HENDERSON, Nev. — While this year's Mountain West Conference preseason media poll may have delighted football fans in the Beehive State — rivals BYU and Utah were picked first and second, respectively — it didn't sit well with TCU coach Gary Patterson. His Horned Frogs are projected to finish third.

"I'm fired up about it," he said. "That way they can talk about it. We were picked sixth three years ago and won it. I think we handle it a lot better when we are the underdog and behind the scenes. Our kids play harder."

TCU didn't receive any first-place votes. BYU was the top choice of 29 voters. Utah got the other five.

"I think preseason polls are good. They're good for the media. They're good for the fans, but I think the coaches are the only people who know how good of a football team they have," Patterson said while glancing at the poll results. "There's somebody on this list here who knows — down here from No. 3 through No. 9 — that they have a good team that no one knows about. Last year it was Air Force."

The Falcons were picked sixth a year ago, but wound up finishing second. Road wins at Utah and Colorado State complimented an unblemished run at home against TCU, UNLV, Wyoming and San Diego State.

"Everybody protects their home pretty good, but you've got to be able to play on the road," said Patterson, who considers it the key to success in the MWC.

The schedule, he added, is another variable to examine.

Patterson likes to identify "trap" games that could skew the race. Though he insists on not making excuses, the coach pointed out a pivotal five-day stretch for his team in November. TCU plays at UNLV on Saturday and Utah the following Thursday.

PUMPED: Wyoming running back Devin Moore knows the score.

While prepping for his DirecTV/Versus preseason interview, before changing into his Cowboy jersey, he plopped down and did pushups to give his arms that pumped-up look.

Coach Joe Glenn says Moore is the fastest player he's ever coached and NFL scouts have timed him at 4.3 for the 40 several times. "We're going to get him more touches this year, I'll tell you that," said Glenn.

MORE GLENN: The Wyoming coach drew quite a crowd during his interview session with the print media. And, as expected, he delivered some gems — including a story about a note he received after a 10-9 loss to Hofstra while coaching at Montana. There was a sign in my room the next morning. It said 'Coach, there's a bus leaving at noon. Be under it,'" Glenn joked.

TICK, TICK: New Mexico coach Rocky Long recruited QB Donovan Porterie as a guy he believed in his heart could lead the Lobos to the first conference championship since 1964. "Time's running out now, he's got two years to do it," said Long.

"Like any quarterback, I welcome the challenge to win a league title, that's what everyone wants and we have the attitude that we can," said Porterie, who is 6-foot-2, 206 from Port Arthur, Texas.

ON TV: The Mountain West Sports Network (The mtn.) will unveil the league's all-decade football team today at noon. Interviews with coaches and players will be included in the 30-minute show. An encore presentation is set for 8 p.m.

E-mail: dirk@desnews.com; dharmon@desnews.com