By ERIC TABER for GoGriz.com
On the heels of an up and down opening two weeks of the college football season, the net result for the Montana Grizzlies is a No. 8 ranking in this week’s STATS FCS poll and FCS coaches’ poll.
The Griz, ranked 13th in the preseason STATS poll and 12th in the preseason Coaches’ poll, cracked the top 10 after unseating No. 1 ranked NDSU Bison in the annual FCS Kickoff game in front of a record crowd at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
In a wild opening week for the rest of FCS football, previously unranked Cal Poly upset Montana to earn a spot in the top 25, and potentially preventing the Griz from a No. 1 ranking, as only two of the seven teams ahead of UM took home wins.
Montana (1-1) picked up two first-place votes in the STATS poll for 2,401 points and three first-place votes for 393 points in the Coaches’ poll.
It was a strong weekend for Big Sky Conference teams with six programs landing in the top 25, tying the Missouri Valley Conference for the best representation in rankings.
Eastern Washington (7), Montana (8), Montana State (11), Cal Poly (18), Idaho State (23) and Portland State (24) are each on the STATS media poll, while Portland State sits just two places off the top 25 in the Coaches’ poll with 22 points.
Portland State and North Dakota (who received 186 points in the media poll, just four spots out of the top 25) both pulled off FBS upsets, with the Vikings defeating Washington State and North Dakota taking down Wyoming in Laramie.
Sam Houston State moves into first place in the STATS poll, collecting 31 of the 144 first-place votes and 3,132 points. The Bearkats began their season Saturday with a 59-45 loss to Big 12 member Texas Tech despite gaining 671 yards – the third-highest single-game total in school history.
Coastal Carolina moves into the No. 1 spot (up from No. 5) in the Coaches’ poll as one of the two teams in the top-10 to win, with a close 38-35 win over Furman. The Sunbelt Conference-bound Chanticleers tallied four first-place votes with 517 points to take the top spot.
A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries select the STATS FCS Top 25. A first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24 points, all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.