The Big Sky Conference saw a lot of fluctuation in the rankings with the biggest surprise of North Dakota losing in a blowout loss at South Dakota. Weber State takes over the top spot this week after an impressive road victory at Sacramento State.
Elsewhere, Southern Utah was very impressive in its home win over Northern Iowa. In my opinion, the best win by the BSC in the Challenge against the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
I am sure we will see even more movement this week but here are my rankings with last week’s ranking in parenthesis.
1. (2) Weber State (2-1 overall, 0-0 BSC)
Last week: Beat Sacramento State 31-24 on road (non-conference match-up)
This Week: vs. UC Davis
The Wildcats used Jonah Williams’ blocked punt which he recovered in the end zone for a touchdown as the springboard to the Wildcat victory over their BSC mate Sacramento State (but counted as an out-of-conference matchup). The true Big Sky opener is this week in UC Davis will be no slouch. The Aggies are coming off two straight wins.
2. (3) Southern Utah (2-1, 0-0)
Last week: beat Northern Iowa 24-21 at home
This week at Sacramento State
SUU looked impressive against the traditionally strong Panthers from the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The T-birds travel to the Hornets this week to begin BSC play.
3. (4) Eastern Washington (1-2, 0-0)
Last Week: Beat Fordham 56-21 on the road
This Week: at Montana
The Eagles emerged with an impressive road victory. It is not easy to travel across the country from the state of Washington to New York City to play a game and the jet leg was non-existent in their win over the Patriot League’s Rams. This week, EWU again hits the road as it starts BSC play.
4. (1) North Dakota (2-1, 0-0)
Last week: lost at South Dakota 45-7
This week: vs. Montana State
The Fighting Hawks looked quite bad and why they dropped to #4 in my rankings with a blowout loss to a team projected near the bottom of the MVFC standings despite being on the road. This was after they did the same to another MVFC team in Missouri State the first week. UND will need to be more consistent as it enters BSC play and it starts at home against Montana State this week.
5. (7) Montana State (1-2, 0-0)
Last week: Bye
This week: at North Dakota
The Bobcats took last week off after a close home loss to a top 5 ranked squad in South Dakota State the previous week. They got to watch UND get beat last week so the question can be asked if MSU can use some of the same offense that South Dakota used to defeat the Fighting Hawks this week.
6. (8) Montana (2-1, 0-0)
Last week: Beat Savannah State 56-3 at home
This week: vs Eastern Washington
The Griz lost quarterback Reese Phillips in this last blowout win over the MEAC’s Tigers. Redshirt freshman Gresch Jensen entered the game at quarterback in the second quarter and completed 11 of 15 passes with one interception. He tallied 178 passing yards and threw three touchdown passes. Facing Savannah State and Eastern Washington, however, are two different levels. We will see how this works this week–at least he is still in the friendly confines of Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
7. (6) Northern Arizona (0-2, 0-0)
Last week: Bye
This week: at Cal Poly
The Lumberjacks had the announcement of longstanding coach Jerome Souers will be stepping down from his position at the end of this season. Also, anounced was NAU will be without senior wide receiver Emmanuel Butler, who was injured minutes into the Lumberjacks’ game versus Western Illinois the week previous. Butler’s timetable for a return is unknown. NAU will look to quarterback Case Cookus to keep the offense strong against the winless Mustangs.
8. (11) UC-Davis (2-1, 0-0)
Last week, Beat Portland State 37-14 on the road
This week: at Weber State
Maybe the Coach Dan Hawkins era will lead the Aggies back to it former DII promise land. The Aggies have one two straight and last week impressively took PSU down on the road in a non-conference BSC match-up. This week will tell us more if
9. (13) Idaho State
Last week, won at Nevada (Mountain West) 30-28,
this week at Northern Colorado—
The usual patsy, the Bengals are typically found at the bottom of the standings, but beating an FBS team is truly impressive. Maybe a sign of good things this year?
10. (5) Portland State (0-3, 0-0)
Last week: Lost to UC-Davis at home 37-14,
This week: Bye
After two great efforts against the FBS, the Vikings were pounded at home by a fellow Big Sky member in the Aggies–a team projected at the start of the season to be towards the bottom of the BSC standings. PSU gets a bye week this week before hosting Montana next week.
11. (10) Northern Colorado (0-2, 0-0)
Last week, Lost at FBS Colorado 41-21
This week: vs. Idaho State
The Bears played the Pac-12’s Colorado close before eventually falling 41-21. Alex Wesley caught five passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns. This week looked to be an easy home victory but ISU looked to improve when it beat FBS Nevada last week.
12. (12) Cal Poly (0-3, 0-0)
Last week: Bye
This week: vs. Northern Arizona
Despite going winless in its non-conference games, the Mustangs could still make some noise in the BSC. Two weeks ago, Cal Poly took Northern Iowa to overtime and a home game against the Lumberjacks could be used to move this team forward.
13. (9) Sacramento State (1-2, 0-0)
Last week: Lost to Weber State 31-24 at home
This week: vs. Southern Utah
It was hard placing the Hornets last as they lost by just a touchdown last week to Weber State but someone has to go here. A win at home against SUU will definitely change my mind on this team.
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football in the western half of the United States– the Big Sky Conference and Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.
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