(Editor's note: Big Sky Conference media release)
FARMINGTON, Utah -- Weber State has been tabbed as the Big Sky Conference preseason favorite in the head coaches and the media polls, released Thursday by the league office.
Head coach Jay Hill and the Wildcats have won at least a share of the regular season crown the past three seasons. Weber State earned 28 first-place votes from the media and seven first-place votes from the head coaches.
“I’ve always said preseason rankings don’t mean a lot but it’s nice to be recognized,” Hill said. “Hopefully this gets us excited for what we are working toward, which is to finish the season ranked No. 1, not just the preseason No. 1.”
Weber State is coming off a 2019 campaign that saw the program make its third consecutive Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Playoff appearance, including a trip to the semifinals. The Wildcats have recorded three straight seasons of 10 or more wins and finished 2019 ranked No. 3 in the FCS polls.
“We have had big expectations in our program the last few years and I think our players have handled that very well,” said Hill. “Now we have to take another step and find a way to raise those expectations even higher.”
The Montana Grizzlies were voted second in both polls with 496 points and eight first-place votes by the media, and 128 points and three first-place votes by the head coaches. Coach Bobby Hauck and his team enter 2020 hot off a 2019 season that saw the Griz earn 10 victories and advance to the quarterfinals of the playoffs.
Third in the voting was Jeff Choate and the Montana State Bobcats. With back-to-back playoff appearances and an 11-win record last season, the Bobcats received 493 points and six first-place votes from the media. Montana State earned 121 points and one first-place vote from the head coaches.
Eastern Washington, Sacramento State and UC Davis filled out the 4 through 6 spots in both polls. The Eagles received 438 points and one first-place vote by the media while earning one first-place vote and 118 points from the head coaches. Last year’s co-champion Sacramento State picked up 389 points from the media and 99 points and one first-place vote from the head coaches. The Aggies received 325 points and one first-place vote from the media and 83 points from the head coaches.
Filling out the media poll was Portland State (7th - 274 pts), Idaho (8th - 273 pts), Northern Arizona (9th - 238 pts), Cal Poly (10th - 206 pts), Idaho State (11th - 133 pts), Southern Utah (12th - 105 pts), and Northern Colorado (13th - 88 pts).
In the head coaches poll, there was a slight shift with Northern Arizona receiving 68 points for seventh, followed by Portland State (8th- 67 pts), Idaho (9th- 66 pts), Cal Poly (10th- 46 pts), Idaho State (11th- 37 pts), Southern Utah (12th- 33 pts), and Northern Colorado (13th- 13 pts).
Six different Big Sky teams earned at least one first-place vote proving that the league has plenty of talent across the board and a strong presence in the FCS.
The Big Sky will announce its preseason all-conference team and preseason offensive and defensive most valuable players on Friday during the Big Sky Football Virtual Kickoff on Pluto TV Ch. 530.
2020 Big Sky Football Preseason Coaches’ Poll