(UPDATE: Marden did not intend the graphic on his post to be his preseason poll, as readers pointed out would have meant he picked teams alphabetically. His updated post lists BSU, Nevada, and Fresno as his top three. How boring. I now stand by 75 percent of what I wrote.)
With WAC media days only a little more than a week away (July 28-30, to be exact), conference journalists are beginning to leak their picks for WAC preseason polls and players of the year.
We've seen the picks of Press-Tribune reporters Dave Southorn (humorous, albeit blah) and Phil Dailey (insanely predictable) and KBCI's J Bates gave us a Twitter peek at his (inspired Ihenacho choice). But the most fun one yet, by far, is that of Fresno-area newsman Andrew Marden.
- Boise State
- Fresno State
- New Mexico State
- San Jose State
- Utah State
Just so I have this straight, Marden is picking perennial underachievers Fresno State to finish second in the conference, he has Hawaii at third despite their only returning two defensive starters, Idaho at fourth despite the presence of the Akeystache, Nevada two spots below the Vandals, New Mexico State not at the very bottom, and up-and-coming Utah State finishing dead last. This sounds crazy.
But it also sounds like a lot of fun.
Marden gets the inanity of picking a preseason order for teams who have yet to even hit the practice field. His style beats the style of pretty much every other preseason media poll that we will see between now and next week. I don't need a beat writer to recite verbatim the predicted order of finish from every preseason magazine on the shelf; I need Andrew Marden to spark my imagination and give me something to talk about on a slow news Monday in mid-July.
And to top it all off, Marden may be more correct than those who chose to take the easy way out. If I've learned anything about the WAC in the past decade or so, it is that the only sure thing in the conference is Boise State winning (and Fresno screwing the pooch). The rest is a crapshoot. Hawaii finishing second last year? Never should have happened. Nevada losing to New Mexico State? Only in Chase Holbrook's wildest dreams. Yet these things happened, and if you had called it in the preseason, you would have looked as crazy as Marden does today.
To be sure, the OBNUG preseason poll will look a lot more like Marden's and a lot less like the status quo (expect ours on Monday). That's just how the WAC rolls, and if the preseason poll is supposed to be a reflection on how things will finish, it only makes sense to have the poll make as least sense as possible.