LAS VEGAS, NEVADA(HawaiiNewsNow) – The University of Hawai'i was the preseason favorite in the Western Athletic Conference media and coaches' polls while quarterback Bryant Moniz was the media's pick as player of the year, which were announced Thursday at the WAC Media Preview.
In the media poll, UH received 292 points and 18 first-place votes followed by Fresno State (284, 11), and Nevada (264, 11). Rounding out the poll was Louisiana Tech (184), Utah State (166), Idaho (141), San Jose State (85), and New Mexico State (60).
In the coaches poll, Hawai'i received 47 points and five of eight first place votes. Fresno State was second with 41 points and one first place vote followed closely by Nevada with 40 points and two first place votes. Louisiana Tech was picked fourth (31) followed by Utah State (22), Idaho (21), San Jose State (15) and New Mexico State (7).
This marked the first time UH was picked as the preseason favorites in both polls since 2007. Hawai'i was also the preseason media favorite in 2003.
The media also selected Moniz as its preseason offensive player of the year. Moniz, a senior from Wahiawa, O'ahu, was the nation's leader in passing and total offense last season and became just the 11th player in FBS history to surpass 5,000 passing yards in a season. He set four school records including most yards passing in a game with 560 against San Jose State while averaging 360.0 passing yards per game. He led the nation in passing touchdowns (39) and ranked eighth in passing efficiency (159.11).
"This is a great honor but more than individual awards, I'm proud of the fact that as a team, we were picked to win the WAC in both polls," Moniz said. "It won't be easy. Even without Boise State, the league will be very competitive. We'll need to play our best each week if we want to defend our WAC title."
Moniz and linebacker Corey Paredes, who both represented the Warriors at the WAC Media Preview at The Orleans Hotel and Casino, led UH to a 10-4 record last season; a share of the WAC championship; and appearance in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.
This season marks UH's 33rd and final year in the WAC. Hawai'i will compete in the Mountain West Conference beginning in 2012.
Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner was the media's pick as preseason defensive player of the year. Last season, he led the WAC and tied for seventh in the FBS with 11.1 tackles per game.