PARK CITY, Utah — When the UC Davis football team ended up in a tie for fourth place at 5-3 in the Big West Conference last season, it was a finish that surprised the league’s media and coaches, who picked the Aggies to take 11th and 12th, respectively.
If UCD performs above prediction in a similar way in 2014, it will be competing for a league title.
On Monday, at the Big Sky’s annual summer kickoff in Park City, Utah, the conference announced that the media has picked the Aggies to finish seventh, while the coaches have the locals in ninth place.
UCD received 228 points from the media and 66 points from the Big Sky’s 13 head coaches. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.
The top five teams in each poll mirror each other with Eastern Washington the favorite in both. The Eagles received 12 first-place votes from the coaches with Montana receiving the other. The media awarded Eastern Washington 34 first-place votes with Montana and Montana State each earning one.
Montana, Montana State, Cal Poly, Northern Arizona and Southern Utah follow Eastern Washington in order in each poll. The next three teams in both polls are Sacramento State, Portland State and UCD, but the Aggies and Hornets are reversed in the two preseason rankings.
“Respect is something that is earned and not given,” said second-year Aggie head coach Ron Gould. “The teams at the top of the polls have earned that respect from the coaches and the media. This is an exciting time of the year. We’re thrilled to get the season (started) and earning the right to say we’re one of the better teams in the country and in the conference.”
The opening of preseason practices is less than three weeks away. UCD will hit the field for the first time on Aug. 4 with its season opener at Stanford set for Aug. 30. Fort Lewis (Colo.) will be at Aggie Stadium on Sept. 6 before another Football Bowl Subdivision opponent in Colorado State awaits the visiting Aggies on Sept. 14.