Year in and year out Portland State football has one of the most challenging Football Championship Subdivision schedules in the country, and 2017 will be no different. The Vikings will open the season with a pair of FBS opponents sure to be popular with local fans, and conclude with four straight opponents who were participants in this year's FCS Playoffs.
The Vikings will travel to BYU for the first time in history on Aug. 26, then play Oregon State for the fifth time ever on Sept. 2. Montana (home) and Montana State (road) return to the schedule, and the Vikings will also play 2016 FCS playoff teams North Dakota, Cal Poly, Weber State and Eastern Washington over the final four weeks of 2017. In all, the Vikings will have five home games at Providence Park and six road games.
PSU has its earliest start ever to a season when it plays BYU on Aug. 26. The Vikings and Cougars are allowed to play on "zero week" as Brigham Young plays a game at Hawai'i in 2017. The NCAA thus allows the program to schedule a 13th game.
BYU is 8-4 this season as it prepares for the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl where it will face Wyoming.
Portland State returns to Corvallis to play Oregon State on Sept. 2. The schools last met in 2014, a 29-14 OSU victory. The Beavers lead the all-time series, 4-0.
Oregon State (4-8 in 2016) will be the seventh Pac-12 opponent in the last six seasons for the Vikings, and the 13th dating back to 2006.
PSU will have a bye on Sept. 9, then host its home opener on Sept. 16 against UC Davis. Although the Aggies are members of the Big Sky, the game will be played as a non-conference matchup. PSU beat UC Davis, 51-29, in Davis on Nov. 5 and leads the all-time series, 11-4.
The following Saturday will also be a bye for the Vikings, then they play eight straight Big Sky Conference games, alternating home and road.
PSU hosts Montana in its Big Sky Conference opener on Sept. 30. The teams did not meet in 2016 due to the Big Sky having 13 members. The last meeting was a 35-16 PSU win in 2015. The Grizzlies were 6-5, 3-5 in Big Sky games in 2016.
Portland State will travel to Montana State for a game on Oct. 7. PSU and MSU also did not play in 2016. The Vikings won the last matchup, 59-42, at Providence Park in 2015. The Bobcats were 4-7, 2-6 in Big Sky games in 2016.
On Oct. 14, the Vikings will be back at Providence Park to face Northern Arizona. It marks the third straight week PSU plays a team it missed in 2016. In fact, the last meeting was in 2014, a 21-17 NAU win. The Lumberjacks were 5-6 in 2016, 4-4 in Big Sky Conference games.
PSU has won at Idaho State in its last three trips to Pocatello and will get another chance on Oct. 21. Overall, the Vikings have beaten the Bengals six times in the last seven years, including a 45-20 decision this past season in Providence Park. ISU finished 2016 with a 2-9 record, 1-7 in the Big Sky.
PSU's final four games of 2017 will be against the top four teams in the Big Sky in 2016, all of whom played in the FCS Playoffs.
The Vikings welcome North Dakota to Providence Park on Oct. 28. The teams did not play in 2016 and UND won the most recent meeting, 19-17, in 2015. The Fighting Hawks (9-3, 8-0) were Big Sky Conference co-champions in 2016, but were knocked out of the playoffs by Richmond, 27-24.
Cal Poly (7-5, 5-3) will host the Vikings on Nov. 4 in San Luis Obispo. The Mustangs won this year's meeting at Providence Park, 55-35, and lead the all-time series, 12-11. Cal Poly lost an opening-round playoff game to San Diego, 35-21.
PSU's home finale will be against Weber State. The Vikings will try to avenge a narrow, 14-10 loss to the Wildcats suffered this season in Ogden. Weber State was also 7-5 this year, 6-2 in Big Sky play. The Wildcats lost in the opening round of the FCS Playoffs to Chattanooga, 45-14.
The regular season finale will take place in Cheney, WA as PSU and Eastern Washington square off in their annual Dam Cup rivalry game on Nov. 18. The Eagles took a close win in this year's regular season finale, 35-28. Portland State leads the all-time series, 20-18-1. Eastern is now in the FCS quarterfinals facing Richmond after a 31-14 win over Central Arkansas.
• This is the eighth time that Portland State has played at least two FBS level programs in the same season (the Vikings played three in 2006).
• Despite this being PSU's 71st season of football, the Vikings face BYU for just the first time in history.
• PSU faces only five teams in 2017 that were on the schedule in 2016 (UC Davis, Idaho State, Cal Poly, Weber State, Eastern Washington). The Vikings went 2-3 against those teams.
• Due to the 13-team Big Sky Conference, Portland State plays four league teams it did not see in 2016: Montana, Montana State, Northern Arizona and North Dakota. The Vikings see three other opponents cycle off their schedule in 2017: Southern Utah, Northern Colorado and Sacramento State.
• The 2017 NCAA I FCS playoffs, which includes 24 teams, begin on Nov. 25.
• The University of Idaho will rejoin the Big Sky Conference as a football-playing member in 2018.
PORTLAND STATE'S 2017 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Aug. 26, at BYU
Sept. 2, at Oregon State
Sept. 9, bye
Sept. 16, UC DAVIS (NC)
Sept. 23, bye
Sept. 30, MONTANA*
Oct. 7, at Montana State*
Oct. 14, NORTHERN ARIZONA*
Oct. 21, at Idaho State*
Oct. 28, NORTH DAKOTA*
Nov. 4, at Cal Poly*
Nov. 11, WEBER STATE*
Nov. 18, at Eastern Washington+*
* Big Sky Conference game
Times and media information TBA
Portland State has scheduled non-conference FBS opponents for the coming six seasons. Here is who the Vikings will play among FBS opponents in the future:
Sept. 1, at Nevada
Sept. 8, at Oregon
Aug. 31, at Arkansas
Sept. 12, at Arizona
Sept. 4, at Hawai'i
Sept. 3, at San Jose State
Sept. 2, at Oregon
Sept. 9, at Wyoming
• Additional FBS opponents will soon be added in '19, '20, '21 and '22.
• Portland State has not played Nevada since 1976 when the Wolfpack was a member of the Big Sky Conference and PSU was a Division II program.
• PSU has played Oregon four times between 1994 and 2010.
• The Viking program has never faced an SEC school, Arkansas will be the first.
• Arizona and Wyoming will be first-time meetings when the Vikings play those schools in 2020 and 2023, respectively.
• Portland State registered its first-ever win over an FBS program when it beat Hawai'i, 45-20, in 2000 under Head Coach Tim Walsh.
• PSU played San Jose State for the first time this past season, losing 66-35.