PARK CITY, Utah — The Sacramento State football team was picked to finish ninth by the coaches and 10th by the media in preseason polls which were announced at the league's media days on Tuesday.
The Hornets, who are coming off a 4-7 season, finished tied for sixth in 2011 with a 3-5 conference mark. This season, the Big Sky will expand from nine to 13 teams with the addition of Cal Poly, North Dakota, Southern Utah and UC Davis.
Both polls had an identical top five which featured Montana State as the preseason favorite. The Bobcats secured seven of the 13 votes in the coaches poll and were picked to finish first in 30 of the 39 media ballots. Following MSU in both polls were Eastern Washington, Montana, Portland State and Cal Poly.
In the coaches poll, Weber State was sixth with 81 total points. Northern Arizona, (75), Southern Utah (74) and Sacramento State (71) were closely bunched in seventh through ninth respectively.
The bottom four teams in the coaches poll were comprised of North Dakota, Idaho State, UC Davis and Northern Colorado.
For the most part, the media agreed with the coaches' selections with the exception of North Dakota. UND was tabbed to finish sixth by the media marking the largest differential for any team between the polls.
After North Dakota, the media picked Weber State, Southern Utah, Northern Arizona, Sacramento State, UC Davis, Idaho State and Northern Colorado.
The 13 teams in the Big Sky are the most in any Football Championship Subdivision conference. The Southeastern Conference have the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 14 football-playing institutions.
Each Big Sky school will play eight conference games during the regular season. Those eight will rotate each season with the exception of two rivalry games which will remain constant each year (Cal Poly and UC Davis for Sacramento State). In 2012, the Hornets will not play Montana, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado and Portland State in conference games. Sacramento State will host UNC in a non-conference contest on Sept. 13.
The Hornets open the season with a pair of games against FBS teams. The season opener will come on Thursday, Aug. 30, at New Mexico State. The following week the team will travel to Boulder, Colo., to take on Colorado.
|Media Poll||Coaches Poll|
|1. Montana State (30)||502||1. Montana State (7)||136|
|2. Eastern Washington (3)||453||2. Eastern Washington (4)||131|
|3. Montana (5)||442||3. Montana (1)||126|
|4. Portland State||334||4. Portland State||90|
|5. Cal Poly (1)||323||5. Cal Poly||86|
|6. North Dakota||295||6. Weber State||81|
|7. Weber State||284||7. Northern Arizona||75|
|8. Southern Utah||258||8. Southern Utah (1)||74|
|9. Northern Arizona||242||9. Sacramento State||71|
|10. Sacramento State||191||10. North Dakota||68|
|11. UC Davis||135||11. Idaho State||31|
|12. Idaho State||115||12. UC Davis||30|
|13. Northern Colorado||63||13. Northern Colorado||14|