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12.06.2019 11:06
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Three of the top four in last weeks College Football Playoff rankings lost this week, making room for those teams conference foes. With two weeks to go in the regular season, everything is different, and its awesome.?Power Rankings voters: Edward Aschoff, Butch Davis, Heather Dinich, Brad Edwards, Chris Fallica, Rod Gilmore, Danny Kanell, Chris Low, Ivan Maisel, Ryan McGee, Adam Rittenberg, Mark Schlabach | How they votedPrevious rankings: Week 1?|?Week 2 |?Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8| Week 9 | Week 101. Alabama Crimson Tide (10-0)Trending:Week 10 ranking: 1 Week 11 result:? Defeated Mississippi State 51-3Alabama didnt suffer a hangover after its win over LSU, as it stomped Mississippi State. Quarterback Jalen Hurts passed for a career-high 347 yards and four touchdowns and also ran for 100 yards and a score. Heisman candidate? Maybe. Its a pretty good bet that Alabama will remain unbeaten heading into the Iron Bowl. The Crimson Tide host Chattanooga next week.2.?Ohio State Buckeyes?(9-1)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?5 Week 11 result:?Defeated Maryland 62-3Ohio State dominated Maryland -- which was dressed in a garish head-to-toe florescent red. The score was identical to the Buckeyes beatdown of Nebraska last week. Perhaps the Buckeyes are trying to claw their way back into the CFP picture by running up the score? And who would have expected Ohio States visit to Michigan State next week to feel like a clunker? Still, the Buckeyes shouldnt look ahead to Michigan or they might get bitten.3.?Louisville Cardinals?(9-1)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?6 Week 11 result:?Defeated Wake Forest 44-12Louisville exploded in the fourth quarter, turning a close game with Wake Forest from a potential upset special into a blowout. The Cardinals piled up 346 rushing yards, with quarterback?Lamar Jackson?offering up 153 and running back?Brandon Radcliff?contributing 141. Remember when Louisvilles visit to Houston seemed like one of the seasons most significant games? Well, it could be if the Cardinal dont fully focus on that Thursday night matchup.4. Clemson Tigers?(9-1)Trending:?Week 10 ranking: 2 Week 11 result:?Lost to Pitt 43-42Clemson got 580 yards and three touchdowns from quarterback?Deshaun Watson, but Watson also threw three interceptions as the Tigers were clipped at home. The big question now is how the Tigers first defeat will be read by the CFP selection committee amid this weekends chaos? The Tigers still control their destiny in the ACC Atlantic, and if they win out, they seem fairly well positioned for the CFP. They visit Wake Forrest next weekend.5.?Michigan Wolverines?(9-1)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?3 Week 11 result: Lost to Iowa 14-13Michigan became the third member of this weeks College Football Playoffs top four to lose, going down at unranked Iowa, thereby hitting a reset button at the top of the rankings. The Wolverines offense sputtered against the Hawkeyes with just 201 total yards. The Wolverines play host to Indiana next weekend, needing to not look ahead to their visit to Ohio State on Nov. 26. The Wolverines will still win the Big Ten East if they win out.6. Washington Huskies?(9-1)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?4 Week 11 result: Lost to USC 26-13Washington is unbeaten no longer and wont be in in the debate for a top-four spot on Tuesday. The Trojans were in control most of the game, and their defense shut down an offense that had been averaging 48 points per game. Of course, the season -- and playoff hopes -- arent over. The Huskies can still win the Pac-12, and a one-loss Pac-12 champion will be in the CFP discussion. The Huskies host Arizona State next weekend.7.?Wisconsin Badgers?(8-2)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?7 Week 11 result: Defeated Illinois 48-3Wisconsin had no trouble dispatching Illinois, and the Badgers remain well-positioned in the Big Ten West. Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale both eclipsed 100 yards rushing, and the Illini offense got nothing going through the air or on the ground. The season-ending visit from Minnesota looms large on Nov. 26. The Badgers visit Purdue next week.8.?Penn State Nittany Lions?(8-2)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?10 Week 11 result:?Defeated Indiana 45-31The final score is deceiving. Penn States game at Indiana was in doubt until late in the fourth quarter, but a win is a win, and the Nittany Lions notched their sixth consecutive victory. Most important: They kept pace with Michigan and Ohio State in the Big Ten East. They should get their seventh win in a row at woeful Rutgers next weekend. If they win out and Ohio State beats Michigan, the Nittany Lions will win the Big Ten East.9.?Oklahoma Sooners?(8-2)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?9 Week 11 ?result:?Defeated Baylor 45-24Oklahoma improved to 7-0 in the Big 12 with a win over Baylor. It was the Sooners 15th consecutive win in conference play. Their drive to push their way back into the CFP discussion -- despite a 1-2 start -- will continue next week at West Virginia in a high-stakes Big 12 matchup.10.?Colorado Buffaloes?