The Big Sky conference race looks like it is coming in to focus after the opening weeks being very topsy-turvy. With NAU’s win over a strong Missouri Valley team in Illinois State, we seem to be gaining some clarity as to where the conference is nationally. Weber State and Eastern Washington also look like playoff teams at this point.
Here are this week’s power rankings (last week in parenthesis).
1. (1) Weber State (4-1, 2-0)
Last week: Bye
This week: vs. Southern Utah
The Wildcats clawed to the top of the conference and took a well deserved rest last week. Now they venture out as the hunted instead of the hunter, staying at home this week.
2. (3) Northern Arizona (3-2, 2-1)
Last week: Beat Illinois State 37-16 at home
This week at Portland State
The Lumberjacks handled a strong Missouri Valley team last week to make up for a home loss earlier in the season against another Missouri Valley team in Western Illinois. The Lumberjacks hope to avoid the letdown this week with a trip to Portland.
3. (2) Eastern Washington (4-2,3-0)
Last week, Beat UC-Davis 41-38 on the road
This week: vs. Montana State
The Eagles escaped on road last week–winning by coming from behind to get the victory. Now Montana State comes to Cheney in what should be the game of the week in the BSC this week.
4. (4) Montana (4-2, 2-1)
Last week,: Beat Idaho State 39-31 on the road
This week: vs, North Dakota
The Grizzlies won at ISU last week in at the beginning of the season looked like it should be an easy win but the Bengals are playing much better than a season ago. North Dakota–the preseason BSC favorites–come to Missoula this week in another intriguing contest.
5. (5) Montana State (2-3, 2-1)
Last week: Beat Portland State 30-22 at home
This week: at Eastern Washington
The Bobcats won by just eight but were pretty much in control against PSU last week. The focus needs to grow even higher this week with a road trip to EWU.
6. (6) Sacramento State (2-3, 1-1)
The Hornets so far have been somewhat of a pleasant surprise so far. Sac State had a bye to prepare for Idaho State in what could tell us even more on this team this week.
7. (7) UC Davis (3-3, 1-1)
Last week: Lost to Eastern Washington 41-38 at home
This week: Bye
The Aggies just couldn’t quite hold on to defeat powerful Eastern Washington last year. UC Davis gets a bye to regroup before traveling to Northern Arizona next week.
8. (8) Southern Utah (3-3, 1-1)
Last week: Beat Cal Poly 20-14 at home
This week: at Weber State
The Thunderbirds won a tough defensive game last week against what seems now to be the bottom team in the league in Cal Poly. SUU will need to heighten its game against in-state rival Weber State.
9. (9) North Dakota (2-4, 1-2)
Last week: Beat Northern Colorado 48-38 at home
This week at Montana
UND has been devestated by injuries but scratched and clawed out a victory at home last week against UNC. Can the FIghting Hawks do again at a very tough venue this week?
10. (10) Idaho State (2-3, 1-2)
Last week: Lost to Montana 38-31 at home
This week at Sacramento State
The Bengals are for sure better than last year and could be its best team in the past five seasons. A road trip to Sac State this week will see if ISU can stay in the BSC race.
11. Northern Colorado (2-3, 1-2)
Last week lost to North Dakota 48-38 on the road
This week: Bye
Against an injury plagued UND team, the Bears just couldn’t muster up enough stops to get a win. UNC gets a bye to try to correct those miscues before getting another tough test at home against Montana State next week.
12. (12) Portland State (0-5, 0-2)
Last week: Lost to Montana State 30-22
This week: vs. Northern Arizona
The Vikings are better really than a winless record but just can’t put everything together to get a victory as of yet. This week will be tough to get win number one against the Lumberjacks despite being at home.
13. (13) Cal Poly (0-6, 0-2)
Last week: Lost to Southern Utah 20-14 on the road
This week: Bye
The Mustangs defense is doing its part so far but the triple option offense has not been doing its part. A bye might help get that side of the ball going before hosting Weber State next week.