MISSOULA — Montana checked in at No. 9 in the Stats Perform FCS Preseason Top 25, which was released Monday, while Montana State came in at No. 12, as selected by a national media panel.
Weber State, which has won four consecutive Big Sky titles, led the five league teams in the poll with a No. 6 ranking. Eastern Washington snuck in ahead of Montana State at No. 11. UC Davis checked in at No. 23. Sacramento State, which won a share of the 2019 league title and opted out of playing last year, was in the receiving votes category and would've been No. 29 if the rankings extended that far.
Among those teams, the Griz will play on the road at Eastern Washington and host Montana State and Sacramento State. MSU plays at Weber State, at UM and at Eastern Washington. Neither team has a non-conference foe in the Top 25 or receiving votes section.
Defending national champion Sam Houston State, which has all its starters back, took the No. 1 spot while receiving 39 of the 50 first-place votes. James Madison was No. 2 and garnered eight first-place votes. South Dakota State placed third and had three first-place votes.
Rounding out the rest of the top 10 are No. 4 North Dakota State, No. 5 Delaware, No. 7 Southern Illinois, No. 8 North Dakota and No. 10 Jacksonville State.