BOZEMAN — Parity is something that grows each year in the Big Sky Conference. It’s a league that becomes tougher and tougher to win.
Entering this week, six teams from the conference sit in the Top 25 with 2-1 Montana State leading the pack at No. 3, where it has been ranked all season.
The Bobcats start conference play in Ogden, Utah, to take on No. 10 Weber State on Saturday.
“To win our conference, you can’t lose a game," Bobcats coach Brent Vigen said. "Whether that’s going to repeat itself this year, I don’t know, but that’s what starts for us here on Saturday.
"There’s a lot of teams that are capable of doing big things this year. Lots of universities that are invested in football right now, and that’s a good thing for our league.”
Vigen acknowledged in his postgame press conference after last week's 57-20 win over Stetson how it’s human nature to treat games with higher-ranked opponents to a higher degree.
However, the Bobcats really fight against this notion and treat every game with the same level of intensity.
Weber State is just one opponent among many rough road games on MSU's schedule.
“We know at the end of the day, it’s one game at a time," Bobcats safety Dru Polidore said. "We can’t look ahead to Weber State and blow a game to Stetson, and that just sets you back further at the end of the day. We knew we wanted to win, we knew we could win, we knew we should win. And at the end of the day, that’s all we were focused on doing last week.”
Bobcats tight end Derryk Snell reflected the same sentiment when explaining how their team doesn't look too far ahead.
“Got to be where your feet are kind of. Just being able to look at the schedule, and say, “Oh, we have all these tough teams,” Snell said. "You got to accept that, accept the challenge, and just one foot at a time. Right now it happens to be Weber.”
The Bobcats, like many teams across the landscape in Week 4, are dealing with injuries. Quarterback Tommy Mellott will once again be sidelined this Saturday for an apparent leg injury he sustained during the South Dakota State game in Week 2.
Vigen acknowledged Mellott being key to their run game against the Wildcats last season. However, this year the running backs room has a different look and better health. And, their offense has a strength to adapt as they go with quarterback Sean Chambers at the helm.
“We’re an offense that can take on some different forms," Vigen said. "I think we’re continuing to figure that out. Being able to lean on that running back position, continue to develop on the passing side of things. With the tight ends, find a way to get them involved. I do think, through three games, the offensive line is playing really well.”
Every member of the team is ready if their number is called.
“You know you've always got to be ready," Snell said. "People get hurt, it’s part of the game. You know, you got to accept your role for that, and you know, people will do this on this team. That’s why this team is so relentless, and yeah, this team is great.”
It's a next-man-up mentality for the Bobcats.
The game kicks off at 6 p.m. and will be televised by the Montana Television Network.