Midterm evaluation

Daniel Berk has only been covering the conference for two seasons, but he may be as close to a “Big Sky guru” as they come.

As a sports reporter for the Arizona Daily Sun–which covers Flagstaff and the northern part of the state–Berk’s primary focus is Northern Arizona’s football squad, however, he also has a wealth of knowledge about the rest of the conference.

And with Portland State head coach Jerry Glanville hanging up his straw hat for a couple days to take advantage of the little reprieve that is a bye week, it is time to check in with the rest of the Big Sky. In Berk’s mind, the biggest surprise of the conference thus far this season is the impressive play of Weber State. The Wildcats have jumped out to a 5-2 overall record with its only losses to Football Bowl Subdivision squads Utah and Hawaii.

But the pair of losses are not the most stunning part–it is a couple key wins. Weber State has made a clean sweep of the Montana schools, dealing the Grizzlies a 45-28 defeat in Ogden, Utah, and notching a convincing 35-12 victory over the Bobcats in Bozeman last weekend.

Remember, Montana has won at least a share of 10 straight Big Sky championships, so wins over the Grizzlies do not come easy.

While Berk expects this season’s Big Sky championship to come down to three teams–Weber State, Montana and Northern Arizona–he believes there is a definite possibility that a three-way tie could occur. However, like everyone, Berk plays favorites.

“Right now, Weber State is the favorite,” Berk said while adding that Montana is always good and Northern Arizona is currently atop the standings. “They have played a tougher schedule than Northern Arizona.”

Berk said as a Big Sky media member, naturally, he chats with other reporters covering teams around the league. And when Portland State comes up in those conversations, Berk said the feeling for all involved is usually the same.

“The initial feeling is, I’m surprised they aren’t winning more games,” Berk said. “They have tons of talent.”

Berk said that reporters who know the Big Sky understand that Glanville and offensive coordinator Mouse Davis will enjoy their fair share of success at Portland State but everyone should give them some patience.

“The people who are really familiar with the conference are holding out judgment,” Berk said.