These final two weeks will define and refine the playoff outlook for fringe teams and those looking to have a seeded position. Two weeks can contain a lot of chaos for post season considerations. The hot ticket question this week is Montana or Weber State the stronger team? Lucky for Big Sky fans is Saturday will decide it for us.
Marquee: Weber State vs. Montana – Missoula, MT – 1 pm MT
Another clash of titans will take place in Missoula as Weber State and Montana square-off. A relentless Wildcat defense will do their best to contain an energetic Griz offense in a rowdy WA-Griz atmosphere. A tall order indeed, but if Weber State can pull it off their resume for the playoffs will appear battle-tested. Weber State is the better team objectively, but if their run game is non-existent the Wildcats will be unable to score. Conversely, the Montana defense has to be more than Dante Olson and Robby Hauck making every single play with zero help.
Weber State 34, Montana 31
Northern Colorado vs. North Dakota – Grand Forks, ND – 12 pm MT
Northern Colorado has missed the mark the past two seasons and this season seems all but over for improvement. In what should have been a decent farewell tour for Jacob Knipp has been a season of heartbreak. Each game for the Bears this season ended in a blowout or a drive short of a win. North Dakota is a fluctuating team who beats good teams and loses to mediocre teams.
North Dakota 41, Northern Colorado 20
Idaho State vs. BYU – Provo, UT – 1 pm MT
This will be one of the last chances of the year for a fear the FCS moment, but do not hold your breath. Idaho State had some shining moments during the season. There is a big difference between a good moment against an FCS team compared to an FBS team. BYU will likely destroy the Bengals on all fronts and by a hefty margin.
BYU 56, Idaho State 16
Northern Arizona vs. Southern Utah – Cedar City, UT – 2 pm MT
Southern Utah is sitting at the bottom of the Big Sky and need a win desperately. Northern Arizona has not been consistent as they look like a real deal team early on and then look like a faux team later. Case Cookus should be capable of pulling together the team better than he has so far. Chris Helbig and the Thunderbird Defense are the best hope for Southern Utah. With such a young team SUU has not had as many clear leaders as they needed to have for a successful season. Without seeing some of that leadership for next season Southern Utah will suffer against NAU.
NAU 41, Southern Utah 13
Sacramento State vs. Idaho – Moscow, ID – 3 pm MT
Sacramento State has everything to lose with each week going forward. Idaho should not beat them, but will pose a challenge schematically. The Hornets will need to establish the running game early to have enough variety to beat Idaho’s defense. Caden Ellis is a significant edge threat that may force the Hornets to pass later in the game. Overall Sacramento State should still escape with a win.
Sacramento State 31, Idaho 27
Montana State vs. UC Davis – Davis, CA – 5 pm PT
Montana State had a rough patch they seem to be over, but beating UC Davis this week and Montana the next will be the test of the year. Endurance is preached all off season and this is where it gets tested. This game should be attainable for the Bobcats, but Bryce Sterk will need to get pressure while the Bobcat secondary does its best to cover the slippery Aggie receivers. This should be a Bobcat win, but UC Davis is a dangerous bunch.
Bobcats 34, Aggies 28
Eastern Washington vs. Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo, CA – 6 pm PT
Eastern Washington has the tools and capacity to obliterate the Mustangs. The question is if we see the disciplined Eagles who can put up 50+ points or if we see the struggling Eagles who allow the other team to get ahead from silly penalties or turnovers. Cal Poly will need to establish their run game and keep that flame alive. Whenever the Mustangs are forced into passing situations it ends up with either an interception or a low completion rate.
EWU 48, Cal Poly 17
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.