Utah State came within a hair of getting the favorite's tag for the upcoming Big West football season, but instead longtime league power Fresno State was picked to win the title in 1988.
The coaches and the media both chose Fresno State over the Aggies as they met at the Airport Hyatt Hotel for the league's annual media day. The league just recently changed its name from the Pacific Coast Athletic Association to the Big West.In voting by the media, Fresno garnered 24 first-place votes and 400 points total to barely edge the Utah State, which received 22 first-place votes and 397 points. The order for the remaining six teams went Cal State Fullerton, San Jose State, UNLV, Pacific, Long Beach State and New Mexico State.
The coaches' voting was similar with Fresno getting four first-place votes and 55 points to Utah State's 52 points and two first place votes. The only difference in the coaches' order was that Pacific was picked for fifth and UNLV for sixth.
While most coaches don't seem to want the favorites' tag, Utah State coach Chuck Shelton almost seemed disappointed his team didn't get top billing, although he did say, "It's a nice honor for us to be picked that high."
The Aggies have most of their top offensive players returning from last year, including quarterback Brent Snyder and receiver Kendal Smith. The Aggies, along with the other seven teams, open the 1988 season on Sept. 3. USU will open at Nebraska for the second straight year.
Here is a look at the media and coaches polls: Media Poll - 1. Fresno State (4) 400; 2. Utah State (22) 397; 3. Cal State Fullerton (5) 315; 4. San Jose State (2) 294; 5. UNLV (2) 207; 6. Pacific (2) 201; 7. Long Beach State 170; 8. New Mexico State 68.
Coaches Poll - 1. Fresno State (4) 55; 2. Utah State (2) 52; 3. Cal State Fullerton (1) 49; 4. San Jose State 44; 5. Pacific (1) 29; 6. UNLV 27; 7. Long Beach State 21; 8. New Mexico State 11.