This weekly series will offer up predictions and insight into key football games in the Big Sky Conference for the upcoming weekend. Be on the lookout for a vote on the punishment for the “expert” with the worst record this season.
Overall (Last Week)
Against the Spread (ATS)
Sacramento State (3-2) @ (6) Montana State (5-1) (-1.5) @ 2 p.m. in Bobcat Stadium
Parker: MSU pulled out an impressive overtime win against Cal Poly on the road last week, while Sac State made a statement by blowing out Eastern Washington. I am shocked that Sac State is not ranked in the STATS FCS Top 25. The Hornets’ two losses this season were to FBS Arizona State by 12 points, who is now ranked 18th in the nation, and to FBS Fresno State by 14 points, despite the game being tied in the 4th quarter. Other than those two games, Sac State has outscored their opponents by a score of 175-39. This will be a tough game for the Cats, as the Hornets are solid on both sides of the ball. If MSU can find a consistent passing game they can roll in this one, but if they continue to struggle on third downs, the Hornets could be a Homecoming spoiler.
MSU 42, Sac State 34
Caleb: Saturday is going to be a tough one for the Cats — six weeks into the 2019 campaign and their quarterback woes continue. After squeaking out a win against Cal Poly, they will take on Sacramento State. The Hornets have proven through five games that they’re no slouches. They hung tough against a couple of FBS schools, hung a 50-burger on Northern Colorado, and beat up Eastern Washington last weekend. Despite their triumphs, the Hornets remain unranked, but make no mistake — this team is a playoff contender. Their air-raid offense led by junior quarterback Kevin Thomson has been lethal. Their rushing defense has been strong as well, allowing only 96.8 rushing yards per game this season. Ultimately, not having a solid quarterback will cost MSU on Saturday, and Sac State will pull off another win
Sac State 31, MSU 24
Cameron: There are a lot of questions both teams hope to have answered after Saturday’s homecoming contest in Bozeman. MSU looks to play a complete game for the first time all season, while Sacramento State would love to prove they are a real problem for the Big Sky Conference. MSU feels the sense of urgency, and I expect they will show up Saturday ready to play, but Sac State will keep it very interesting. With MSU coming off its first overtime game since 2010, I expect this will be their second one in a row, with MSU winning on a field goal.
MSU 38, Sac State 35 (OT)
North Dakota (3-2) @ Idaho State (2-3) (-1) @ 1 p.m.
Parker: Both of these teams have shown flashes of being potential playoff teams, but both have yet to put together a full game. North Dakota beat a UC Davis team that gave North Dakota State a run for its money a couple weeks back. Once again, I am very surprised this team is not ranked in this weeks poll, but I will not get into that. Idaho State gave the Griz a scare in the first half before being blown out in the second. The Bengals have been a much better offensive squad after junior quarterback Matt Struck started taking snaps under center. This should be a close matchup, but I think the Bengals will have an offensive flurry and pull out a solid victory this week.
Idaho State 45, UND 35
Caleb: This game should be interesting. Both these teams have shown bursts of great play mixed with some struggles. The Fighting Hawks are coming off of an impressive win over UC Davis, whose stock is dropping. But two weeks ago, they fell to the hands of Eastern Washington, which remains the Eagles’ only FCS win this season. Idaho State has a less impressive resume, but they nearly pulled off a win against a strong Northern Iowa team, and two weeks ago they punished Portland State. This is a must-win game for both these programs, but I expect UND to take this one.
UND 23, Idaho State 13
Cameron: I expected more out of Idaho State last week, even though they did go up 17-0 on the Griz at one point. Now they face a North Dakota team that is starting to stabilize and is looking like a really tough unit. ISU has an explosive offense, but I think UND asserts itself on defense for the first time this season, giving them the win.
UND 31, Idaho State 21
Cal Poly (2-3) @ (24) UC Davis (2-4) (-13.5) @ 5 p.m.
Parker: This is shaping up to be an interesting matchup; UC Davis had high expectations to begin the year, but now find themselves needing to run the table to have a good shot of making the playoffs. Cal Poly, on the other hand, had a close loss to MSU last week, and I truly believe that they are a much better team than their record indicates. The triple-O is tough to gameplan for, so I think Cal Poly will shock some people this week and come out victorious.
Cal Poly 42, UC Davis 31
Caleb: The Battle for the Golden Horseshoe will take place in California this weekend. With the Aggies on a three-game skid and somehow still ranked in the STATS FCS Top-25, they need this win. On the other hand, Cal Poly has had a tough shake so far this season. Their 3 losses have come to an FBS team and two FCS teams within the top-10. While UC Davis has been underwhelming, I expect them to get back on track this week.
UC Davis 35, Cal Poly 24
Cameron: Cal Poly and UC Davis meet up in what suddenly looks to be a really intriguing game. While most teams play poorly the week after facing the Bobcats, Cal Poly is not like most teams. Their triple option is a rarity in modern day football and can throw any defense off balance after facing modern offenses all season. UC Davis is in a rough patch currently and needs to step it up if they want to salvage this season in any way. I think UC Davis shows up to play and takes the win from the Stangs, but I am not confident in this pick.
UC Davis 35, Cal Poly 17
(10) Northern Iowa (3-2) @ (1) North Dakota State (5-0) (-21.5) @ 12 p.m.
Parker: North Dakota State appeared that they could take a step back this year, but they have continued to prove that they really just reloaded. Freshman Bison quarterback Trey Lance has been fantastic, and the Bison continue to roll over teams. Northern Iowa has a great defense, but I find it hard to believe that the Bison slip up, especially in the FargoDome.
NDSU 38, UNI 24
Caleb: Heading into the 2019 season I thought North Dakota State would take a step down from its seemingly-untouchable thrown, but it appears that they are back and strong, if not stronger, than ever. The Bizon (yes, with a ‘z’) absolutely obliterated Illinois State last week, a top-10 team, and look like they are already prepping for another Frisco trip. Northern Iowa has also shown their worth, but are no match for this Bizon team.
NDSU 35, UNI 13
Cameron: NDSU continues to enjoy the toughest stretch of their schedule this week, hosting Northern Iowa. While I want to see the Bison show weakness and struggle against at least one team this season, I find it hard to believe it’s going to happen this week. Maybe in two weeks against SDSU they will find that they have their hands full, but in week seven they will once again cruise.
NDSU 41, UNI 17