LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – The UNLV Rebels have been picked to finish last in the Mountain West Conference for the 2021 season. Boise State has been chosen to finish atop the Mountain Division, while Nevada has been predicted to win the West Division title for the first time in program history, as announced Wednesday by the Mountain West at its annual media days, being held at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Boise State, which has been predicted to win the Mountain Division the last eight seasons, returns 19 starters, including nine on offense and eight on defense, from a 2020 squad that finished with an undefeated 5-0 Conference record and made a fourth-consecutive appearance in the MW Football Championship Game. The Broncos garnered 23 first-place votes and 148 total points.
Nevada earned 19 first-place votes in the West Division, earning 141 total points. Last year, the Wolf Pack compiled a 6-2 record in MW play and concluded the season with a victory over Tulane in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Nevada returns the reigning MW Offensive Player of the Year in quarterback Carson Strong, as well as numerous key offensive players, including wide receiver Romeo Doubs, tight end Cole Turner and running back Toa Taua.
Wyoming received a pair of first-place votes, the most for the Cowboys in the preseason poll since 2005 (five). San José State (five) and Fresno State (one) received the remaining six first-place votes in the West Division.
This marks the ninth season of divisional play for the Conference, which moved to the two, six-team divisional format in 2013 following the additions of San José State and Utah State. The Mountain Division is comprised of Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming, while Fresno State, Hawai‘i, Nevada, San Diego State, San José State and UNLV make up the West Division. The two divisional winners will meet in the MW Championship Game on Dec. 4, 2021, at the home stadium of the divisional champion with the highest winning percentage in Conference games only.