Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Montana State quarterback DeNarius McGhee says pressure is just a word.
"It doesn't exist when you're prepared," he adds.
McGhee has done a superb job of deflecting pressure over his first three seasons of running the Bobcats' offense. He has been a Walter Payton Award finalist each time and helped lead his team to a share of the Big Sky Conference championship. He also returns for his final season with more total yards (10,017 - 9,116 passing and 901 rushing) than any other returning quarterback in the FCS.
His Bobcats are on track for another banner campaign, but it's in the postseason when they will feel quite a bit of pressure.
The favorite in both the Big Sky preseason coaches and media polls again this season, the Bobcats want to get past the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs, which is something another conference team has done in each of the past three seasons, including Eastern Washington's national championship run in 2010.
Montana State is 30-8 over the big three-season run, but only 2-3 in the playoffs.
Coach Rob Ash returns 14 starters and 37 letterwinners to this year's club, with all of them anxious to show they are prepared for the games, and the pressure, ahead.
The Big Sky sent its three tri-champions - Montana State, Eastern Washington and Cal Poly - to the playoffs last season. With the playoffs expanding to 24 teams this year, the Big Sky could get more than three qualifiers this season, with Montana, Northern Arizona and Sacramento State the other leading candidates.
Following is a team-by-team breakdown of the 2013 Big Sky Conference race.
The Sports Network's predicted order of finish:
1. Montana State
2. Eastern Washington
4. Northern Arizona
5. Cal Poly
6. Sacramento State
7. Northern Colorado
8. North Dakota
9. Weber State
10. Southern Utah
11. Portland State
12. UC Davis
13. Idaho State