Another exciting week of Big Sky football is in the books and we’re now just a few short days away from playoff announcements. The playoff race in the Big Sky isn’t exactly the clearest picture. Right now all we can definitely say is that Eastern Washington and North Dakota are the only definite teams in. After that there is a race between Cal Poly, Weber State, Montana, and Northern Colorado. All of those teams are sitting with six wins. The odd team out in that scenario is Montana who have lost to Poly and Northern Colorado. This weekend Northern Colorado and Poly will lock up to see who gets the seventh win.
Weber State can get to seven wins if they beat Idaho State on the road, a task they should be able to complete. Montana can get to seven wins with a win over Montana State in Missoula this weekend. The above scenario will leave the playoff committee weighing Montana, Cal Poly/Northern Colorado, and Weber State and their playoff resumes. Northern Colorado could be odd man out with only six division one wins. The other three teams played scheduled made up of only division one teams.
That’s not to discredit the job that Ernest Collins has done at Northern Colorado, he’s been phenomenal for the Bears thus far. This will once again record another winning season during his tenure. They will also finish with a .500 record or better in conference play for the first time since 2012.
If you’re Montana you need to be hitting the panic button right now. The Griz will finish the season, at best, 4-4 in Big Sky conference play. The loss to Northern Colorado was killer. Despite the Griz’s woes this season their season is still alive. Cal Poly fans have to be sweating a little bit as well, after a loss to Weber State this past weekend. Sunday is going to be heartbreaking for a couple of fan bases in the Big Sky.
In other Big Sky news, North Dakota overcame a 21 point deficit at home to come back and beat Northern Arizona. Deion Harris intercepted a Blake Kemp and took it back 40 yards to seal the win for the Fighting Hawks. The Fighting Hawks will share a piece of the Big Sky championship for the first time since joining the conference.
BYU handily took care of business against Southern Utah in Provo this past weekend. Montana State took down UC-Davis. Eastern Washington continued their march towards the top of the FCS rankings by beating Idaho State. Sacramento State made a play to climb up the power poll and beat Portland State.
Onto rivalry week!
Northern Colorado 28
Northern Arizona 31
North Dakota 38
Cal Poly 15
Weber State 22
Southern Utah 7
UC Davis 13
Idaho State 17
Eastern Washington 48
Portland State 35
Sacramento State 42
Big Sky Player of the Week
This week’s Big Sky player of the week is Sacramento State running back Jordan Robinson. Robinson rushed for 262 yards and four touchdowns in their win vs Portland State.
Big Sky MVP Candidates
Gage Gabrud, QB, Eastern Washington. 16/27, 212 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington. 7 catches, 70 yards.
Joe Protheroe, RB, Cal Poly. 18 carries, 62 yards and 1 touchdown.
Big Sky Power Rankings
1. Eastern Washington
2. North Dakota
3. Weber State
4. Cal Poly
5. Northern Arizona
6. Northern Colorado
8. Southern Utah
9. Portland State
10. Idaho State
11. Sacramento State
12. Montana State
13. UC Davis
Looking Ahead to Week 12
The Big Sky football week kicks off with Eastern Washington headed to Portland to take on the Vikings. Montana State will travel across the Continental Divide to take on Montana in the Brawl of the Wild. Sacramento State is headed to across the causeway to take on UC-Davis. Weber State will travel up I-15 to take on Idaho State. Southern Utah is going south to take on Northern Arizona. In the night cap Northern Colorado takes on Cal Poly in a game that could have some playoff implication.
Final Thoughts and Hot Takes
– Four teams headed into the final week of the regular season fighting for one or two playoff spots. Something will have to give between Montana, Cal Poly, Weber State, and Northern Colorado.
– My prediction for the playoffs: Eastern Washington, North Dakota, Montana, Cal Poly are in.
– Rivalry week in the Big Sky is a week, even if your team isn’t good.
– If you’re North Dakota how do you score a bye week for the last week of the regular season plus that schedule. The Fighting Hawks have basically two weeks to rest up and get ready for a playoff push. Could be a dangerous team with fresh legs heading into the first rounds.
– I’ll go out on a short limb here and say the Cooper Kupp will be the Big Sky MVP this season. His teammate Gage Gabrud will be the runner-up.