Weighing in on MW All-Conference football

There were not a lot of surprises when the All-Mountain West first and second football teams came out Tuesday.

Here is the link to the complete list:

http://www.themwc.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/120412aaf.html

Congrats to Wyoming senior center Nick Carlson and senior defensive tackle Mike Purcell for making the first team. I voted for both on my first team. Of UW’s players, those two were the most deserving and had the best chance of making the first team.

I put UW sophomore quarterback Brett Smith on my second team, but sophomore Cody Fajardo of Nevada got the nod. Smith averaged about 53 more passing yards per game than Fajardo and threw 10 more touchdown passes. However, Fajardo gained more than 700 rushing yards and ran for five more TDs than Smith. Fajardo led the MW in total offense and Smith was nearly 11 yards behind him in terms of total yards per game.

Fajardo played in one more game than Smith, which could have made a difference. Smith missed two games with concussions. Fajardo missed one with back problems (caused by UW). And, the fact Nevada finished 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the MW where UW was 4-8, 3-5 also may have influenced voters.

Both impressed and disappointed for UW senior receiver Chris McNeill. Impressed that he was a second team pick for the second consecutive year. Disappointed he wasn’t a first teamer. I know why … some really good and deserving receivers were in front of him both years, and McNeill missed games in each of the last two seasons. I still think McNeill was a first-team caliber receiver that might have made it there had he not missed the last four games of 2011 and the last game of 2012.

I voted for UW senior linebacker Ghaali Muhammad to the second team. He was honorable mention. Tough to get a lot of defensive players on any all-conference team when your defense was one of the worst in the nation. Says a lot about Purcell for making the first team. Muhammad was fourth in the MW in tackles and had the most fumble recoveries with four, which tied for the second-most in the nation.

Along with Smith, UW’s next all-conference player will be junior receiver Robert Herron, who was an honorable mention pick this year. Of the top 10 receivers in the league, only freshman of the year Davante Adams of Fresno State caught more TD passes with 13. Herron had eight on 31 catches and played in only eight games due to injuries. The key for Herron being on the first team next season is him staying healthy.

Another player with a chance is true freshman punter Tim Gleeson, another honorable mention pick. Of the top six punters in the MW this season, Gleeson and New Mexico freshman Ben Skaer are the only ones that return. Gleeson averaged 43 yards per punt this season.

Finally, three teams tied for the MW title: Fresno State, Boise State and San Diego State. Fresno State had a league-best seven first team all-conference players. It also had the offensive, defensive and freshman of the year. That’s why I have the Bulldogs tops in my final power rankings, which you can also see on the blog.

Let me know what you think, folks. Do you think the All-MW teams were right on or did voters, including myself, miss the boat on some things?