Tubs Preseason Big Sky Poll

We submitted three polls to the conference office. Here is how the three of us voted and why.

Chris
Brian
Dallas
1Weber StateMontanaWeber State
2EWUMontana StateEWU
3MontanaWeber StateMontana
4UC DavisEWUSac State
5Montana StateSac StateMontana State
6NAUUC DavisUC Davis
7Idaho StateIdahoIdaho State
8IdahoIdaho StateNAU
9SUUUNCIdaho
10Sac StateSUUSUU
11Cal PolyPortland StatePortland State
12UNCNAUUNC
13Portland StateCal PolyCal Poly

For those of you that read our Preseason All-Conference Team post you can see our picks for All-Conference lead to our opinions on our polls.

Further Explanations

Chris:

  • Weber State at 1 – The Wildcats return possibly the best Secondary in the FCS. Three members of the secondary made our All-Tubs Team. Bronson Barron (technically a true freshman still) had barely been on campus and had to compete for starting job last season. That is not the case this fall, he will be receiving all the reps. Pair that with former Jerry Rice Award winner Josh Davis and an emerging stable of backs returning. The Achilles heel of this program, the offense, has to take a step forward. Even if the offense doesn’t improve, they have still won four straight Big Sky titles. Why would I bet against them?

  • Montana at 3 – Look even with some “?” still at QB. This team returns a lot of talent. How bad could it be when you get to throw to Maybe the best WR in the FCS, Sammy Akem. If the QB works out, they could easily win the conference. But right now with Weber returning Bronson & Eastern returning EB3, I gave them the SMALL nod over the Griz. Its going to be a close race this year.

  • Sacramento State at 10 – I understand I’m sticking my neck out with this one. I just think the 2019 season was a flash in the pan. I expect this team to be closer to their 42-28 home playoff loss to start the playoffs, more then the 49-22 win vs the Griz. The Hornets in my opinion benefited greatly from being a sleeper until about half way through the 2019 season, an out of nowhere QB (who has since transferred out) and no one having tape on first time head ball coach Troy Taylor. I expect them to struggle early and maybe make a charge late. Are they the 10th best team in conference probably not, probably a bit better. But weeks 1 thru 6 I expect them to play below where most people have them. Most throw out the easy schedule this year as a reason to have them high. I think the easy schedule will catch them sleep walking with rust early. Though lighting can strike the same spot twice…

Brian:

  • Weber State at 3 – Defending Big Sky champion Weber State (finally) looks vulnerable. The Wildcats won a single spring game by a margin greater than a touchdown–with all of those nail biters coming against teams that will be picked in the bottom half of this fall’s season–but Weber’s schedule, and Jay Hill’s tendency to just never lose games he shouldn’t, makes a 6-2 (in conference) floor all but locked in.

  • Idaho at 7 – This vote was a strict judgement of talent–which should put Idaho not in the top tier of the conference, but close enough to talk yourself into yet another but maybe this year discussion.

    Which is lunacy.

    We all know the Idaho blueprint from the previous three years: stay competitive at home, but faceplant on the road. Hang with, or knock off a playoff-level team, then stumble in comical fashion against the Northern Colorados, or Northern Arizonas occupying league’s bottom tier. Never mind that Idaho has its toughest league schedule since rejoining the Big Sky. 

    So yes: in my written-in-blood preseason poll, Idaho sits at number seven. And yes: the moment my poll was officially sent, I could not believe their slot was higher than ten.

  • Northern Colorado at 9 – Consider Northern Colorado a composite character of Idaho, Idaho State, Southern Utah, and Northern Arizona: it’s an absolute crap shoot rating any of those teams above each other. Before the Bears land higher than ninth, we’ll need to see the fruits of Coach McCaffrey produce. The talent influx following McCaffrey alone will make Northern Colorado at least good enough to spoil someone else’s playoff hopes, but with the promising spring efforts from other projected lower-tier teams, there’s too crowded a field of candidates to repeat the out-of-nowhere rises of UC Davis and Sacramento State to rate Northern Colorado much higher.   

