MISSOULA — The Brawl of the Wild will feature the Nos. 3 and 4 nationally ranked FCS teams.
The latest STATS Perform FCS Top 25 Poll, released Monday, features Montana at third and Montana State at fourth. Saturday's Cat-Griz football tilt, the 122nd meeting between the two rivals, will be the first where both teams are nationally ranked inside the top five.
Montana held steady at No. 3 in the poll after last week's 34-10 win at Portland State. The Grizzlies are among the hottest teams in the country, having won six consecutive games, including their last three by an average margin of 30.3 points per game.
The Bobcats climbed one place to No. 4 in the rankings after dominating Eastern Washington 57-14 last week. Montana State has won two straight since losing at Idaho on Oct. 28. The Vandals, who last week were upset by Weber State, dropped from fourth to sixth in the FCS rankings.
In addition to Montana, Montana State and Idaho, the Big Sky Conference has Sacramento State in the top 10. The Hornets are ranked eighth. No other teams from the Big Sky are in the top 25, though UC Davis is among the other teams to receive votes.
South Dakota State, the reigning national champion, again received all 56 first-place votes. The Jackrabbits shut out then-No. 22 Youngstown State 34-0 last week and will look to finish off an undefeated regular season this week against Missouri State.
Furman is still ranked second. The Paladins improved to 9-1 overall last week with a 37-3 win over VMI (the Virginia Military Institute). They close out their regular season at Wofford.
South Dakota, which earned a 14-10 win over then-No. 10 North Dakota last week, rounds out the top five. The Coyotes are at Western Illinois this weekend.