San Jose State was picked to finish fifth in the West Division and was shut out of the preseason all-conference honors that were announced Tuesday at the start of the Mountain West Conference media days.
Fresno State, the reigning conference champion, was picked to again claim the West Division. The Bulldogs were followed by San Diego State, Nevada, UNLV, SJSU and Hawaii.
Boise State, runners up in the Mountain Division last year to Utah State, was selected as that division's top team in the poll voted on by coaches and media members. Utah State was second, followed by Colorado State, Wyoming, Air Force and New Mexico.
The Spartans had a couple legitimate contenders to make the preseason all-conference team. But sophomore wide receiver Tyler Winston was hurt by the league's depth at the position. The conference names just first-team selection for its preseason honors, leaving only two spots for receivers.
Junior kicker Austin Lopez and senior defensive tackle Travis Raciti are players who earned preseason nods last year. Lopez lost out to Colorado State's Jared Roberts, who had a terrific 2013 campaign. Raciti's impact last year was marred by an injury, a new position and the defense's overall ineffectiveness and that may have drawn him off the radar a bit.
Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton, who is back after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last season, was selected as the preseason conference offensive player of the year. Fresno State defensive back Derron Smith earned the defensive honor for the second straight year and New Mexico kick returner Carlos Wiggins received the special teams honor.
The Spartans went 5-3 in conference play last year to finish tied for third in the West Division with UNLV, a team they beat. But the loss of quarterback David Fales has lowered the perception of the team.
Meanwhile, Nevada returns quarterback Cody Fajardo, a player who torched SJSU last year in one of the Spartans' worst losses. UNLV, despite its loss to SJSU last season, likely received the edge because it went 7-6, reaching a bowl game.