Dallas:

  • Eastern Washington at 2 – Eric Barriere is one of the best players in the entire FCS, and when you have a quarterback like him running the show, you’re going to have at least a puncher’s chance in every game. Yes, their questionable defense allowed 35 straight points in the first round of the spring playoffs to a weakened North Dakota State. Yes, the receivers drop more passes than they should. Yes, they have an extremely tough conference schedule this year. But, their three toughest games (Montana, Montana State, Weber State) are all in Cheney this year and I’d expect they win two of the three to keep themselves just behind Weber in the conference standings. Even in their last true down year (2015, when Vernon Adams transferred to play his final year at Oregon), they tied for fourth in conference, going 5-3 with two losses to ranked teams.

  • UC Davis at 6 – UC Davis has a deep cast of receivers, a solid defense (as Vandal fans likely remember), and one of the best running backs in the conference. QB Hunter Rodrigues had 21 FCS passes to his name coming into 2021 and may have benefited more from the spring season than any other athlete. So why do I have them sixth? Weber State, Eastern Washington, and the Montana schools certainly look better on paper and should all slot in as top five finishers, even if they trade losses around. I don’t see the Aggies beating Weber State (and yes, I know they had a double digit lead on the Wildcats last season) or Eastern Washington. Even if they beat Sacramento State in the Causeway Classic to finish the year, I don’t think a game in hand on the Hornets helps, courtesy of the absolute gift of a schedule Sacramento State got this year. Nothing against UC Davis, but a top five finish doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

  • Idaho at 9 – Every year it seems I talk myself into Idaho finally becoming a bully in the Big Sky. Take one look at the schedule and you’ll realize why I’m not doing that this year. The Vandals could be favored in three of their four home conference games, but even if they won out at home with an upset of Montana, they will not be favored in a single road game this season. I don’t think they win a single game outside of Moscow this year, even without Paul Petrino’s track record of failure away from the Kibbie Dome. There’s plenty of talent on this team, just like there was in the spring, but I don’t see any reason to believe that it magically clicks this season. 4-4 in conference is the ceiling for this team if things go well, and 2-6 is certainly on the table. We’re looking at another long year.

2021 All-Tubs Preseason Big Sky Conference Team

Here is our votes for the All-Conference team.

Offesensive Player of The Year: Eric Barriere! (EWU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: None

Defensive Player of The Year: Tre Walker (Idaho)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Jace Lewis (UM)

Quarterback: Eric Barriere (EWU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Tyler Vander Waal (ISU)

Running Back: Ulonzo Gilliam (UCD) | Josh Davis! (WSU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Isaiah Ifanse (MSU)

Fullback: Logan Kendall! (Idaho)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: NONE

Wide Receiver: Tanner Conner (ISU) | Samuel Akem (UM) | Hayden Hatten* (Idaho)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Pierre Williams (SAC), Talolo Limu-Jones (EWU), Hendrix Johnson (NAU), Brandon Porter (NAU)

Tight End: Marshel Martin (SAC)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: McCallan Castles (UCD)

Offensive Line: Lewis Kidd (MSU) | Taylor Tuiasosopo (MSU) |Conner Pettek (UCD) | Ty Whitworth (WSU) | Tristen Taylor (EWU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Braxton Jones (SUU), MAtthew Faupusa (Idaho), Zach Reed (MSU), Terron Carey (ISU)

Defensive Line: George Tarlas (WSU) | Jared Scheiss! (WSU) | Alex Gubner (UM) | Charles Akanno (Idaho)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Bryce Rodgers (UCD), Mitchell Johnson (EWU), Amandre Williams (MSU)

Linebacker: Troy Anderson (MSU) | Tre Walker! (Idaho) | Jace Lewis! (UM) | La’Akea Kaho’Ohanohano-Davis! (SUU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Conner Mortensen (WSU)

Defensive Back: Eddie Heckard (WSU) | Anthony Adams! (PSU) | Preston Smith (WSU) | Desmond Williams (WSU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Jordan Perryman (UCD), Anthony Sweeney (NAU), Morgan Vest (NAU)