(8-2)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?13 Week 11 result:? Defeated Arizona 49-24?The Buffaloes play host to Pac-12 North contender Washington State on Saturday, a game that is a big matchup but -- perhaps curiously -- is not a must-win for eithers divisional hopes in the Pac-12.11.?West Virginia Mountaineers?(8-1)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?15 Week 11 result:? Defeated Texas 24-20Dana Holgorsen blew a gasket on the sideline before replay corrected a 12-men-on-the-field call, and West Virginia held on for a win at Texas. That victory sets up a key Big 12 matchup at home against Oklahoma, the winner becoming the conference front-runner and likely only hope for the CFP.12.?USC Trojans?(7-3)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?23 Week 11 result:?Defeated Washington 26-13USC, written off after a 1-3 start, took down No. 4 Washington behind a dominant defense and an offense led by poised redshirt freshman quarterback?Sam Darnold. The Huskies had been averaging 48 points per game, but they had just 276 yards and 13 first downs against the Trojans. Huskies quarterback?Jake Browning?entered the game with just three interceptions, but he threw two against the Trojans. USC still has a shot to win the Pac-12s South Division if Colorado and Utah both lose again. The Trojans will conclude their conference slate at UCLA on Saturday.13.?Utah Utes?(8-2)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?12 Week 11 result:?Defeated Arizona State 49-26Utah exploded on Arizona State, turning a close game into a Thursday night blowout with big plays on offense and defense. The Utes continue to be in the thick of the Pac-12 South division hunt. And if they win out -- over Oregon on Saturday and at Colorado in a potentially huge season finale -- they could work their way into the CFP discussion with a win in the Pac-12 title game.14.?Oklahoma State Cowboys?(8-2)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?18 Week 11 result:?Defeated Texas Tech 45-44Oklahoma State and Texas Tech combined for more than 1,100 yards of offense, but the Cowboys scored one more point, thereby keeping their Big 12 title hopes alive. The Cowboys will be at TCU on Saturday, needing a win to ensure the stakes are high for the Bedlam showdown with rival Oklahoma on Dec. 3.15.?Western Michigan Broncos?(10-0)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?20 Week 11 result:? Defeated Kent State 37-21Western Michigan became the nations first 10-win team on Tuesday with a victory over Kent State, maintaining its position as the Group of 5s leader. The Broncos fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter but dominated thereafter. They will host Buffalo on Saturday.16.?LSU Tigers?(6-3)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?17 Week 11 result:?Defeated Arkansas 38-10There was no LSU-Alabama hangover for either team, as LSU also rolled impressively on Saturday, whipping Arkansas. Running back?Derrius Guice?rushed for 252 yards -- 12.0 yards per carry -- to lead a dominant rushing attack, while LSUs defense was in complete control. The Tigers will play their rescheduled game with Florida -- previously postponed because of Hurricane Matthew -- on Saturday.17.?Washington State Cougars?(8-2)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?21 Week 11 result:? Defeated Cal 56-21The Cougars will visit Colorado on Saturday, a battle of ranked teams that nonetheless wont have a lot of relevance in the Pac-12 race as both can lose and still win their respective divisions.18.?Florida State Seminoles?(7-3)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?22 Week 11 result:? Defeated Boston College 45-7?Florida State produced a rare fast start against Boston College and then coasted to victory on Friday. The Seminoles got 108 yards rushing from?Dalvin Cook, and?Deondre Francois?threw three touchdown passes. FSU will visit Syracuse on Saturday.19.?Nebraska Cornhuskers?(8-2)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?19 Week 11 result:?Defeated Minnesota 24-17Its pretty clear that, whatever his shortcomings, Nebraska quarterback?Tommy Armstrong Jr. is a tough son of a gun. A week after getting knocked out against Ohio State, and then suffering an ankle injury against Minnesota in the third quarter, he came off the bench to lead the Cornhuskers to victory. He passed for 217 yards and two scores and rushed for 61 yards. The Cornhuskers host Maryland on Saturday.20.?Auburn Tigers?(7-3)Trending:?Week 10 ranking: 8 Week 11 result: Lost to Georgia 13-7Auburns offense fell comatose at Georgia, as the Tigers failed to record a first down in the second half of a 13-7 defeat. The loss ended a six-game winning streak and, more notable, made Alabama the SEC West champion regardless of what happens in Iron Bowl. The Tigers should whip Alabama .... A&M next weekend in advance of their visit to Tuscaloosa.21.?Texas A&M Aggies?(7-3)Trending:?Week 10 ranking: 11 Week 11 result:? Lost to Ole Miss 29-28Two weeks ago, Texas A&M was ranked fourth and in the CFP rankings. After losing to Ole Miss, the Aggies are in danger of falling out of the top 25 after a third loss in four games. Ole Miss true freshman quarterback?Shea Patterson?led the Rebels back from a 21-6 hole to a big road win, passing for 338 yards and two scores. That Aggies play host to UTSA next weekend in advance of closing their season at home against LSU.22.?Boise State Broncos?