Cat Central

Jul 15, 2013 5:22 PM by Ted Dawson

Montana State picked to finish first in Big Sky

Big Sky Conference coaches and media members each tabbed Montana State to win the league for a fourth straight season on Monday, and the man expected to lead that charge thinks it reflects the past more than the future.

"Personally, I think (preseason polls) are kind of irrelevant," Bobcat quarterback DeNarius McGhee said at the Big Sky Football Kickoff in Park City, Utah, on Monday. "t's more about the work the team did the year before. No one has played a game. No one knows what anyone else has done to to improve. No one knows what the dynamics of the team will be. But it's a nice honor."

MSU earned the nod over perennial powers Eastern Washington and Montana, with the Cats garnering 31 of 48 first place votes in the media poll and eight first-place coaches votes. The top 10 teams in each poll mirrored the other, as did Idaho State in 13th. The coaches see Weber State finishing 11th and UC Davis 12th, while the media see those two flipped.

Bobcat coach Rob Ash takes the predicitions in stride. "It's a great compliment to our program," Ash said, "but it doesn't really mean anything until we start playing games. It's going to be an extremely tough conference, and a lot of schools could be at the top when it's all over."

The Cats have finished 7-1 in the league in each of the last three seasons. MSU has won three straight league titles on only one other occasion, the 1966-68 teams led quarterbacked by Dennis Erickson. One of the top three teams in the preseason polls has won at least a share of the Big Sky title since 1995.

MEDIA POLL
1. Montana State (31) - 596
2. Eastern Washington (12) - 566
3. Montana (3) - 492
4. Cal Poly (1) - 466
5. Northern Arizona - 457
6. Sacramento State (1) - 374
7. North Dakota - 309
8. Northern Colorado - 239
9. Southern Utah - 228
10. Portland State - 212
11. UC Davis - 191
12. Weber State - 164
13. Idaho State - 74

COACHES POLL
1. Montana State (8) - 140
2. Eastern Washington (3) - 130
3. Montana (2) - 111
4. Cal Poly - 109
5. Northern Arizona - 104
6. Sacramento State - 88
7. North Dakota - 66
8. Northern Colorado - 63
9. Southern Utah - 57
10. Portland State - 49
11. Weber State - 48
12. UC Davis - 37
13. Idaho State - 12

first place votes in parentheses, followed by total poll points

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