Montana Grizzlies among 3 Big Sky Conference teams in AFCA FCS Coaches’ Top 25 Poll

Posted at 11:58 AM, Aug 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-13 16:18:57-04

(Editor’s note: Big Sky Conference media release)

WACO, Texas – The first-ever AFCA FCS Coaches’ Top 25 Poll is out and the Big Sky Conference has three teams listed in the preseason poll. The AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) begins administration of the FCS poll for the first time, which had been run by the Southern Conference. The AFCA also administers coaches’ polls in Division II and Division III.

Eastern Washington took the top spot for the league as it was slated No. 7. The Eagles, the Big Sky preseason favorite, have all-American quarterback Gage Gubrud returning for his senior year. Eastern Washington just missed out on the playoffs a year ago with a 7-4 overall record. Led by head coach Aaron Best, the Eagles have a very competitive slate in 2018.

Weber State was slotted at No. 8 in the AFCA FCS Top 25 Coaches’ Poll. With a school record 11 wins and an FCS Quarterfinals appearance last season, the Wildcats are rolling into 2018 ready to repeat as league champions. The Wildcats were picked second in the Big Sky preseason poll and had the most players named to the preseason all-conference team with six.

Montana entered the poll at No. 25. The Griz and head coach Bobby Hauck set to take the field this season ready to make a return to the playoffs after a 7-4 season. Hauck brings a winning resume and a lot of tradition back to Missoula. Josh Buss, the conference preseason defensive player of the year, will guide the Griz this season.

North Dakota State topped the poll with 23 first-place votes. James Madison, South Dakota State, Sam Houston State and Kennesaw State rounded out the top five.

Idaho (41), Northern Arizona (36), Southern Utah (11), and Sacramento State (9) all received votes in the poll giving the Big Sky seven teams that earned votes.

The Big Sky season gets under way on Thursday, Aug. 30 with three conference teams set to take the field: Montana State versus Western Illinois, Weber State at Utah, and UC Davis at San Jose State.

2018 AFCA FCS Coaches Preseason Poll

*First-place votes and total points at right

1. North Dakota St. (23) 647
2. James Madison (3) 623
3. South Dakota St. 579
4. Sam Houston St. 557
5. Kennesaw St. 543
6. Jacksonville St. 530
7. Eastern Washington 454
8. Weber St. 446
9. New Hampshire 430
10. Samford 393
11. Wofford 340
12. Northern Iowa 338
13. Elon 319
14. North Carolina A&T 292
15. Central Arkansas 269
16. Delaware 257
17. Nicholls St. 241
18. McNeese St. 187
19. Villanova 165
20. Illinois St. 144
21. Furman 128
22. Stony Brook 120
23. Austin Peay 119
24. Youngstown St. 88
25. Montana 67

Others receiving votes: Idaho, 41; Northern Arizona, 36; Yale, 22; Grambling St., 14; Monmouth (N.J.), 12; Southern Utah, 11; Sacramento St., 9; Colgate, 8; South Dakota, 6; San Diego, 5; Richmond, 4; Western Illinois, 3; Western Carolina, 2; Lehigh, 1.