We’ve all (minus the league itself) wanted a Big Sky Conference Championship game for a while. Good news: we had (an unofficial) one. Not-as-good news: it came with three weeks left in the season. The conference, and the Big Sky Podcast Network Power Rankings are officially Weber State’s until further notice. For the rest of the field, votes are cast by BSPN contributors and a few more Big Sky experts.
It’s Theirs To Lose
1. Weber State
Last Week: Win at Sacramento State (36-17)
This Week: vs. North Dakota
Key Stat (conference only): Weber State’s best-in-league rush defense (81.2 ypg) allows 30 fewer yards per game than the Big Sky’s second best rush defense (Montana: 111.8 ypg).
Another Key Stat (conference only): After struggling with injuries through the first few weeks, sophomore running back Josh Davis leads the Big Sky in rushing with 137.4 yards per game on (an also league best) 7.5 yards per carry.
Still Working On Our Playoff Bye
2. Sacramento State
Last Week: Loss vs. Weber State (36-17)
This Week: at Northern Arizona
Key Stat (conference only): Running back Elijah Dotson is second in all purpose yards at 133.8 yards per game, but against Weber State, Dotson accrued just 15 total yards (35 rushing, -10 receiving).
Another Key Stat: After facing EWU, Montana State, Montana, and Weber State (combined Big Sky record: 15-5) over a five week stretch, Sacramento State is still top-four in the Big Sky in scoring offense (fourth: 27.2ppg), scoring defense (third: 24ppg), total offense (third: 462.2ypg), and total defense (fourth: 373ypg).
Last Week: Win at Portland State (38-23)
This Week: vs. Idaho
Key Stat (conference only): Through two starts in relief of Dalton Sneed, backup quarterback Cam Humphrey has passed for an average of 255.5 yards per game with a completion percentage of 71.9.
Another Key Stat (conference only): Montana has allowed over 400 yards in just one Big Sky game (Sacramento State: 402 yards).
Good, Just Flawed
4. Montana State
Last Week: Win vs. Southern Utah (42-7)
This Week: at Northern Colorado
Key Stat (conference only): With three of his five starts coming against bottom-half defenses (Northern Arizona, Cal Poly, and Southern Utah), Tucker Rovig has completed 50.4 percent of his passes for an average of 161 yards per game.
Another Key Stat (conference only): Montana State leads the Big Sky in total defense (344 yards per game) and is second in scoring defense (23.2ppg).
5. UC Davis
Last Week: Bye
This Week: at Portland State
Key Stat: UC Davis’ four FCS losses have come against opponents (North Dakota State, Montana, North Dakota, and Weber State) with a combined FCS record of 28-4.
Another Key Stat: In five games against FCS teams outside the top ten, UC Davis is 4-1 while scoring 39.2 points per game.
6. Eastern Washington
Last Week: Win vs. Northern Arizona (66-38)
This Week: at Idaho State
Key Stat: Quarterback Eric Barriere has 30 total touchdowns (24 passing, six rushing) and just four interceptions.
Another Key Stat: EWU owns zero home losses and zero road wins.
Quite Flawed, But Sometimes Okay
7. Portland State
Last Week: Loss vs. Montana (38-23)
This Week: vs. UC Davis
Key Stat (conference only): Portland State is middle-of-the-pack (ranked between sixth and ninth) in total offense (sixth: 445.5ypg), total defense (eighth: 427.2ypg), scoring offense (seventh: 31.7ppg), and scoring defense (sixth: 30.2ppg).
Last Week: Win vs. Cal Poly (21-3)
This Week: at Montana
Key Stat (conference only): Idaho’s two Big Sky wins have come against opponents (Idaho State and Cal Poly) with a combined conference record of 3-9. Idaho’s conference losses have come against teams (Northern Colorado, Weber State, and Portland State) with a combined Big Sky record of 10-6.
Another Key Stat: In three FCS wins, Idaho’s turnover margin is +5. In three FCS losses, the Vandals’ turnover margin is -6.
9. Northern Arizona
Last Week: Loss at Eastern Washington (66-38)
This Week: vs. Sacramento State
Key Stat (conference only): NAU has allowed no fewer than 443 yards in each conference game.
Another Key Stat (conference only): In conference losses, NAU has given up an average of 55.3 points per game.
10. Northern Colorado
Last Week: at Idaho State
This Week: vs. Montana State
Key Stat: Northern Colorado is undefeated against the state of Idaho (University of Idaho and Idaho State).
Another Key Stat (conference only): Quarterback Jakob Knipp is completing 62.2 percent of his passes while throwing for 289.8 yards per game.
(Your) Slump Busters
11. Cal Poly
Last Week: at Idaho
This Week: Bye
Key Stat: Cal Poly owns a five-game Big Sky losing streak.
Another Key Stat: The Mustangs have been held under 250 yards of total offense for consecutive weeks (202 vs. Sacramento State, 242 at Idaho).
12. Southern Utah
Last Week: Loss at Montana State (42-7)
This Week: Bye
Key Stat (conference only): Southern Utah ranks bottom-four in the Big Sky in scoring offense (10th: 26.2ppg), scoring defense (12th: 35.7ppg), rushing offense (11th: 118.2 ypg), rushing defense (11th: 219.2 ypg), total offense (11th: 390.3 ypg), and turnover margin (13th: -8).
13. Idaho State
Last Week: Loss vs. Northern Colorado (26-20)
This Week: vs. Eastern Washington
Key Stat: During ISU’s three-game conference losing streak, Bengal quarterbacks have committed ten turnovers (eight interceptions, two lost fumbles). Four of those turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble) have been returned for touchdowns.