Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE
The Big Sky's appearance at the top of this list might be a little shocking, given that traditional power Montana is having a down season. However, the other teams in the conference have upped their level of play, and place pretty impressively in the polls.
No.3 Montana State, No. 8 Eastern Washington, No. 12 Northern Arizona, and No. 16 Cal Poly make the Big Sky the conference with the most highly-ranked teams in the latest poll. Add to that the fact that Sacramento State is at the top of the "others receiving votes category," and the Big Sky has the best argument for being at the top of these rankings.
The No. 3 Bobcats are led by dual-threat QB Denarius McGee, who has thrown for 2,142 touchdowns and 17 touchdowns while rushing for 184 yards and four touchdowns.
On defense, the Bobcats are especially proficient at getting to the QB, totaling 29 sacks so far on the season. Defensive end Caleb Schreibeis leads the way with 7.5 sacks.
The No. 8 Eagles are all about the passing game. Two QB's have each amassed over 1,000 yards, and have combined for 18 passing touchdowns. Right now, head coach Beau Baldwin appears unable to decide on whether to use Kyle Padron or Vernon Adams, as both have been effective for EWU.
The No. 12 Lumberjacks have been one of the biggest surprises this season, going from a cupcake the last few seasons to a 7-1 team whose only blemish so far was a loss to Pac-12 team Arizona State. NAU is led by running back Zach Bauman, who has rushed for 1,029 yards and eight touchdowns so far.
The No. 16 Mustangs are currently tied for second place in the Big Sky, with a 7-1 record. Their offense is all about the rushing attack, which has gained a staggering 2,587 yards so far this season. Running back Deonte Williams leads the way with 1,094 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground, but that accounts for less than half of the Mustangs rushing output.
Overall, the Big Sky has the most high-level teams of any conference in the country, giving it the top spot in these conference power rankings.