(9-1)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?25 Week 11 result:? Defeated Hawaii 52-16Boise State blew out Hawaii behind 338 yards passing and four touchdowns from quarterback?Brett Rypien. The Broncos piled up a season-high 603 yards against the Rainbow Warriors. With Wyoming losing at UNLV, Boise State could still sneak into the Mountain West title game if the Cowboys go down again. Boise State hosts UNLV on Friday.23.?Florida Gators?(7-2)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?24 Week 11 ?result:? Defeated South Carolina 20-7Florida whipped former coach Will Muschamp and an offensively challenged South Carolina team Saturday, with the Gamecocks gaining just 256 total yards. The Gators can clinch the SEC East title with a win at LSU on Saturday, a game that was rescheduled after a postponement due to Hurricane Matthew in early October.24.?Virginia Tech Hokies?(7-3)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?16 Week 11 result:?Lost to Georgia Tech 30-20After North Carolina lost to Duke, Virginia Tech was positioned to clinch the ACC Coastal Division, but the Hokies were upset by Georgia Tech 30-20, the Yellow Jackets rushing for 309 yards. The Hokies are still in good shape to win the division, though. They visit Notre Dame next week and then only need to win at home against 2-8 Virginia in the season finale to win the Coastal.25.?Stanford Cardinal?(7-3)Trending:?Week 10 ranking:?NR Week 11 ?result:?Defeated Oregon 52-27Stanfords dominant win at Oregon -- wow, did that used to mean a lot more in days of yore -- gave the Cardinal a third consecutive victory, reversing a midseason swoon. Keller Chryst has emerged at QB, passing for 258 yards against the Ducks, while running back Christian McCaffrey is back on track with 135 yards and three TDs. It was his third consecutive game over 100 yards rushing and hes scored six TDs during that span. Up next is the Big Game at reeling California.Out of the rankings:?North CarolinaOthers receiving votes:?Arkansas, Baylor, Wyoming, San Diego State, Navy, Temple, Tennessee, Houston, Minnesota Custom Thunder Jersey China . -- Stanford squashed Oregons national championship hopes again, schooling the Ducks in power football. Authentic Custom Thunder Jersey . 24 Baylor in a Big 12 clash between teams trending in opposite directions. Andrew Wiggins made 10-of-12 from the foul line and scored 17 for Kansas (14-4, 5-0 Big 12), which capped a stretch of four straight games against ranked opponents unscathed. http://www.customthunderjersey.com/ . Booth picked up 65 caps after making her national team debut in 2002 at the age of 17. She most recently played for Sky Blue FC of the National Womens Soccer League. "It just felt like it was my time to move on," she said in a phone interview from her hometown of Burlington, Ont. Cheap Custom Thunder Jersey . Pettersen, winner of last years Evian Championships, had nine birdies and three bogeys, holding off a series of challengers led by Marion Ricordeau of France. The second-ranked Norwegian made her season debut after missing the LPGA Tours opening event last month in the Bahamas because of a shoulder injury. Cheap Thunder Jerseys . They were putting most of their energy into a record-setting offensive display. (STATS) -- Clearly, theres uncertainty about Eastern Washington bouncing back this season.It makes so much sense the Eagles would come back strong considering they are a perennial FCS power -- winning the national title in 2010 and capturing three straight Big Sky Conference titles from 2012-14.But even the people who know Eastern Washington best appear to have reservations. In the Big Skys two preseason polls, the Eagles were picked fourth by the coaches and third by the media.Theyre playing one of the tougher non-conference schedules in the FCS and then open conference play at Northern Arizona, the preseason favorite in both polls.They also have to solve defensive shortcomings and will be starting an entirely new offensive line.So last years 6-5 finish, including 5-3 in the Big Sky, may not be an anomaly. Getting back to the top will be tough in the nations largest FCS conference.It was different in terms of what weve experienced the years before, ninth-year coach Beau Baldwin said. There have been other years in which weve been in similar spots, but its a fine line.I go back to 2010 when we were fortunate enough to win the whole thing. We could have been 4-7 that year, we could of. I mean, I know we found a way and then we kind of rolled and won those playoff games, but its just such a fine line with what could go happen -- a play here, a play there, an injury or stay healthy, whatever it might be.Bolstering Eastern Washingtons chance this season is the return of wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who contemplated entering the 2016 NFL Draft before he announced he would play his senior season. He was the 2015 STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year.Following is a team-by-team breakdown of the 2016 Big Sky Conference race and STATS predicted order of finish:1. Montana2. Eastern Washington3. Northern Arizona4. North Dakota5. Weber State6. Portland State7. Southern Utah8. Montana State9. Cal Poly10. Sacramento State11. Northern Colorado12. UC Davis13. Idaho State---=TEAM CAPSULES=1. MONTANA GRIZZLIES=LOCATION: Missoula, MontanaSTADIUM: Washington-Grizzly StadiumCOACH: Bob Stitt (8-5 in one season at Montana; 116-67-1 overall)LAST SEASON: 8-5 overall, 6-2 Big Sky (Tie/2nd)STARTERS RETURNING: 10 (7 offense/3 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Jamaal Jones, WR; Tyrone Holmes, DE; Kendrick