Athlon Sports released its preseason FCS Top 25 rankings on Tuesday, which featured six Big Sky programs.
Montana State topped the conference with a spot in the top three, following both No. 1 South Dakota State and No. 2 2 North Dakota State.
The Bobcats are coming off their third straight trip to the FCS semifinals. Montana State's season concluded with a 39-18 loss at South Dakota State, which ultimately steamrolled NDSU to secure the program's first national championship.
#MSUBobcatsFB comes in at No. 3 on this list.— Ashley Washburn (@ashleyjwashburn) May 23, 2023
South Dakota State & North Dakota State house the top two spots, while six @BigSkyFB programs are ranked:
3. Montana State
14. UC Davis
15. Sac State
19. Weber State https://t.co/lCFEVWfu7w
With the No. 2 ranked rushing attack, MSU quarterbacks Tommy Mellott and Sean Chambers (combined 1,882 yards and 30 TDs on the ground) both return, as well as their starting offensive line.
Idaho followed the Bobcats at No. 7, while Montana rounded out the top ten at No. 10.
The Grizzlies, coming off a quarterfinal playoff appearance, secured FBS quarterback transfer Sam Vidlak in the offseason. Vidlak spent seasons at both Oregon State (2021) and Boise State (2022).
The redshirt sophomore inherits a veteran offensive line and will have several key returners to distribute the ball to: wide receiver Junior Bergen, tight end Cole Grossman and running backs Isiah Childs and Nick Ostmo.
UC Davis is ranked No. 14 while Sacramento State is No. 5 and Weber State is No. 19.
Montana State is scheduled to play all of the Big Sky programs that are ranked, minus UC Davis. The Bobcats will play each of those games on the road.
The Grizzlies will also play four of the five conference opponents ranked except for Weber State.