Kicker: Luis Aguilar! (NAU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: None

Punter: DJ Arnson (NAU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Daniel Whelan (UCD)

Returner: Rashid Shaheed (WSU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: Nick Romano (Idaho)

Long Snapper:Justin Hathoot* (NAU)

OTHER RECEIVING VOTES: JOhn Aloma (UCD), Matthew O’Donoghue (UM)

Safe to say the Big Sky is pretty deep. The previous team of the decade only has two players selected, it is a testimate to the talent in this conference. As most people would consider EWU to be dangerous again in 2021.

The Numbers By School:

Cal Poly: 0 sad face for Baldwin and co.

Eeastern Washington: 1 MVP, 2 All-Conference, 2 Honorable Mention

Idaho: 1 MVP, 4 All-Conference, 2 Honorable Mentions

Idaho state: 1 All-Conference, 2 Honorable Mentions

Montana: 1 MVP vote, 3 All-Conference, 1 Honorable Metions

Montana State: 2 All-Conference, 3 Honorable Mentions

Northern Arizona: 3 All-Conference, 4 Honorable Mentions

Northern Colorado: 0, sad face for McCaffery and co.

Portland State: 1 All-Conference

UC Davis: 2 All-Conference, 3 Honorable Mentions

Sacramento State: 1 All-Conference, 1 Honorable Mentions

Southern Utah: 1 All-Conference, 1 Honorable Mention

Weber State: 7 All-Conference, 1 Honorable Mention

The Weber State Wildcats lead the way in terms of representation. NAU almost swept special teams. We may have gone to homer on Idaho, I dont think so. Do these coordinate to our preseason conference polls? Take a look: https://tubsattheclub.com/2021/07/23/tubs-preseason-big-sky-poll/

CHRISBRIAN DALLAS
OMVPEric BarriereEric BarriereEric Barriere
DMVPTre WalkerJace LewisTre Walker
QBTyler Vander WaalEric BarriereEric Barriere
WRHendrix JohnsonTanner ConnerTanner Conner
WRSamuel AkemSamuel AkemHayden Hatten
WRBrandon PorterPierre WilliamsTalolo Limu-Jones
TLewis KiddLewis KiddBraxton Jones
TTristen Taylor Tristen Taylor
GMatthew FaupusaTaylor TuiasosopoTaylor Tuiasosopo
GZach ReedTy WhitworthTy Whitworth
CTerron CareyConnor PettekConnor Pettek
TEMcCallan CastlesMarshel MartinMashel Martin
RBUlonzo GilliamIsaiah IfanseUlonzo Gilliam
RBJosh DavisJosh DavisJosh Davis
FBLogan KendallLogan KendallLogan Kendall
PKLuis AguilarLuis AguilarLuis Aguilar
RSNick RomanoRashid ShaheedRashid Shaheed
DTJared ScheissJared ScheissJared Scheiss
DTAlex GubnerAlex GubnerBryce Rodgers
DEGeorge TarlasGeorge TarlasMitchell Johnson
DECharles AkannoCharles AkannoAmandre Williams
OLBTroy AndersonTroy AndersonConner Mortensen
OLBLa’Akea Kaho Ohanohano-DavisLa’Akea Kaho Ohanohano-DavisLa’Akea Kaho Ohanohano-Davis
ILBTre WalkerTre WalkerTre Walker
ILBJace LewisJace LewisJace Lewis
CBEddie HeckardEddie HeckardJordan Perryman
CBAnthony AdamsAnthony AdamsAnthony Adams
SAnthony SweeneyPreston SmithPreston Smith
SDesmond WilliamsDesmond WilliamsMorgan Vest
PDJ ArnsonDJ ArnsonDaniel Whelan
LSJohn AlomaMatthew OdonoghueJustin Hathoot

*** As always I’m not a journalist. so just put your gramatics comments where the sun dont shine (aka Albertson Stadium)