Van Ackeren, LBONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: Brady Gustafson, QB, R-Sr. (167-for-290, 1,984 yards, 12 TDs, 9 INTs)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Caleb Kidder, DE, R-Sr. (89 TT, 10 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT, 6 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 FR, 1 BK)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: John Nguyen, RB, Sr.; James Homan, WR, Jr.; Lane Hovey, WR, R-Sr. (Nebraska transfer); Lamarriel Taylor, WR, So. (Massachusetts transfer); Jerry Louie-McGee, WR, R-Fr.; Jackson Thiebes, OL, R-Sr.; Ben Weyer, C, R-Sr.; Devon Dietrich, OG, R-Sr.; James Banks, LB, Jr. (UAB transfer); Connor Strahm, LB, R-Jr.; T.J. Reynard, CB, R-Sr. (Wisconsin transfer); Yamen Sanders, S, R-Sr.; Justin Strong, S, Jr. (Oregon State transfer)OUTLOOK: After guiding a strong first season in Missoula, which opened with an FCS Kickoff win over North Dakota State, Stitt has turned to transfers to fill holes at wide receiver, along the lines of scrimmage and in the secondary. Kidder has moved from defensive tackle to the edge to try to continue the pass rush they enjoyed with Holmes, the 2015 STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year. Jason Semore, who had been with Stitt at Colorado School of Mines before UM, is the new defensive coordinator and is looking to reload, not rebuild, with newcomers. On offense, the 6-foot-7 Gustafson should put up excellent numbers for the Grizs fast-break style. The Griz also are strong at running back, led by Nguyen (855 yards, three touchdowns). Schedule-wise, the contrast between road games (difficult) and home games (easy) is striking.SCHEDULE:Sept. 3, Saint FrancisSept. 10, at Northern IowaSept. 24, at Cal Poly*Oct. 1, Southern Utah*Oct. 8, Mississippi Valley StateOct. 15, Sacramento State*Oct. 22, at Northern Arizona*Oct. 29, at Eastern Washington*Nov. 5, Idaho State*Nov. 12, at Northern Colorado*Nov. 19, Montana State** -- Big Sky game---=2. EASTERN WASHINGTON EAGLES=LOCATION: Cheney, WashingtonSTADIUM: Roos FieldCOACH: Beau Baldwin (73-30 in eight seasons at Eastern Washington; 83-33 overall)LAST SEASON: 6-5 overall, 5-3 Big Sky (Tie/4th)STARTERS RETURNING: 14 (5 offense/9 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Aaron Neary, OG; Clay DeBord, OT; Todd Raynes, RoverONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: Cooper Kupp, WR/PR, Sr. (114 receptions, 1,642 yards, 19 TDs)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Samson Ebukam, DE, Sr. (44 TT, 7.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 2 PBU, 2 QBH, 1 FR)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Gage Gubrud, QB, So.; Jordan West, QB, Sr.; Reilly Hennessey, QB, So.; Jabari Wilson, RB, Sr.; Kendrick Bourne, WR, Sr.; Shaq Hill, WR, Sr.; Simba Webster, WR/KR, So.; Tristen Taylor, OT, Fr.; Chris Schlichting, OG, Fr.; Matthew Sommer, NT, Sr.; Miquiyah Zamora, LB, Sr.; Alek Kacmarcik, LB, So.; Nzuzi Webster, CB, So.; Zach Bruce, S, Sr.OUTLOOK: A three-game losing streak to end last season stopped the Eagles three-year run atop the Big Sky standings. To have a bounce-back season this year, they are going to have to weather one of the more brutal September schedules in the FCS. While West passed for 3,002 yards and 30 touchdowns last season, he might not be the starting quarterback because Gubrud dazzled during spring practices. This years starter can rely on the nations best set of wide receivers, led by Kupp, the 2015 STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year who should hold most FCS career receiving records after his final season. The scary proposition for the QB is the Eagles are replacing their top six offensive linemen. The defense has struggled in recent seasons, but the return of nine starters suggests there will be improvement. Zamora returns off a 101-tackle season.SCHEDULE:Sept. 3, at Washington StateSept. 10, at North Dakota StateSept. 17, Northern IowaSept. 24, at Northern Arizona*Oct. 1, UC Davis*Oct. 8, Northern Colorado*Oct. 22, at Montana State*Oct. 29, Montana*Nov. 5, at Cal Poly*Nov. 12, Idaho State*Nov. 18, Portland State** -- Big Sky game---=3. NORTHERN ARIZONA LUMBERJACKS=LOCATION: Flagstaff, ArizonaSTADIUM: Walkup SkydomeCOACH: Jerome Souers (107-97 in 18 seasons at Northern Arizona)LAST SEASON: 7-4 overall, 5-3 Big Sky (Tie/4th)STARTERS RETURNING: 11 (6 offense/5 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Marcus Alford, CB; Eddie Horn, S; Ryan Hawkins, P/PKONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: QB Case Cookus, So. (222-for-322, 3,111 yards, 37 TDs, 5 INTs; 90 carries, 209 yards, 3 TDs)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Jake Thomas, LB, Sr. (68 TT, 7.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 2 PBU, 1 FF)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Kendyl Taylor, RB, Sr.; Corbin Jountti, RB, Jr.; Emmanuel Butler, WR, Jr.; Elijah Marks, WR, Jr.; Delshawn McClellon, WR, Sr.; Jacob Julian, OL, Sr.; Blake Porter, OL, Jr.; Lorenzo Melvin, DL, Sr.; Suipeli Anau, DL, Sr.; John Herrero, DL, Jr.; Jake Casteel, LB; So.; LeAndre Vaughn, S, Sr.; Brandon Worthy, NB, So.OUTLOOK: NAU, picked as the preseason favorite in both the Big Sky coaches and media polls, is seeking its first conference title in 13 years. The Lumberjacks missed the FCS playoffs last season by losing on the final day of the regular season. They should have an exceptional offense with Cookus trying to build off a season in which he was named the STATS FCS Freshman of the Year. He passed for an FCS freshman-record 37 touchdown passes, including 15 to Butler. In Julian and Porter, they have two of the five offensive linemen named to the Big Sky preseason team. The defense underachieved last season -- ranking 11th in the Big Sky in total defense and 10th in scoring defense -- and lost many of its top players, so it needs quick improvement. The line should be healthy again with the return of Anau and Melvin, but the secondary could be picked on because Vaughn is the only returning starter.SCHEDULE:Sept. 3, at Arizona StateSept. 