Big Sky Power Rankings Week 4

Reminder this is a “Power Ranking.” It means different things to different people. Some view it as the best team, some view it as hottest team at the moment. At the end of the year, the team that wins the conference may not be No. 1 in our rankings. We had 15 voters this week.

This week | Team | Point total (First Place Votes)

1. Montana

Last Week: Bye

This Week: vs Cal Poly

My Ranking: 1

Still Riding high after the stunner against the puppies on Lake Washington, where I may have been only FCS personality to take the Griz confidently. And Yes! I will continue to toot my own horn about it!

They get a warmup this week against Cal Poly before a top 10 FCS clash under the lights on ESPN next weekend. Rumor has it College Gameday may attend…

2. UC Davis

Last Week:W vs Dixie State 60-27

This Week: @ #14 Weber State

My Ranking: 2

UC Davis having a storybook OOC. Beat a Tulsa team that in 2020 played top ranked Cincinati for the AAC Title. Blow out rival San Diego and then pick up a 2nd FCS win last week vs Dixie State. The Aggies playoff resume sitting at 3.5 games after 3 weeks is huge.

If they can pick up a road win vs #13 Weber State, they will have an argument for the top spot next week.

3. Montana State

Last Week W vs San Diego 52-10

This Week: Bye

My Ranking 5

Bobcats had an impressive showing vs Wyoming (so did Idaho two seasons back…) and then beat up two teams that according to the VS Simulator would lose at home to Central Washington. The wins may count towards the playoffs, when Central Washington does not. But EWUs win over CWU is more impressive than either of Montana States.

As you can tell I am more in the minority here for the Big Sky Podcast Network as I have them as the tail team of the big 5 that should make the playoff, but as a last 4 in type of squad.

Matt McKay does look like an improvement from years past. But a 65% completion percentage against the teams he has faced does nothing to give this team a nod over the teams behind them on this list in my opinion.

4. Eastern Washington

Last Week: W @ Western Illinois 62-56

This Week: @ Southern Utah

My Ranking 4

The farewell tour for this band is off to a great start. The first three tour stops include a big showing in Vegas a gig that people from outside might be suprised by, but those that know the band, know they had it in them. Then they have a small show at their local bar and it goes as expected. Followed up with a bit of a mess last week where show went off, but not without so hiccups and eyebrow raising from its fans.

They get an amphitheatre show this week down in the desert. Should be a pretty tame show, but they can’t get caught looking ahead to maybe their headline show next week.

5. Weber State

Last Week: L vs #3 James Madison 24-37

This Week: vs #12 UC Davis

My Ranking: 3

They have lost to the teams they should have, and dominated the teams they should have. So what are they?

Photo: Chris Hammond

They are likely still going to grab a share of the Big Sky Title. You know you are the king when people start rooting against you, simply to make them feel better about their teams. Ask any Montana fan, they have been dealing with it for decades. But that is where people seem to be with Weber State. Starting to get some irrational takes that seem to be said, simple to try and speak them into existense. And I understand things dont last forever. But with Jay Hill still their, I am a little baffled people have turned on Wildcats so much. But like I mentioned earlier, alot of it feels like people just rooting against them out of either hope, fear or fatigue.

I still believe in this team more than most. They may actually preform better in the undercat role. A win vs a SURGING UC Davis team would probably put them back in the spotlight. a loss to UC Davis and expect them to be on the back peddle a bit and most likely fall out of top 5 next week.

6. Northern Arizona

Last Week: W @ Arizona 21-19

This Week: @ Northern Colorado

My Ranking: 7

This one is tough. NAU has gotten curb stomped by the teams they needed to beat and beat a team that really doesnt do anything for them. Im sure Lumberjack fans will disagree with me, but I would trade the UA win last week for a win vs South Dakota and a competetive game or W vs Sam Houston.

I dont think they are worthy of being this high. But everyone below them has done nothing to justify being at the 6 spot either.

If they lose to Northern Colorado and go 0-3 vs FCS to open the season they could find themselves at 12 or 13 next week.

7. Sacramento State

Last Week: L @ Cal 30-42

This Week: @ Idaho State

My Ranking: 11

It appears others in the Big Sky Podcast Network are coming around to the Sac State is back to being in a building stage, not a competing stage. 2019 was a flash in the pan and a few years early. Kevin Thompson had this team rolling in 2019, and when he went out, they didnt look the same.

Well he is gone now and that trend continues even with STUDS like Pierre Williams and Elijah Dotson.

Just to cement this point more.

Dixie State 7 Sacramento State 19

Dixie State 3 Weber State (& their awful offense) 41

Dixie State 27 UC Davis 60

8. Southern Utah

Last Week: W @ Tarleton St 40-35

This Week: vs #6 Montana

My Ranking: 13

Look, the Thunderbirds were about 1:41 seconds from being undefeated in the Spring Season. La’kea Kaho Ohanohano-Davis is a NFL type guy, Landom Measom is Mr.Realiable and Justin Miller is improving. Yet the rest of the team is just simply not good enough to compete vs middle to upper tier sky schools.

Not to mention they sold away their OOC playing two bodybag games within 5 days to open the season. Like, Why?!

9. Portland State

Last Week: W v Western Oregon 21-7

This Week: vs #13 Montana State

My Ranking: 8

#BarnysBeerGarden was a great pubilicty stunt to get students into the game and give this team a chance to win them over.

