Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Coaches select Aztecs to repeat in 2013

The preseason Mountain West softball coaches poll was released this afternoon and it falls almost exactly in line with our predictions made last month.

San Diego State was selected as the favorite to defend its 2012 MW regular-season championship, earning five first-place votes and 35 total points from the seven coaches.  Colorado State, which surprised everyone by finishing tied for second a year ago, is tabbed to finish second again.  The Rams, who were predicted to finish last a season ago, picked up one first-place vote and 28 points.

League newcomer Fresno State was selected to finish third in its first season in the Mountain West.  The Bulldogs came in two votes shy of the Rams, with 26 total points.  This marks the first time in 18 years that Fresno State was not predicted to finish in first- or second-place in a conference preseason coaches poll.  Over the last 17 years, the Bulldogs were preseason favorites 14 times in the WAC and were predicted second three times (2003, 2008 and 2011).

Despite finishing tied for second in the Mountain West a year ago, Boise State was picked to finish fourth this time around.  The Broncos earned 23 total points, including one first-place vote, meaning the coaches had far differing opinions of how Boise State will finish.

In fifth place, with 15 total points, is New Mexico.  The Lobos finished last a season ago, despite storming to a record-breaking start in the non-conference season.  Predicted sixth and seventh are the two schools from the Silver State.  UNLV (12 points) came in sixth, followed by in-state rival Nevada (8 points).  The Wolf Pack are in their first season in the Mountain West after finishing fifth in the WAC a year ago.

Our preseason predictions last month correctly picked five of the seven teams with their exact ranking according to the coaches, including the top four spots.  The only difference:  We had Nevada and New Mexico reversed, with the Pack finishing fifth and the Lobos seventh.

Preseason MW Coaches Poll

1.  San Diego State (5)  35
2.  Colorado State (1)  28
3.  Fresno State  26
4.  Boise State (1)  23
5.  New Mexico  15
6.  UNLV  12
7.  Nevada  8