Three weeks remain in the Big Sky Conference regular season before the FCS playoff take shape. ￼ Weber State, Sacramento State, Montana, and Montana State all look to prove themselves worthy of a playoff spot. For those four teams it should be heavily favored￼￼ in their matchup’s, except for we Weber State versus North Dakota. The two other big sky matchup’s feature Eastern Washington at Idaho State and UC Davis at Portland State. ￼
Marquee: North Dakota vs. Weber State￼ – Ogden, Utah -￼ 2 pm MT￼￼
￼While North Dakota looks to improve their resume for a possible at-large playoff bid, Weber State continues to look to secure the out-right Big Sky Conference title.￼￼ North Dakota may not have the most consistent results, but even without the weapons of last year the Fighting Hawks still pose a threat.￼￼ Jake Constantine will have to play a significant part in this game for Weber to perform well. ￼ Josh Davis is a talented runner, but when Weber has a nonexistent passing game it is easy for the run to get bottlenecked. Ketteringham and company may not be Conference foes any longer, but their ability to play tough football remains. ￼
Weber State 34, North Dakota 24
Montana State vs. Northern Colorado – Greeley, Colorado – 12 pm MT￼
￼￼￼Northern Colorado and Montana State￼ are both coming up solid wins. The Bobcats took care of business with Southern Utah in the first half of their game last week. ￼ The Bears won a back-and-forth game with the Bengals in Pocatello, Idaho. Both teams having momentum, the game being played in Greeley Colorado, and being rivals as defined by the conference￼ administration, this could be a closer contest than it deserves to be. Montana State is one of the toughest teams in the conference this year, yet Nottingham Field seems to be a trouble spot for almost every team in the conference. Whether or not the Bears play well, multiple Big Sky teams have a poor performances compared to the rest of their resumes at Nottingham. It could be the altitude or it could be overlooking a poorly performing team, but regardless the Bobcats need to be careful in Greeley. ￼
Montana State 38, Northern Colorado 23
Idaho vs. Montana – Missoula, MT – 1 pm MT
Idaho has everything to gain and Montana has everything to lose. Idaho’s second season back to the FCS still has been a lackluster affair as hopes have been high and performance has been low. Montana has had a few down years, but it seems like Coach Hauck ￼has been able to revive the Griz dominance. To sustain that dominance the Griz need to continue their winning ways as Weber State and Montana State still loom ahead on the schedule. Idaho should be a tune-up game for them, but underestimating Mason Petrino and company could prove fatal to Montana’s playoff position.
Montana 41, Idaho 17
Sacramento State vs. Northern Arizona – Flagstaff, AZ – 2 pm
Sacramento State travels to Flagstaff, Arizona to face the NAU Lumberjacks. Many teams struggle in Flagstaff due to the high altitude as it hosts the Walkup Skydome.￼ The Lumberjacks do not bode a strong defense, but Case Cookus and the offense provide an explosive quality worth containing.￼ Sacramento’s 17 points last week against a strong defense will be unacceptable this week against a banged up NAU defense. Despite the adversity, the NAU offense still found ways to score 38 points last week. If Sacramento State allows more than 24 points it could be a disaster waiting for them.
Sacramento State 35, Northern Arizona 21
Eastern Washington vs. Idaho State – Pocatello, ID – 2:35 pm MT
We are now in the part of the season where some games are just for fun, the seniors, or to play spoiler if playing a top team. This game should be interesting for the first quarter, but if EWU can reproduce even a fraction of last week’s performance they should soar to victory. Idaho State will be down on their luck and looking for revenge as they lost to one of the bottom conference teams. This is the point in the season where teams have to play for pride, your team, and the home crowd. If you are not playing for either this may explain why you and your team are not in the playoff conversation.
EWU 55, Idaho State 27
UC Davis vs. Portland State – Hillsboro, OR – 3 pm PT
Earlier in the season this could have been a game of relative importance as Portland State was hot for several weeks and UC Davis came in with huge expectations. Now this game is for pride. Can Jake Maier and the disappointing Aggies cut down the ever inconsistent Vikings? UC Davis has the roster talent to be a top 25 team, but they lack the opportunity and assertiveness to be the team they were last year. Portland State seemed to be a new version of the Vikings that might make an impact on the Big Sky standings, but has turned out to be the same sad song with a different introduction. The Aggies should win this one, but Portland State could theoretically play much above their means as well.
UC Davis 28, Portland State 24
My name is Ben Schleiger and I’m your representative for the Big Sky Conference. I have done work for multiple newspapers and sports blogs including The Johnstown Breeze, The University of Northern Colorado Mirror, and Mile High Maniac. I am a proud alumnus of the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Political Science. In my free time, I like watching sports, playing video games, and trying new foods.