After Week 1 (and Week 0), here are my opening Big Sky power rankings after seeing the teams play at least one game. With a number of FBS and sub-DI games, it is a little tough to figure the rankings but we have to start somewhere. I am sure there will be a lot of movement after action in this Week 2 and is a big week for the Big Sky-Missouri Valley challenge with five match-ups this week pitting the western most FCS leagues.
1. North Dakota (0-1 overall, 0-0 BSC)
Last week: Lost at FBS Utah 37-16
This Week: vs. Missouri State
After a predictable outcome against the Pac-12’s Utes, the Fighting Hawks have what looked at the beginning of the season to be a rather easy win in UND’s home opener against one of the lower predicted teams in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in Missouri State. The Bears, however, hung strong last week against it FBS opponent Missouri so this might not be as easy as originally predicted.
2. Eastern Washington (0-1, 0-0)
Last Week: Lost at FBS Texas Tech 56-10
This Week: vs. North Dakota State
The Eagles are accustomed to scoring points and just ten last week even against an FBS opponent might mean the usually high powered offense might be down a step from what it has been in the past several years. We shall see how the home red turf and playing against the same level of opponent work out in the smoke filled Cheney area this week against the MVFC Bison.
3. Northern Arizona (0-1, 0-0)
Last week: Lost at FBS Arizona 62-24 on the road
This week: vs Western Illinois
The Lumberjacks offensively looked good against the Pac 12’s Wildcats. This week, WIU comes to Flagstaff to really give us an idea. The Lumberjacks defense has been strong and has a powerful offensive line so the battle of the run versus pass will be in full order in this game.
4. Weber State (1-0, 0-0)
Last week: Beat NAIA Montana-Western 76-0 at home
This week: at FBS California
The Wildcats showed a lopsided score in a game that is hard to judge. This week, we will see how WSU fairs against a FBS opponent and hopefully get a better idea of how good or bad the Wildcats are.
5. Portland State (0-2, 0-0)
Last week: Lost at FBS Oregon State 35-32, (Week 0 loss 20-6 to FBS BYU)
This week: Bye
The Vikings had two strong performances already against two at least average FBS schools. PSU gets a bye this week and will get set for the rest of its games against BSC opponents starting next week against UC Davis (although it is classified as a non-conference game).
6. Montana State (0-1, 0-0)
Last week: Lost at FBS Washington State 31-0
This week: vs. South Dakota State
The Bobcats were in the game with the Pac-12’s Cougars for the first game but the do need to get their offense going. They really need to pass a little more to give their strong running game a chance. The Top 5 ranked Jackrabbits will be a very tough home opener.
7. Montana (1-0, 0-0)
Last week: Beat Valparaiso at home 45-23
This week at FBS Washington
The final score looks a little deceiving for the Grizzlies against the non-scholarship Crusaders. The Grizzlies really did not put this game to away until the 4th quarter. I hate to say it but the game in Seattle could get ugly this week against a Top 10 ranked FBS school.
8.Southern Utah (0-1, 0-0)
Last week, lost at FBS Oregon 77-21
This week: at Stephen F Austin
The Thunderbirds lost predictably at the Pac-12’s Ducks. SUU will have a better test this week against the Southland’s Lumberjacks to see where this team really is.
9. Cal Poly (0-2, 0-0)
Last week: Lost at FBS San Jose State 34-13 (Lost 20-14 to at home to Colgate in Week 0)
This week: at Northern Iowa
I really thought the Mustangs would be a playoff team and maybe still will be but that opening season loss at home to Colgate was a killer. This week will get no easier against the MVFC Panthers on the road.
10. Northern Colorado (1-0, 0-0)
Last week: Defeated NAIA College of Idaho 41-14
This week: at FBS Florida
The Bears won easily over a sub-DI opponent last week. This week, the Bears game against the SEC’s Gators is being moved up to an early Saturday start time with Hurricane Irma expected to hit the state of Florida last Saturday or early Sunday.
11. Sacramento State (0-1, 0-0)
Last week: lost to FBS Idaho 28-6
This week: vs. Incarnate Word
Yes, the close FBS lose was to the future Big Sky mates in the Vandals but still Idaho is no slouch at the FBS level currently after coming off a bowl game a year ago. In giving up just 28 points, the Hornets may have found they have something in their defense. We shall see this week with the Southland’s Cardinals.
12. UC-Davis (0-1, 0-0)
Last week, lost to FBS San Diego State 38-17
This week: vs. San Diego
The Aggies made the game respectable late with two late touchdowns but was really after the game had already been decided. The other San Diego school comes to Davis this week and even though the Toreros are from the non-scholarship Pioneer League, they should not be taken lightly especially after they defeated Cal Poly in the playoffs last week.
13. Idaho State (1-0, 0-0)
Last week, beat DII Western Oregon 37-6
This week: at FBS Utah State
A win is a win for the Bengals and they can use wherever they can get them. Playing at the Mountain West’s Aggies this week might be too tough for this squad.