Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | 11:30 a.m.
UNLV's football program will enter the first year of the Bobby Hauck era with some low expectations.
The Mountain West Conference preseason poll was unveiled Tuesday to kick off the league's football media days at Red Rock Resort, and the Rebels, coming off back-to-back 5-7 seasons, were picked eighth out of nine teams.
The poll, which was compiled by votes from the league's media, was topped by defending champ TCU, who went undefeated in last year's regular season before falling to undefeated Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. The Horned Frogs nabbed 279 poll points and got all 31 first-place votes.
TCU is followed, in order, by Utah, BYU, Air Force, Wyoming, San Diego State, Colorado State, UNLV and New Mexico.
Some positive news came, though, for UNLV, as junior wideout Phillip Payne — a Western High product — was voted to the preseason All-MWC team.
The 6-foot-3 red-zone specialist has piled up 87 catches, 1,097 yards and 14 touchdowns in 21 career games.
This marks the fourth consecutive year that UNLV has a receiver on the preseason All-MWC team, as Ryan Wolfe was on the list each of the last three seasons.
UNLV's fall camp opens Aug. 6.
For full coverage from media days as they unfold, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com.