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

We’re halfway through the conference season, with the game of the year (Weber State at Sacramento State) this Saturday. Preseason darlings EWU and UC Davis are officially playoff spoilers, Montana looked alright (for a week) without Dalton Sneed, and Southern Utah pulled off the unthinkable and won a conference game. As always, our positions are dictated by votes from members of the Big Sky Podcast Network, as well as some of our favorite media figures covering the Big Sky, while Brian Marceau puts down our thoughts.

Jockeying For A Seed

1. Weber State
Overall: 6-2
Last Week: Win at UC Davis (36-20)
This Week: at Sacramento State.
Key Stat (conference only): Weber State pairs the top total defense (339.5 yards allowed per game) with the third best scoring offense (39.2 points per game).
Another Key Stat (conference only): The Wildcats gain an average of 256.5 yards per game on the ground while surrendering just 80.5 rushing yards per game.

2. Sacramento State
Overall: 6-2
Last Week: Win at Cal Poly (38-14)
This Week: vs. Weber State
Key Stat (conference only): Sacramento State owns the Big Sky’s best scoring offense (42.2 points per game) and best scoring defense (21 points per game).

3. Montana
Overall: 6-2
Last Week: Win vs. Eastern Washington (34-17)
This Week: at Portland State
Key Stat (conference only): Montana has outscored Big Sky teams 94-30 in the second half.
Another Key Stat: Through four Big Sky games, running back Marcus Knight has rushed for eight touchdowns, and 13 total touchdowns on the season.

Too Good For The Rest, Too Bad For The Top

4 (Tie). Montana State
Overall: 5-3
Last Week: Loss at North Dakota (16-12)
This Week: vs. Southern Utah
Key Stat (conference only): The Bobcats’ defense has allowed just 367.8 yards per game (second best in conference) and 13 touchdowns (tied for third best).
Another Key Stat (conference only): Montana State’s offense accrues 384.5 yards per game (second worst).  

Ruining Seasons (Including Our Own)

4 (Tie). Northern Arizona
Overall: 4-4
Last Week: Win vs. Portland State (31-29)
This Week: vs. Eastern Washington
Key Stat (conference only): NAU’s league worst rush defense (254 yards per game, 15 TDs allowed, 5.4 yards per attempt in conference) has contributed to the Lumberjacks’ league worst time of possession (22:57).
Another Key Stat (conference only): NAU wide receiver Stacy Chukwumezie leads the Big Sky in receiving yards per game (110 yards), while fellow wide receiver Brandon Porter is third (98 yards per game).

6. Eastern Washington
Overall: 3-5
Last Week: Loss at Montana (34-17)
This Week: vs. Northern Arizona
Key Stat (conference only): EWU ranks middle of the Big Sky in: scoring offense (sixth), scoring defense (seventh), rushing offense (sixth), rushing defense (seventh), pass defense (fifth), and total defense (sixth).

7. UC Davis
Overall: 4-5
Last Week: Loss vs. Weber State (36-20)
This Week: Bye
Key Stat (conference only): In spite the production out of quarterback Jake Maier (288.2 passing yards per game, 12 TD passes) and running back Ulonzo Gilliam (92 rushing yards per game), UC Davis’ 10th ranked Big Sky offense has been outgained by an average of 56.4 yards per game (417.2 to 473.6).

Still Telling Ourselves It’s All Okay

8. Portland State
Overall: 5-4
Last Week: Loss at Northern Arizona (31-29)
This Week: vs. Montana
Key Stat: The combined conference record of Portland State’s Big Sky wins (Southern Utah, Idaho, and Northern Colorado) is 3-10.
Another Key Stat: The combined conference record of Portland State’s Big Sky losses (Idaho State and Northern Arizona) is 4-5.

9. Idaho
Overall: 3-5
Last Week:
This Week: vs. Cal Poly
Key Stat (conference only): Idaho forfeits an average of 100.2 penalty yards per game. The next closest team (NAU) forfeits an average of 68.8 penalty yards per game.

Another Key Stat: The Vandals have zero conference road wins since rejoining the Big Sky. Idaho’s last conference road win came as members of the Sun Belt (FBS) on December 2, 2017 at Georgia State.
Another Key Stat: Idaho is 5-2 at home against Big Sky teams (six conference, one nonconference) since rejoining the Big Sky.

Our Super Bowl Is Against Each Other

Southern Utah
Overall: 2-7
Last Week: Win vs. Idaho State (59-34)
This Week: at Montana State
Key Stat: In two multiple-score Big Sky losses (at Portland State, at Weber State), Southern Utah had a turnover margin of -7. In its two one-score Big Sky losses (vs. Cal Poly, vs. UC Davis) and last week’s win (vs. Idaho State), the Thunderbirds had a turnover margin of +3.

Idaho State
Overall: 3-5
Last Week: Loss at Southern Utah (59-34)
This Week: vs. Northern Colorado
Key Stat: In consecutive losses at Idaho and at Southern Utah, quarterback Matt Struck turned the ball over six times (five interceptions, one lost fumble). Four of those turnovers were returned for touchdowns (three interceptions, one lost fumble).
Another Key Stat: Idaho State has allowed no fewer than 450 yards in all five of their Big Sky games (least: 452 vs. North Dakota, most: 588 at Montana).

 Cal Poly
Overall: 2-6
Last Week: Loss vs. Sacramento State (38-14)
This Week: at Idaho
Key Stat: In blowout losses to Big Sky teams (Weber State, UC Davis, and Sacramento State), Cal Poly surrenders an average of 521.3 yards per game. In competitive losses (Montana State, North Dakota) and Cal Poly’s lone Big Sky win (Southern Utah), the Mustangs surrendered an average of 371.6 yards per game.
Another Key Stat: On 123 carries in Big Sky play, Duy Tran-Sampson has zero rushes in excess of 16 yards.

Northern Colorado
Overall: 1-7
Last Week: Bye
This Week: at Idaho State
Key Stat (conference only): Northern Colorado owns both the second worst pass defense (316.5 yards per game) and the second worst rush defense (229.8 yards per game) in the Big Sky.


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