Big Sky ConferenceMontana State Bobcats


Montana State #3, Montana #10 in Athlon preseason FCS rankings

Tommy Mellott
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Posted at 3:19 PM, May 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-23 18:20:10-04

Athlon Sports released it's annual Preseason FCS Top 25 Rankings Tuesday morning, which featured six Big Sky programs.

Montana State topped the conference with a spot in the top three, following both #1 South Dakota State and #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 who ultimately steamrolled the Bison to secure the program's first ever national championship.

With the No. 2 ranked rushing attack, 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 #7, while Montana rounded out the top ten.

The Grizzlies secured FBS quarterback transfer Sam Vidlak in the offseason, who 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 ranked #14, while Sacramento State is #15 and Weber State is #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.