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Cowboys picked behind the 'big four'

Aside from tough conference foes, Wyoming also hosts Boise State and travels to Texas and Toledo.
Aside from tough conference foes, Wyoming also hosts Boise State and travels to Texas and Toledo.
AP Photo/Andy Carpenean

In late July the Mountain West Conference announced team rankings and its preseason all-conference squad.  The Wyoming Cowboys, double overtime winners in the 2009 New Mexico Bowl against Fresno State, have been predicted to finish fifth while junior linebacker Brian Hendricks and senior safety Chris Prosinski were voted to the MWC 2010 preseason all-conference team.

Prosinski, elected a team captain for 2010, led the Pokes with 140 tackles last season, ranking him first among MWC defensive backs.  “Preseason polls don't mean a lot,” said Prosinski when asked about the MWC projections.  “They’re based on the previous season’s results.”  Prosinski feels that defensive team speed will balance small size and neutralize the outside running game of opponents.  “We should be able to stretch plays out,” he noted.

Quiet optimism surrounds the team as Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen prepares for his second season at the helm.  “I think if you compare where we were picked this year compared to last year (ninth), it shows that people are beginning to gain respect for our program.”  Christensen admitted there is still a long way to go but that the coaching staff will try to keep players focused on getting better each day.

Senior wide receiver Dave Leonard echoed the team disposition.  "Being picked fifth leaves us room for improvement,” he said.  “We can't worry about preseason too much. We're more concerned with how we finish the season."

In looking at teams picked to finish ahead of Wyoming there is little dishonor in the preseason rating. TCU, Utah, BYU, and Air Force are tabbed to finish in that order, so Wyoming is in the neighborhood with programs that are historically tough and have had success against high profile programs in non-conference and/or bowl games.

The Cowboys will need to guard against quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels falling victim to a sophomore jinx.  Carta-Samuels became the starter early in the 2009 season and led Wyoming on several crucial drives during the year, including a double overtime game winner in the New Mexico Bowl.  Backing up Carta-Samuels will be senior signal caller Dax Crum, and two freshmen, Sam Stratton from Littleton, Colorado and Emory Miller, Jr. from Mesquite, Texas.

MWC Predictions:  1.TCU (31) 279 points;  2.Utah  242 points;  3. BYU 207;  4. Air Force 195;  5. Wyoming 1476.San Diego State 128;  7. Colorado State 96;  8. UNLV 56;  9. New Mexico, 45.

Go back to the Mountain West Conference season preview.

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