HERO Sports welcomes you to "Three-a-Days" where we will preview every single one of the 126 FCS programs and all 13 conferences. Today, we present … the Big Sky Conference.
We'll leave no stone left unturned when it comes to giving the FCS diehards all they could ask for this offseason. Learn about every program in the country with HERO Sports.
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(NOTE: Team-by-team previews in this conference are below)
NAMES TO KNOW
THE NFL PROSPECT: TE Charlie Taumoepeau, Portland State
Taumoepeau is ranked the fourth-best small school pro prospect by Draft Scout. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder has caught 81 career passes for 1,402 yards and nine touchdowns.
TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER: QB Jake Maier, UC Davis
In his two seasons as a starter, Maier has thrown for a combined 7,600 yards with 60 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
TOP DEFENSIVE PLAYER: LB Dante Olson, Montana
Olson went off last season, totaling 151 tackles with 11 tackles for loss, six sacks and two interceptions.
SUM IT UP: The Big Sky took a giant step forward last season after some down years. Three teams earned playoff seeds and those teams (Eastern Washington, UC Davis, Weber State) all advanced to the quarterfinals. EWU made the title game and gave an undefeated North Dakota State team a scare until the final whistle. With Montana State and Montana both rising, this conference is going to make a lot of national noise late in the season. EWU looks set for another run to Frisco while UC Davis has the talent to do the same.
THE FAVORITE: Eastern Washington – While we have UC Davis ranked ahead of EWU in our preseason poll, the Eagles have a more favorable conference schedule. They avoid the Aggies, Montana State and Weber State. EWU will be favored to win every conference game with the biggest challenge coming at Montana.
THE THREATS: UC Davis, Weber State, Montana State – UC Davis will be right there at the top once again and nearly defeated EWU in last year's quarterfinal game. Weber has to reload its defense and improve its offense, but this is a program that continues to remain competitive despite losing talented senior classes. And Montana State has a nice draw in the conference slate and is a team that brings back a ton of starters off of a second-round appearance.
THE DARKHORSE: Montana – We've been saying it for a couple of years now … Montana is ready to get back to its glory. While most of the starting lineup is still pretty young and might be a year away, the Griz have a senior stud quarterback in Dalton Sneed that can lead them to a breakthrough year.
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