10, at Western IllinoisSept. 17, New Mexico HighlandsSept. 24, Eastern Washington*Oct. 1, at Northern Colorado*Oct. 8, at Montana State*Oct. 15, Idaho State*Oct. 22, Montana*Nov. 5, at Weber State*Nov. 12, at North Dakota*Nov. 19, Southern Utah** -- Big Sky game---=4. NORTH DAKOTA FIGHTING HAWKS=LOCATION: Grand Forks, North DakotaSTADIUM: Alerus CenterCOACH: Kyle Schweigert (12-11 in two seasons at North Dakota)LAST SEASON: 7-4 overall, 5-3 Big Sky (Tie/4th)STARTERS RETURNING: 16 (7 offense/9 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Zach Adler, FB/TE; Sean Meehan, OG; Will Ratelle, LBONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: John Santiago, RB/KR, So. (223 carries, 1,459 yards, 16 TDs; 27.7-yard KO return average)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Cole Reyes, S, Jr. (71 TT, 7.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 INT, 3 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Keaton Studsrud, QB, Jr.; Luke Stanley, WR, So.; Clive Georges, WR, Sr.; A.J. Stockwell, OT, Jr.; Brandon Dranka, DE, Jr.; Noah Johnson, DE, Sr.; Tank Harris, DT, So.; Brian Labat, OLB, Sr.; Jake Disterhaupt, OLB, Jr.; Taj Rich, ILB, Sr.; Deion Harris, CB, Jr.; Reid Taubenheim, PK, Jr.OUTLOOK: The Fighting Hawks appear primed for their first FCS playoff berth after being one of the last two teams left outside last years field. This years conference schedule helps them because it doesnt include Montana, Eastern Washington or Portland State. While Big Sky rushing champ Santiago is one of the most dangerous all-purpose players in the FCS, the Fighting Hawks return only one starter on the offensive line (Stockwell), so Studsrud will have continue his improvement under center. The defense will be stout against the run. Reyes anchors the back end and the return of LB Rich from injury will help temper the big loss of Ratelle. Granted, the Fighting Hawks arent on the same level as the FCS champ downstate (North Dakota State), but theyre building a similar style of play inside their Alerus Center.SCHEDULE:Sept. 1, at Stony BrookSept. 10, at Bowling GreenSept. 17, South DakotaSept. 24, at Montana State*Oct. 1, Cal Poly*Oct. 8, at Sacramento State*Oct. 15, Southern Utah*Oct. 22, at Idaho State*Oct. 29, Weber State*Nov. 5, at Northern Colorado*Nov. 12, Northern Arizona** -- Big Sky game---=5. WEBER STATE WILDCATS=LOCATION: Ogden, UtahSTADIUM: Stewart StadiumCOACH: Jay Hill (8-15 in two seasons at Weber State)LAST SEASON: 6-5 overall, 5-3 Big Sky (Tie/4th)STARTERS RETURNING: 16 (9 offense/7 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Joe Hawkins, C; Devonte Johnson, CB; Josh Kealamakia, PK/PONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: Cameron Young, OL, Sr. (Big Sky preseason team)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Emmett Tela, LB, Jr. (72 TT, 7.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 QBH, 1 FR, 2 FF)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Jadrian Clark, QB, Sr.; Treshawn Garrett, RB, So.; Eric Wilkes, RB/KR, Jr.; Cameron Livingston, WR, Sr.; Darryl Denby, WR, Jr.; Drew Batchelor, WR., Jr.; Tui Satuala, TE, Jr.; Calvin Steyn, OL, Sr.; Jared Afalava, LB, Sr.; Trevon Johnson, LB, Sr.; Josh Burton, S, Sr.; Mitch Tulane, S. Jr.; Taron Johnson, CB, Jr.OUTLOOK: Last season was a surprise as the Wildcats six wins matched their combined total from the previous three seasons. Their breakthrough season came with only 10 seniors on the roster, so this years team -- picked sixth in the preseason polls -- must be considered a dark horse for Big Sky title contention and an FCS playoff berth. The defense ranked first in the conference in yards allowed per game and will be led by LB Tela and CB Johnson. Still, it has to do a better job in rushing quarterbacks. Their mobile QB, Clark (160-for-311, 1,875 yards, 10 TDs, 11 INTs), will try to be more consistent, but the Wildcats first want to run the ball to Garrett and Wilkes, who combined for 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground last season. The offensive line features two Big Sky preseason selections in Young and Steyn. Not to be overlooked is the Wildcats new look on special teams because they are replacing their kicker, punter and holder.SCHEDULE:Sept. 1, at Utah StateSept. 10, at South DakotaSept. 17, Sacramento StateSept. 