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Wayne Nelson / Forum Communications Co., Published July 17 2012

Media picks UND football to finish sixth in Big Sky, coaches say 10th

GRAND FORKS – The University of North Dakota football team was picked to finish sixth by the media poll and 10th by the coaches’ in a Big Sky Conference preseason poll.

Montana State was picked to win the league by both the media and coaches. Eastern Washington, the 2010 national FCS champion, was second in both polls, while perennial national power Montana was third in both. Portland State, a team UND will meet in a nonconference game Sept. 8 at the Alerus Center, was fourth.

UND and three other teams – Cal Poly, UC Davis and Southern Utah – will play in the Big Sky for the first time this season.

The league will be more of a mystery than usual because of the new additions. All four newcomers played in the Great West Conference last year.

But the Great West had success against the Big Sky in head-to-head meetings last year. The Great West went 6-3 against the Big Sky, including Southern Utah’s 3-0 mark against its future conference rivals.

Big Sky media poll

1. Montana State (30 first-place vote) 502 points. 2. Eastern Washington (3) 453. 3. Montana (5) 442. 4. Portland State 334. 5. Cal Poly (1) 323. 6. UND 295. 7. Weber State (1) 284. 8. Southern Utah 258. 9. Northern Arizona 242. 10. Sacramento State 191. 11. UC Davis 135. 12. Idaho State 115. 13. Northern Colorado 63.

Big Sky coaches’ poll

1. Montana State (7) 136. 2. Eastern Washington (4) 131. 3. Montana (1) 126. 4. Portland State 90. 5. Cal Poly 86. 6. Weber State 81. 7. Northern Arizona 75. 8. Southern Utah (1) 74. 9. Sacramento State 71. 10. UND 68. 11. Idaho State 31. 12. UC Davis 30. 13. Northern Colorado 14.

Wayne Nelson is the sports editor for the Grand Forks Herald