New Mexico, San Diego State sweep MW hoops honors

The Bulldogs’ Tyler Johnson was named All-MWC honorable mention.

New Mexico swept the top honors in Mountain West Conference men’s basketball with Steve Alford being named Coach of the Year and Lobos guard Kendall Williams selected as Player of the Year.

Fresno State junior guard Tyler Johnson was named honorable mention. No Bulldogs were picked for the three all-conference squads or the all-defensive team.

On the women’s side, Fresno State junior guard Ki-Ki Moore was named first-team All-MWC as well as Defensive Player of the Year. Senior forward Rosie Moult was named second-team All-MWC and to the all-defensive team, while junior guard Taylor Thompson and sophomore forward Alex Sheedy were third team.

Rounding out the All-MWC men’s squad are UNLV teammates Khem Birch and Anthony Bennett, also the Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year; and Colorado State teammates Colton Iverson and Daniel Bejarano, the MW’s Newcomer and Sixth Man of the Year, respectively.

San Diego State’s Chelsea Hopkins is the women’s Player of the Year with Aztecs coach Beth Burns earning her third MW Coach of the Year honors. San Diego State’s Courtney Clements, Wyoming’s Chaundra Sewell and UNLV’s Kelli Thompson complete the first team.

Mountain West deal with ESPN should get Fresno State more exposure and money

Expect some Fresno State football games back on ESPN. Maybe a few Fresno State men’s basketball games on ESPN as well.

The Mountain West Conference and ESPN are finalizing a seven-year media rights deal for the sports network to televise up to 22 football games, as well as 25 men’s basketball games annually, according to ESPN.com

Fresno State fans can expect some Bulldogs football games to be televised on an ESPN channel again, most likely games against Boise State.

And that means more potential exposure and money for Fresno State.

The deal with ESPN brings the Mountain West’s media rights deal up to $116 million through 2019-2020, roughly $18 million per year. The conference still is negotiating the rights to the Mountain West championship football game, which would generate more revenue.

Fresno State had played some of its football games on ESPN’s stable of channels while the school was in the Western Athletic Conference.

But that type of national exposure went away at the start of this current school year when Fresno State joined the Mountain West. Since the Mountain West didn’t have any agreement with ESPN or ABC, most of its top football games were televised on the NBC Sports Network.

There appears to be some caveats with the pending deal, however, and it favors Boise State more than any other program in the conference. That was to be expected as part of the Boise State’s agreement to stay in the Mountain West rather than join the Big East in football.

Of the 22 football games to be televised on ESPN, all six of Boise State’s home games will be included, and much of the monies with the ESPN deal are tied to games involving the Broncos.

At the least, Fresno State fans can anticipate the football game against Boise State to shown on an ESPN network, based on past history. Each time the Bulldogs and Broncos faced each other while in the WAC, ESPN televised the game.

But the return to ESPN also will likely mean playing games on non-Saturdays again as Fresno State often did at the network’s request while in the WAC.

Fresno State’s schedule last season was the first time in more than 10 years that the Bulldogs played all of their regular-season games on Saturdays.

CBS and CBS Sports Network remains the primary holder for Mountain West games and still gets first pick of the best games.

Fresno State eyes Vegas and Mountain West title, while waiting bowl invite

Even if Fresno State wins Saturday against Air Force and captures at least a share of the Mountain West Conference title, don’t expect the Bulldogs to receive a bowl bid immediately after the game.

San Diego State (8-3, 6-1), which sports an identical record as Fresno State, plays at Wyoming and also will be playing for at least a share of the Mountain West title.

And Boise State (9-2, 6-1), which has a bye this week, plays at Nevada in two weeks with the Broncos’ chance for at least a shared conference title also on the line.

With so much title implications on the line, don’t expect bowl bids to be sent out until after the Boise State-Nevada finale on Dec. 1.

Fresno State administration’s preference is for the Bulldogs to play in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl, athletic director Thomas Boeh said Monday evening. The Las Vegas Bowl, scheduled Dec. 22, pits the Mountain West’s top choice against the fifth selection from the Pac-12. Read more →