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Ags tabbbed for fifth; Wagner named top defender

Published: Saturday, July 30, 2011

Updated: Saturday, July 30, 2011 19:07


Linebacker Bobby Wagner

LAS VEGAS, NEV. – Utah State was picked to finish fifth in the WAC by both media and coaches preseason polls announced Thursday.


Hawaii is the early favorite and picked to win the Western Athletic Conference, followed closely by Nevada in second and Fresno State in third. Louisiana Tech in fourth precedes Utah State in fifth, who is followed by Idaho in sixth. San Jose State in seventh and New Mexico State in eighth finish out the polls.


With the departure of longtime favorite Boise State to the Mountain West Conference, many players and coaches feel the WAC championship is up for grabs, including Idaho head coach Rob Akey.


"Everybody's saying it, some of them believe it," Akey said. "The ones that believe it will have a chance."


Bryant Moniz from Hawaii was selected to be the WAC offensive player of the year for his senior season. Utah State's senior linebacker Bobby Wagner was named the conference Defensive Player of the Year.


"He's a heck of a player," said New Mexico State head coach DeWayne Walker. "I know when we get to that stage of the season, (Wagner) is definitely a guy we're going to have to account for. Obviously we're going to be watching him throughout the year. He's a very good football player."


Commissioner Karl Benson put to rest all rumors of USU joining the MWC, calling the rumors "erroneous reporting."


"Whatever report you may have read or seen yesterday about something being imminent between the Mountain West and Utah State," Benson said. "I have no idea where it surfaced or how it surfaced."


Utah State is set to kick off the season at Auburn in Alabama on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 11 a.m. on ESPN2.


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