Both coaches and the media selected Weber State to win the Big Sky Conference in their preseason polls. It is the first time in program history that the Wildcats have been placed atop both polls, which were released Thursday.
The Wildcats received 28 of the 44 first-place votes and 546 points in the media poll. In the coaches’ poll, they took seven of 13 first-place votes and 135 points.
“Hopefully this gets us excited about what we’re working towards and we finish the end of the year ranked No. 1 instead of just preseason ranked No. 1,” seventh-year Weber State coach Jay Hill said.
Weber State won the past three straight conference championships. Last year it reached the FCS Playoffs semifinals, losing at home to James Madison. The Wildcats finished the season ranked No. 3 nationally, the highest in school history.
Montana came in second in both polls with eight and three first-place votes, respectively, followed by Montana State and Eastern Washington. Both those teams received first-place votes in the polls. UC Davis (No. 6) received a first-place nod in the media poll and Sacramento State (No. 5) took one in the coaches’ survey.
Southern Utah, which last year finished 3-9 overall, 2-6 in conference, took the No. 12 spot in both polls.
“We have had a couple of down years in a row, so 12th isn’t surprising,” SUU head coach Demario Warren said in a statement. “But preseason polls have never stopped us from having a great season, and this one won’t be any different.”
The statement noted that the Thunderbirds won the conference title in 2015 when they were selected eighth in both polls.
SUU is scheduled to open its season Sept. 5 at home against regional rival Dixie State. Weber State is slated to open the same day at Wyoming.