24, at UC Davis*Oct. 8, Portland State*Oct. 15, Montana State*Oct. 22, Southern Utah*Oct. 29, at North Dakota*Nov. 5, Northern Arizona*Nov. 12, Cal Poly*Nov. 19, at Idaho State** -- Big Sky game---=6. PORTLAND STATE VIKINGS=LOCATION: Portland, OregonSTADIUM: Providence ParkCOACH: Bruce Barnum (9-3 in one season at Portland State)LAST SEASON: 9-3 overall, 6-2 (Tie/2nd)STARTERS RETURNING: 12 (7 offense/5 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: David Jones, RB; Jeremy Lutali, LB; Patrick Onwuasor, SONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: Alex Kuresa, QB, Sr. (123-for-226, 1,968 yards, 17 TDs, 7 INTs; 158 carries, 755 yards, 7 TDs)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Xavier Coleman, CB, Sr. (52 TT, 2 TFL, 5 INTs, 13 PBU)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Paris Penn, QB, Sr.; Nate Tago, RB, Sr.; Darnell Adams, WR, Sr.; Cam Keizur, C, Sr.; Tyshon Mosley, OL, Jr. (Utah State transfer); Josh Kraght, WR, Jr.; Michael Doman, DT, Sr.; Savali Talalemotu, DT, Sr.; Davond Dade, DE, Jr.; Taylor Biaggi, LB, Jr. (Santa Rosa JC transfer); Beau Duronslet, CB, Jr.; Walter Santiago, S, Sr.; Jonathan Gonzales, PK, Sr.OUTLOOK: Barnum, the 2015 STATS FCS Coach of the Year, hopes to keep the Vikings at a high level following last years historic season, when they reversed a 3-9 record in 2014, beat two FBS programs (Washington State and North Texas) and went to the FCS playoffs for only the second time in program history. Its been a difficult offseason in which two players died, linebacker A.J. Schlatter (complications following throat surgery) and left tackle Kyle Smith (drug overdose). The Vikings lost a strong senior class and Barnum brought in transfers to fill some holes. Dual-threat QB Kuresa and RB Tago will take on bigger roles with the big loss of Jones. The Vikings are rebuilding the middle of the defense, but there are playmakers on the edge with CB Coleman and DE Dade. The Vikings have a favorable home schedule and are helped by the Big Skys unbalanced scheduling -- they miss Montana, Montana State, North Dakota and Northern Arizona.SCHEDULE:Sept. 3, Central WaashingtonSept.dddddddddddd 10, at San Jose StateSept. 17, at WashingtonSept. 24, at Southern Utah*Oct. 1, Idaho State*Oct. 8, at Weber State*Oct. 15, Cal Poly*Oct. 29, Northern Colorado*Nov. 5, at UC Davis*Nov. 12, at Sacramento State*Nov. 18, Eastern Washington** -- Big Sky game---=7. SOUTHERN UTAH THUNDERBIRDS=LOCATION: Cedar City, UtahSTADIUM: Eccles ColiseumCOACH: Demario Warren (first season at Southern Utah)LAST SEASON: 8-4 overall, 7-1 Big Sky (1st)STARTERS RETURNING: 15 (7 offense/8 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: James Cowser, DE; Miles Killebrew, S; LeShaun Sims, CBONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: McCoy Hill, QB, So. (BYU transfer)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Mike Needham, LB, Jr. (95 TT, 8.5 TFL, 1 sack, 3 INTs, 7 PBU, 1 QBH, 2 FR, 3 FF, 1 BK)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Malik Brown, RB, Sr.; Pete Williams, RB, Jr.; Brady Measom, WR, Sr.; Mike Sharp, WR, Sr.; Ty Rutledge, WR, So.; Steven Wroblewski, TE, Sr.; Chance Bearnson, DL, Jr.; Sefesi Vaaivaka, DL, Jr.; Zak Browning, LB, Jr.; Taylor Nelson, LB, Jr.; Josh Thornton, CB, Sr.; Kyle Hannemann, S, Jr.; Tate Lewis, P, Sr.OUTLOOK: The defending Big Sky champions feel better about their chances than people outside Cedar City -- they were picked seventh in the conferences two preseason polls. Warren, an assistant the last eight years and defensive coordinator over the last two, is retooling the team after former coach Ed Lamb left to join BYUs staff. They will reunite with Lamb with a Nov. 12 game at BYU. Hill, a transfer from BYU, should excel as he replaces QB Ammon Olsen, who had a big senior season. The Thunderbirds return an experienced offensive line and a wealth of running backs and wide receivers, so the offense will be strong. Most of the concerns are on defense, which lost Cowser, Killebrew and Sims to the NFL. Needham will no longer live in their shadow and should have an All-American season.SCHEDULE:Sept. 1, at UtahSept. 10, Southeastern LouisianaSept. 24, Portland State*Oct. 1, at Montana*Oct. 8, UC Davis*Oct. 15, at North Dakota*Oct. 22, at Weber State*Oct. 29, at Idaho State*Nov. 5, Montana State*Nov. 12, at BYUNov. 19, at Northern Arizona** -- Big Sky game---=8. MONTANA STATE BOBCATS=LOCATION: Bozeman, MontanaSTADIUM: Bobcat StadiumCOACH: Jeff Choate (first season at Montana State)LAST SEASON: 5-6 overall, 3-5 Big Sky (Tie/8th)STARTERS RETURNING: 12 (4 offense/8 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Dakota Prukop, QB; Taylor Sheridan, DT; Luke Daly, PKONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: J.P. Flynn, OG, Sr. (All-Big Sky preseason team)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Mac Bignell, OLB, Jr. (101 TT, 20.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 5 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 FR, 4 FF)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Tyler Bruggman, QB, Jr. (Scottsdale CC transfer); Chad Newell, RB, Sr.; Gunnar Brekke, RB, Sr.; Mitchell Herbert, WR, Jr.; Grant Collins, DE, So.; Jessie Clark, DE, Sr.; Mac Bignell, LB, Jr.; Blake Braun, LB, Jr.; Lukas McCarthy, LB, Jr. (Fullerton College transfer); Jacob McCarthy, LB, Jr. (Fullerton College transfer); Blake Braun, LB, Jr.; Khari Garcia, S, Jr.OUTLOOK: Choate, who spent the last two seasons coaching the defensive line and special teams at Washington, has replaced the popular Rob Ash and energized a Bobcats program that suffered its first losing season since 2001. The Bobcats have adopted a Rise to the Brand motto -- a nod to the old west which tells the players to work toward something larger than themselves. Their biggest loss was Prukop, who left for Oregon as a graduate transfer. The new quarterback, Bruggman, has done well to step in and take command of an offense that ranked first in the Big Sky in scoring last season (41.9 ppg). It will feature RBs Newell and Brekke. The defense has to improve immensely and it should with former Montana defensive coordinator Ty Gregorak joining the staff. The Bobcats have bulked up with transfers to try to stop the run. Bignell is set for a banner junior season and Collins has moved from linebacker to buck end to provide a better pass rush.SCHEDULE:Sept. 1, at IdahoSept. 