‘Cats ranked sixth in the Athlon Sports Preseason Top 25

Emily Miller

Athlon Sports released their Top 25 Preseason Rankings on June 16, and Weber State secured a sixth seed ranking — the highest rank of any Big Sky program.

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After an unprecedented spring season, the Wildcats took home their fourth straight Big Sky Conference Championship after going 5–0. Their season came to an end after falling to the Southern Illinois Salukis in the first round of playoffs at Stewart Stadium on April 24.

James Madison University secured the top seed after going 7–1 in the 2020-21 season. JMU fell to Sam Houston State University in the FCS semifinals 35–38.

The top 10 showdown between the Wildcats and the Dukes will take place on Sep. 18, where JMU will make their first ever appearance at Stewart Stadium. The two schools have previously played each other on two occasions, and JMU is currently sitting atop a 2–0 record.

The last matchup was on Dec. 21, 2019, in the FCS semifinals, where the No. 3 Wildcats fell to the No. 2 Dukes 14–30.

Following JMU, North Dakota State was dubbed No. 2. The 2020-21 Sam Houston State FCS Champions are No. 3, South Dakota State is at No. 4 and Delaware is at No. 5.

The Big Sky Conference is represented by five schools that made it into the Top 25 Preseason Poll. Montana State is at No. 8, University of Montana is No. 11, UC Davis is No. 17 and Eastern Washington comes in at No. 19.

Eastern Washington finished their 2020-21 season right behind Weber State, who earned their first ever outright conference championship.

Weber State’s home opener will be against JMU, and the next top 25 showdown will take place on Sept. 25 and is the start of Big Sky play when WSU hosts No. 17 UC Davis.

No. 8 Montana State will travel down to Ogden for a homecoming cat fight on Oct. 16.

The only away game against any Big Sky school that made it into the top 25 will be against Eastern Washington when the ‘Cats travel to Cheney, Washington, on Oct. 23.

The Wildcats head coach Jay Hill will be returning for his eighth season. Alongside Hill, there will be a total of three All-Americans and 13 All-Big Sky Athletes returning to the roster.

The kickoff of the 2021 season will begin in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah on Sep. 2.