(Editor’s note: Big Sky Conference media release)
SPOKANE, Wash. — Eastern Washington was picked to win the Big Sky Conference title as the Eagles earned the top spot in both the coaches and media polls, announced today by the league at the Football Kickoff being held at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane.
The Eagles, who are coming off a 12-win season and a trip to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Game, received 140 points and 10 first-place votes in the coaches poll. In the media poll, Eastern Washington collected 25 first-place votes to sit atop the poll with 536 points.
Head Coach Aaron Best and his squad finished No. 2 in the FCS STATS and AFCA Coaches poll. The Eagles return with a top five preseason ranking. Eastern Washington set several Big Sky marks in 2018, including scoring (647 points) and touchdowns (86) records.
“We are humbled and grateful to the coaches and media for determining our football team as the Big Sky Conference preseason No. 1 team,” said Eastern Washington Head Coach Aaron Best. “Everyone aspires to be No. 1, and our mission will be to be champions at the end of the 2019 campaign after all the scores have been kept.”
UC Davis and Weber State were picked 2-3 in both polls. The Aggies, who are coming off their first playoff appearance and a 10-win season, earned 127 points and two first-place votes by the coaches to edge the Wildcats by three points. The media recognized UC Davis with 13 first-place votes and a 38-point advantage over Weber State.
The Wildcats earned four first-place votes from the media, as they are coming off a quarterfinal FCS playoff appearance coupled with a 10-win season. With the most returning all-conference players than any other team, Weber State enters the 2019 campaign with three consecutive playoff appearances under its belt.
Eastern Washington, UC Davis and Weber State were all named Big Sky Co-Champions in 2018.
Montana was ranked fourth by the coaches with 104 points and one first-place vote. The media picked the Griz to finish in fifth place with 396 points and a first-place vote. The Griz are led by Bobby Hauck, who became Montana’s winningest coach in 2018.
The roles were reversed for Montana State, as the Bobcats were voted fifth by the coaches with 100 points and fourth by the media with 417 points. Montana State, a top 25 team at the end of last season, picked up a first-round win in the FCS playoffs and tallied eight wins.
Rounding out the Coaches Poll was Northern Arizona (88 points), Idaho State (72 points), Idaho (65 points), Cal Poly (56 points), Portland State (42 points), Sacramento State (40 points), Southern Utah (38 points), and Northern Colorado (19 points).
Northern Arizona was also voted sixth by the media (302 points), followed by Idaho State (285 points), Idaho (248 points), Cal Poly (196 points), Portland State (178 points), Southern Utah (160 points), Sacramento State (125 points), and Northern Colorado (90 points).
2019 Big Sky Football Preseason Polls
1. Eastern Washington (10) – 140
2. UC Davis (2) – 127
3. Weber State – 124
4. Montana (1) – 104
5. Montana State – 100
6. Northern Arizona – 88
7. Idaho State – 72
8. Idaho – 65
9. Cal Poly – 56
10. Portland State – 42
11. Sacramento State – 40
12. Southern Utah – 38
13. Northern Colorado – 19
() Denotes First-Place Votes
1. Eastern Washington – 536 (25)
2. UC Davis – 510 (13)
3. Weber State – 472 (4)
4. Montana State – 417
5. Montana – 396 (1)
6. Northern Arizona – 302
7. Idaho State – 285
8. Idaho – 248
9. Cal Poly – 196
10. Portland State – 178
11. Southern Utah – 160
12. Sacramento State – 125
13. Northern Colorado – 90
() Denotes First-Place Votes