapstorm of realignment.

    Also, about the CUSA merger, if it’s done well, it can be great–realistically it can be more like what the old WAC was: MWC division: wyo/csu/afa/nm/unlv/nv/utep/ and possibly a tulsa or USU depending on how things play out. I’d LOVE to have utep back on the schedule. That UNM/UTEP basketball road swing was always brutal and fun. It has the potential to take us back to old traditional opponents, with an option of playing some teams every year cross divisionally that we haven’t really had the opportunity to before. It sounds like the front range schools are committed to each other, and as long as that continues, I don’t think we have anything to worry about besides competing for conference championships.

    Just my .02.

  6. No pokes on first team and a third place finish not a huge deal. It shows that the Cowboys were truly a team of hardworkers, not one or two studs. Everybody had their game. One week it would be Herron, the next Alexander. The pokes who were most consistent ended up on second team. Really going to miss Beizuns, Knapton, Gipson and Hendricks.

  7. Just read on the CFN publucation that Brett Smith first team QB. also Blair Burns honorable mention defensive back. Great job by these young men and there coaches.

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