Not sure the 21-7 win vs D2 W.Oregon was the result to keep them there. Unless Barney brings this promotion back and adds Dots Pretzles to the mix, I think “Top 5 Big Sky Program” Portland State may be a team with about 500 fans and a .500 record.

10. Idaho State

Last Week: Bye

This Week: vs Sacramento State

My Ranking: 6

People are down on the Bengals, but not his guy.

They may be 0-2 to start the year but those loses are to #10 North Dakota and MWC frontrunner Nevada.

I think others will come around to Vanderwaal and the Bengal-Cats if they can pull off a thorough stomping of Sac State.

11. Idaho

Last Week: L @ Oregon State 0-42

This Week: Bye

My Ranking: 9

Look Idaho has done nothing to earn a higher spot on this list. But much like Weber they are exactly where we thought they would be.

The glass half full outlook is 1-2 with a lower division win (tighter) and P5 blowouts losses (by more) was how the 2016 Vandal campaign started. They ended the year 9-4 on a 5 game win streak with the crown jewel being 2 touchdown dogs and blowing out a MWC side in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

If you want to know more listen to our podcast episode this week.

12. Northern Colorado

Last Week: L vs Lamar 10-17 (OT)

This Week: vs Northern Arizona

My Ranking: 10

Start the year down, put together some road preformance that got people to take notice and then they lose home opener vs a bad Lamar side.

Northern Colorado may just be Northern Colorado still. The hope was fun while it lasted.

13. Cal Poly

Last Week: L vs South Dakota 14-48

This Week: @ #4 Montana

My Ranking:12

I mean, people believe in Baldwin, just not yet.

*** As always I”m not an journalist so, take your gramatical error comments, & put them in a beg some-Where. Hope you enjoyed the content regarless if you maid it too dis disclaimer 

😉

Who Will Win The Big Sky?

The Big Sky is one of the deepest conference top to bottom. Predicting a winner is difficult. Last year was my first attempt to take emotion out of it and use analytics to predict the winner. How I did this was combination of a “True Skill Ranking” and “Strength of Schedule” calculation.

Before we get into this year. It is a fair question to ask, How did last year go? How accurate is this? It is a little difficult to compare as I originally completed predicitons before five Big Sky Schools opted out of Spring. Lets look anyway with removing the teams that did not play and adjusting.

Predicted FinishTeamPredicted RecordActual FinishTeamActual Record
1Weber State6-01Weber State5-0
2E.Washington5-12E.Washington5-1
t3UC Davis4-2t3UC Davis3-2
t3N.Arizona4-2t3N.Arizona3-2
5Idaho2-4t5Idaho2-4
t-6Idaho State1-5t5Idaho State2-4
t-6Cal Poly1-57S.Utah1-5
8S.Utah0-68Cal Poly0-3

I will let you all determine if this was succesful or not, especially with last springs circumstances. But at least now you know how it did.

This season will be a test as all 13 current Big Sky Football Conference teams are playing. This is also only looking at the conference schedule. The out of conference schedule has not been included. Also the database used to calculate my True Skill rankings are not released yet. These prediciton are stricly of SOS and leave room for updating before conference kickoff.

Before we get into predicitons, lets take a look at some of the oddities of the 2nd annual Strength of Schedule Tub Table.

Obviously this system is not perfect, I am the first to acknowledge this. As Weber State (Preseason pick to win conference) benefits from not playing themselves and vice versa Northern Colorado and Cal Poly are punished for not playing themselves.

That being said it is the second time in as many seasons Weber State has the path of least resistance to win the championship. Montana State and Eastern Washington have a weird scenario too. Eastern Washington has the toughest schedule at home (Montana,Idaho,Weber & Montana State). While Montana State has toughest road schedule (Portland State, Weber State, Eastern Washington & Montana). Then they swap and Eastern has the least difficult road schedule. While Montana State has by far the easiest schedule at home. sidenote, I honestly wonder how season ticket sales are going with no Choate, 18 months of no football and a lackluster home schedule.

If you are looking for this years dark horse, Northern Arizona harbors 3rd easiest schedule and only by 2 points. The Standard Deviation for strength of schedule is 9.4. Being only 2 points off from easiest schedule is a big benefit to the lumberjacks of Flagstaff. To their defense, Shaun Rainey of SWX Montana and Colter Nuanez of Skyline Sports have been high on Portland State, Even saying they are top four in big sky. They do have 5th easiest schedule in the conference and could be one of those annual dark horses the big sky seems to get every year.

Okay enough of me nerding out over schedule strength statistics that really dont mean anything once the ball is kicked off to what you are all here for… using those useless statistics to make analytical predictions for each team in the conference.

t13. Cal Poly 0-8

t13. Northern Colorado 0-8

11. Southern Utah 1-7

t10. Portland State 2-6

t10. Idaho State 2-6

8. Idaho 3-5

t5.Northern Arizona 5-3

t5. Montana State 5-3

t5. UC Davis 5-3

t3. Eastern Washington 7-1

t3. Sac State 7-1

t1. Montana 8-0

t1. Weber State 8-0

Reminder these are not my predictions. You can tune into our live youtube show August 10th around 8 PT with Skyline Sports Colter Nuanez to hear how myself and the rest of the team think conference season will go.

*** As always I”m not an journalist so, take your gramatical error comments, & put them in a beg some-Where. Hope you enjoyed the content regarless if you maid it too dis disclaimer 😉