10, BryantSept. 17, Western OregonSept. 24, North Dakota*Oct. 1, at Sacramento State*Oct. 8, Northern Arizona*Oct. 15, at Weber State*Oct. 22, Eastern Washington*Nov. 5, at Southern Utah*Nov. 12, UC Davis*Nov. 19, at Montana** -- Big Sky game---=9. CAL POLY MUSTANGS=LOCATION: San Luis Obispo, CaliforniaSTADIUM: Alex G. Spanos StadiumCOACH: Tim Walsh (41-39 in seven seasons at Cal Poly; 158-121 overall)LAST SEASON: 4-7 overall, 3-5 Big Sky (Tie/8th)STARTERS RETURNING: 13 (7 offense/6 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Chris Brown QB, Stephen Sippel C, Burton De Koning LBONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: Joe Protheroe, FB, Jr. (169 receptions, 779 yards, 6 TDs)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Kelly Shepard, DE, Sr. (41 TT, 5.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 1 PBU, 2 QBH, 1 BK)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Dano Graves, QB, Sr.; Kori Garcia, SB, Sr.; Kyle Lewis, SB, Jr.; Carson McMurtrey, WR, Sr.; Joey Kuperman, OL, Jr.; Matt Fisher, OL, Sr.; Nick Enriquez, OL, Sr.; Augustino Elisaia, NT, Sr.; Marcus Paige-Allen, DT, Sr.; Joseph Gigantino III, LB, Sr.; Josh Letuligasenoa, LB, Sr.; R.J. Mazolewski, LB, Jr.; B.J. Nard, DB, Jr.; Kevin Griffin, DB, Jr.; Casey Sublette, PK, So. (El Camino CC transfer)OUTLOOK: The spread triple option offense will be fine even with the loss of electric QB Brown because the Mustangs have led the FCS in rushing for three straight seasons. Graves is a former starter who redshirted last season and Khaleel Jenkins is talented as well. They are helped by the return of experienced backs, including Garcia (780 yards, 5 TDs) and Protheroe. The major concern is with the defense which was knocked around for 35.5 points and 458 yards per game. The hope for improvement starts up front with Shepard and Paige-Allen anchoring the defensive line. Nard will anchor the back end. Last years schedule was too tough early on and its similar again, although Walsh doesnt try to shy away from playing difficult games.SCHEDULE:Sept. 2, at NevadaSept. 10, San DiegoSept. 17, at South Dakota StateSept. 24, Montana*Oct. 1, at North Dakota*Oct. 15, at Portland State*Oct. 22, UC Davis*Oct. 29 at Sacramento State*Nov. 5, Eastern Washington*Nov. 12, at Weber State*Nov. 19, Northern Colorado** -- Big Sky game---=10. SACRAMENTO STATE HORNETS=LOCATION: Sacramento, CaliforniaSTADIUM: Hornet StadiumCOACH: Jody Sears (9-14 in two seasons at Sacramento State; 13-33 overall)LAST SEASON: 2-9 overall, 1-7 Big Sky (Tie/12th)STARTERS RETURNING: 18 (8 offense/10 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Nnamdi Agude, WR; Lars Hanson, OL; Darnell Sankey, LBONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: Jordan Robinson, RB, Sr. (172 carries, 808 yards, 4 TDs; 27 receptions, 170 yards, 1 TD)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Manoah Pearson, LB, So. (77 TT, 4.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 5 PBU, 1 QBH)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Nate Ketteringham, QB, So.; Isiah Hennie, WR/KR, Jr.; Johnnie Rucker, WR, R-Fr.; Jaelin Ratliff, WR, So.; Stone Sander, TE, Jr.; Jonathan Bade, OL, Jr.; Ruben Meza, OL, So.; Ben Sorensen, DL, Jr.; Ernest Jenkins, CB, Jr.; Manny Scott-Anderson, S, So.; Austin Clark, S, Jr.; Malcolm Thomas, S, So.; Devon Medeiros, PK, So.OUTLOOK: The Hornets have the feel of a dark horse candidate which is being overlooked in a deep conference. They return a lot of players with starters experience, including Kettingham, whose 1,257 passing yards and 11 touchdowns to two interceptions over the final four games were impressive. With former Eastern Washington and Washington State coach Paul Wulff aboard as the offensive line coach, the big men up front should raise their play for RB Robinson, who as a senior will build on his 1,830 career rushing yards. Sears has handed over defensive coordinator duties to safeties coach Sammy Lawanson, who will benefit from the return of eight of the teams top 10 tacklers last season. Pearson, coming off a strong rookie campaign, was named to the Big Sky preseason squad.SCHEDULE:Sept. 3, Western OregonSept. 10, at Fresno StateSept. 17, Weber StateSept. 24, at Idaho State*Oct. 1, Montana State*Oct. 8, North Dakota*Oct. 15, at Montana*Oct. 22, at Northern Colorado*Oct. 29, Cal Poly*Nov. 12, Portland State*Nov. 19, at UC Davis** -- Big Sky game---=11. NORTHERN COLORADO BEARS=LOCATION: Greeley, ColoradoSTADIUM: Nottingham FieldCOACH: Earnest Collins Jr. (15-41 in four seasons at Northern Colorado; 23-53 overall)LAST SEASON: 6-5 overall, 3-5 Big Sky (Tie/8th)STARTERS RETURNING: 17 (10 offense/7 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Taylor Risner, S; Trevor Douglass, S; A.J. Battle, DBONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: Trae Riek, RB, R-So. (137 carries, 796 yards, 7 TDs; 22 receptions, 344 yards, 2 TDs)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Chuntony Johnson, DT, Sr. (50 TT, 5.