Fresno State picked to finish last in the Mountain West, the Bulldogs end up winning the West division and playing in the title game. That success, no doubt fueling the first place projection. Fresno State's highest placement since the Derek Carr days in 2014.
At least until the first ball is kicked, once again the talk of the Mountain West is Bulldogs and Broncos.
"Playing them in back-to-back weeks in one of the most bizarre things I've ever been a part of. It was crazy, and I think it only fueled the rivalry even more," said Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien.
In the preseason poll, both Boise State and Fresno State are picked to finish atop their respective divisions.
"I don't really think I understood the magnitude of the rivalry until we got down to Fresno and played in that stadium and felt the energy of those fans and just the energy of the game. There's always a certain type of feel in a rivalry game and more energy than a normal conference game. There's just that little bit more energy that goes on," said Rypien.
Good news for @FresnoStateFB fans. The Bulldogs (126 votes) picked to finish 1st in the West division of the Mountain West ahead of San Diego St. First time they’ve been projected that high since 2013-14. @ABC30 pic.twitter.com/xY9z4Tbh1r— Stephen Hicks (@StephenABC30) July 24, 2018
"You hear them talk about Boise State, Fresno State, Boise State, Fresno State, but as far as this year we're just taking it day by day," said former Edison High star and current Boise State cornerback Tyler Horton.
"They've got a quarterback coming back who knows how to take care of the football. They've got linebackers, and I think we've got the same things. So what does all that mean at this point? It means who's going to go do the work," said Broncos head coach Bryan Harsin.
The Bulldogs return 17 starters from last year's 10-win team, Marcus McMaryion, James Bailey, and head coach Jeff Tedford are set to address the media on Wednesday.