July 20, 2011

Eastern picked to win the Big Sky Conference

Preseason media polls are out for Big Sky Conference football and look who are the favorites? Those incredible Eastern Washington Eagles.

You know what this also means? Montana wasn't picked to win the Sky. Wonder of wonders! And obviously this is making a little bit of news in the Treasure state:

It's the lowest the Griz have been ranked by the media since 1992, when they were predicted to finish third; the coaches haven't picked them this low since 1991, when Montana was No. 4 in both polls.

Montana had been either first or second in each poll from 1993 on, and first in every poll other than 1997 (Northern Arizona) and 2005 (Eastern Washington).

"It's really pretty close to what I expected," said second-year Griz coach Robin Pflugrad, who guided UM to a 7-4 mark last season, 5-3 in the Big Sky. "I think primarily historical date is what goes into it, and they look at who has what coming back.

"With Eastern Washington having so many players back, including an outstanding quarterback, that's where they should be."

If you read between the lines what Pflugrad is setting up for is that Sept. 17 game against the Eagles at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. I hate to say it, but all the pressure of the world will be put on the Eagles.

It's one thing to be a good team, it's another thing to be a good team with expectations. The road to a Big Sky Championship will be tougher for the Eags this year, and they'll have to brace for everyone's best shot. Montana State and Montana are going to come after Eastern Washington like Spokane just insulted their mother.

I feel a bit uneasy, not really looking forward to that EWU-UM game, it could get a bit ugly on both sides.

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