Big Sky Podcast Network Big Sky Conference Football Power Rankings: Week Nine

We live in a world where Sacramento State, a team with exactly zero conference wins in 2018, now owns consecutive two score (or more) wins over Eastern Washington, Montana State, and Montana. It took our voters from the Big Sky Podcast Network a little less time than it’s taken the national polls to recognize what’s going on in Sacramento, but even we are still coming to terms with Sacramento State sitting on top of our football world.


Untouched (Haven’t Played Sacramento State)


 1. Sacramento State
Conference: 3-0
Overall: 5-2
Last Week: Win vs. Montana (49-22)
This Week: at Cal Poly
Key Stat: In four games against Big Sky teams (three conference, one nonconference), Kevin Thomson has passed for an average of 307.6 yards per game while accounting for 24 touchdowns (18 passing, 6 rushing) and four turnovers (three interceptions, one lost fumble).
Another Key Stat: Through those same games, running back Elijah Dotson is gaining a combined (rushing and receiving) 148.25 yards per game.

2. Weber State
Conference: 3-0
Overall: 5-2
Last Week: Win vs. Northern Arizona (51-28)
This Week: at UC Davis
Key Stat: In four games against Big Sky teams (three conference, one nonconference), Weber State’s reputationally anemic offense has scored an average of 40.5 points per game. This increased production has come almost exclusively through the Wildcats’ run game. In those four games Weber State rushers have run for a combined 18 touchdowns (including Josh Davis’ 328 yards and four touchdowns vs. NAU), while quarterbacks Jake Constantine and Kaden Jenks have thrown for a combined four touchdowns.


If Not For Sacramento State, We’d Be Golden


3. Montana
Conference: 2-1
Last Week: Loss at Sacramento State (49-22)
This Week: vs. Eastern Washington
Key Stat: Quarterback Dalton Sneed, who left in the third quarter due to a leg injury, contributed fewer combined yards against Sacramento State (158 total, 140 passing and 18 rushing) than he did against the University of Oregon (176 total, 184 passing and -8 rushing). In his five other FCS games, Sneed has passed for an average 339.6 yards and rushed for an average of 41.4 yards.
Another Key Stat: In five FCS wins, Montana has outgained opponents by an average of 154.2 yards per game. Against Sacramento State, the Grizzlies were outgained by 170 yards.

4. Montana State
Conference: 2-1
Record: 5-2
Last Week: Bye
This Week: at North Dakota
Key Stat: In Montana State’s first four FCS wins, the Bobcats’ outscored opponents in the second half by a combined margin of 107-24. In an overtime win over Cal Poly and loss to Sacramento State, Montana State was outscored in the second half 34-13.
Another Key Stat: Just one Big Sky team averages fewer than 375 yards of total offense in conference play (Cal Poly: 374.8). Through six FCS games, Montana State has allowed just two teams to reach 375 yards in total offense or more (NAU: 437, Sacramento State: 378).


Sacramento State Has, Or Will, Ruin Our Season


5. UC Davis
Overall: 4-4
Last Week: Win at Southern Utah (33-25)
This Week: vs. Weber State
Key Stat: In conference losses to Montana and North Dakota, UC Davis surrendered an average of 501 yards per game and collected six turnovers while forcing just two (margin: -4). In two conference wins, the Aggies still surrendered a ton of yards (458 yards per game), but turned the ball over a combined zero times while forcing four turnovers (margin: +4).


6. Eastern Washington
Overall: 3-4
Last Week: Bye
This Week: at Montana
Key Stat: In FCS games against teams below .500 (Idaho and Northern Colorado), quarterback Eric Barriere has completed 63 percent of his passes for an average of 405 yards passing per game. Against teams above .500 (Jacksonville State, North Dakota, and Sacramento State), Barriere has completed 52 percent of his passes for an average of 232 passing yards per game.


Didn’t Need Sacramento State To Ruin Our Season

7. Portland State
Conference: 3-1
Overall: 5-3
Last Week: Win at Northern Colorado (38-30)
This Week: vs. Northern Arizona
Key Stat: In Portland State’s three-game conference winning streak, the Vikings’ opponents (Southern Utah, Idaho, and Northern Colorado) have a combined Big Sky record of 2-10.

8. Idaho
Conference: 1-3
Overall: 3-5
Last Week: Win vs. Idaho State (45-21)
This Week: Bye
Key Stat: Making his first start since Idaho joined the Big Sky conference, junior backup quarterback Colton Richardson passed for more yards (289 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions) in two-and-a-half quarters than starting quarterback Mason Petrino has passed for in all but one of his 18 Big Sky starts. The outlier for Petrino came in a 46-27 loss to Montana in 2018, where Idaho trailed 43-13 at the end of the third quarter.
Another Key Stat: Scoring 45 points against Idaho State was the first time the Vandals scored more than 35 against a Division I opponent since their 2016 Famous Potato Bowl win. 21 of Idaho’s points came on defensive touchdowns.

9. Idaho State
Conference: 2-2
Overall: 3-4
Last Week: Loss at Idaho (45-21)
Next Week: at Southern Utah
Key Stat: Matt Struck contributed more touchdowns to Idaho (three: two interceptions and one fumble, all returned for touchdowns) than he did to Idaho State (two passing touchdowns).
Another Key Stat: In the Bengals’ two conference wins, Struck passed for a combined 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions. In Idaho State’s two conference losses, Struck has passed a combined two touchdowns and two interceptions.

10. Northern Arizona
Conference: 1-2
Record: 3-4
Last Week: Loss at Weber State (51-28)
This Week: vs. Portland State
Key Stat: In five FCS games, NAU has collected three blowout losses to top 15 teams (Illinois State, Montana State, and Weber State), and two wins (Missouri State and Northern Colorado) against opponents with a combined record of 2-12.

11. Cal Poly
Conference: 1-3
Overall: 2-5
Last Week: Loss vs. North Dakota (30-26)
This Week: vs. Sacramento State
Key Stat: Cal Poly has not allowed an opponent to possess the ball longer than 26:20 in conference play, but the Mustangs have still managed to surrender an average of 425.75 yards per game.


We Are What Sacramento State Was

12. Northern Colorado
Overall: 1-7
Last Week: Loss vs. Portland State (38-30)
This Week: Bye
Key Stat: After passing for an average of 137.5 yards per game in nonconference play, senior quarterback Jakob Knipp has passed for an average of 303 yards per game through four Big Sky games.
Another Key Stat: Through those same conference games, senior running back Milo Hall has rushed for a combined 289 yards on 95 carries (3.04 yards per rush).

13. Southern Utah
Conference: 0-4
Last Week: Loss vs. UC Davis (33-25)
This Week: vs. Idaho State
Key Stat: After forcing three turnovers and losing by only three to Cal Poly, through their next three conference games Southern Utah has a turnover margin of -8.


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