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 2 PBU)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Jacob Knipp, QB, R-So.; Quinn Zamora, FB/TE, Sr.; Ellis Onic II, WR/PR, R-Jr.; Hakeem Deggs, WR/KR, R-Jr.; Stephen Miller, WR, Sr.; Alex Wesley, WR, R-So.; Austin Hendrickson, C, Sr.; Marcus Piechowski, OL, Sr.; Mikhail Dubose, DE, Sr.; Kyle Newsom, LB, Sr.; Stone Kane, S, Jr (Iowa Western CC transfer); Thomas Singleton, DB, Sr.; Marshaun Cameron, DB, R-Fr.OUTLOOK: Collins contract extension through 2020 is well deserved considering the Bears are coming off a winning record for the first time since 2003 and for the first time in their FCS era. They set up themselves up for the future by starting four freshmen and four sophomores on offense for much of last season, including QB Knipp and RB Riek as redshirt freshmen. Knipp took leadership of the unit and threw for 1,969 yards and 13 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Riek is dangerous as a ball carrier and pass catcher. The defense isnt in the same good shape. Graduation hit the Bears hard in the secondary, and they already had to improve against the run after allowing 227.4 yards per game (which ranked ninth in the conference and 110th nationally). Onic and Deggs provide the makings of excellent special teams. Optimism is high in Greeley.SCHEDULE:Sept. 3, Rocky MountainSept. 10, at Abilene ChristianSept. 17, at Colorado StateOct. 1, Northern Arizona*Oct. 8, at Eastern Washington*Oct. 15, at UC Davis*Oct. 22, Sacramento State*Oct. 29, at Portland State*Nov. 5, North Dakota*Nov. 12, Montana*Nov. 19, at Cal Poly** -- Big Sky game---=12. UC DAVIS AGGIES=LOCATION: Davis, CaliforniaSTADIUM: Aggie StadiumCOACH: Ron Gould (9-25 in three seasons at UC Davis)LAST SEASON: 2-9 overall, 2-6 Big Sky (11th)STARTERS RETURNING: 18 (10 offense/8 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Parker Smith, LT; Kyle DeVaughn, DT; Travon Brooks, LBONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: Ben Scott, QB, Sr. (159-for-248, 1,604 yards, 11 TDs, 7 INTs)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Darryl Graham, S, Jr. (76 TT, 1.5 TFL, 1 INT, 5 PBU, 1 FR, 2 FF)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: C.J. Spencer, QB, Sr.; Manusamoa Luuga, RB, Sr.; Joshua Kelley, RB, So.; Derek Baljeu, FB, Jr.; Chris Martin, WR, Sr.; Ramon Vargas, WR, Sr.; Christian Schneider, OT, Sr.; Zak Petit, DE, Sr.; Inoke Raikadroka, DT, Sr.; Russell Reeder, LB, Sr.; Brady Stibi, LB, Sr.; Zach Jones, FS, Sr.; Patrick Wells, CB, Sr.; Colby Wadman, P, Sr.OUTLOOK: Gould is still trying to find the success of his first season with the Aggies -- a 5-3 Big Sky record in 2013. Last years team was ravaged by injuries, so there is hope for big improvement. They have to overcome a difficult road portion of the schedule. QB Scott is talented, but he must hold off Spencer, who finished strong when Scott was sidelined last season. The Aggies should be able to run the ball effectively with Luuga (613 yards, six TDs) and Kelley (530 yards, three TDs). But its imperative for the Aggies to improve against the run as opponents averaged 237.7 yards per game on nearly six yards a carry. Their healthier defense will feature Graham, their leading tackler last season, Wells in the secondary.SCHEDULE:Sept. 3, at OregonSept. 10, Southern OregonSept. 17, at WyomingSept. 24, Weber State*Oct. 1, at Eastern Washington*Oct. 8, at Southern Utah*Oct. 15, Northern Colorado*Oct. 22, at Cal Poly*Nov. 5, Portland State*Nov. 12, at Montana State*Nov. 19, Sacramento State** -- Big Sky game---=13. IDAHO STATE BENGALS=LOCATION: Pocatello, IdahoSTADIUM: Holt ArenaCOACH: Mike Kramer (16-41 in five seasons at Idaho State; 93-116 overall)LAST SEASON: 2-9 overall, 1-7 Big Sky (Tie/12th)STARTERS RETURNING: 10 (6 offense 4 defense)THREE KEY LOSSES: Xavier Finney, RB; Madison Mangum WR; Tyler Kuder DLONE TO WATCH ON OFFENSE: KW Williams, WR, Sr. (52 receptions, 684 yards, 7 TDs)ONE TO WATCH ON DEFENSE: Hayden Stout, LB, Sr. (113 TT, 8 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 3 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 FR, 2 FF)OTHER KEY PLAYERS: Tanner Gueller, QB, So.; Jakori Ford, RB, Sr.; Hagen Graves, WR, Jr.; Josh Cook, TE, Sr.; Skyler Phillips, OL, Sr.; Thomas Vazorka, OL, Sr.; Chase Collins, OL, Jr.; Nikko Taylor, DL, Sr.; Rasheed Williams, DL, So.; Mario Jenkins, LB, Jr.; Jake Pettit, LB, Sr.; Taison Manu, DB, Sr.; Jayson Miller, DB, So.OUTLOOK: The Bengals 8-4 breakthrough in 2014 was followed up with a dud last season. While they can point to injuries hurting their squad, they have to prove 2014 wasnt just an exception considering all their struggles in recent seasons. Among the key defenders back from injuries are LB Jenkins and DB Manu. With experience at linebacker in leading tackler Stout and Pettit, the Bengals dont expect to rank last in the Big Sky in scoring defense (40.9 ppg) again. Their offense will try to throw the ball, of course, with QB Gueller needing to cut down on turnovers. Williams and RB Ford are the playmakers and Kramer has done well to improve play on the offensive line. The Bengals will play two FBS opponents (Colorado and Oregon State) for the ninth straight season.SCHEDULE:Sept. 3, Simon FraserSept. 10, at ColoradoSept. 17, at Oregon StateSept. 24, Sacramento State*Oct. 1, at Portland State*Oct. 15, at Northern Arizona*Oct. 22, North Dakota*Oct. 29, Southern Utah*Nov. 5, at Montana*Nov. 12, at Eastern Washington*Nov. 19, Weber State** -- Big Sky game ' ' '

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