The Montana Grizzlies and Montana State Bobcats are in the FCS Playoffs for the first time together in some time. But when both teams play their respective games on Dec. 3, fans of both teams will not be able to see them play unless they are inside either Washington-Grizzly or Bobcat Stadium.
Jim O'Day, UM's athletic director, confirmed Sunday that while ESPN has the broadcast rights to the Football Championship Subdivision, the network is showing the first- and second-round games only on ESPN3 - its Internet-based channel.
"It's going to be disappointing for many of our fans," said O'Day. "They (the games) are not going to go out to a secondary provider.
"It's still hard to figure out who gets ESPN3. It's an online service. Who can get it? That's the hard part."
The Missoula-based 3rivers.net appears to be the only Montana company that offers ESPN3, according to a list provided online at espn.go.com/watchespn/affList.
The Grizzlies, who garnered the No. 4 overall seed after beating the then No. 1 Bobcats 36-10 Saturday in Bozeman, take on either Tennessee Tech or Central Arkansas in the second round on Dec. 3. The Bobcats are unseeded but still received a bye and a second-round home game on Dec. 3. MSU will take on Colonial Athletic Association power New Hampshire Dec. 3 in Bozeman. Montana moved up to No. 5 in this week’s FCS Sportsnetwork/Fathead.com Poll, while the Bobcats dropped from No. 1 to No. 7.
The quarterfinals, should the Grizzlies and Montana State Bobcats advance, could be televised on either ESPN or ESPN2, according to the playoff bracket released by the NCAA. The eight quarterfinal games will take place Dec. 9-10.
UM’s Caleb McSurdy and Brody McKnight are among the Big Sky Conference football players of the week.
McSurdy, a linebacker from Boise, Idaho, had seven solo tackles and a quarterback hurry in Montana's 36-10 upset of top-ranked Montana State on Saturday. The Griz defense held MSU to 26 points and 200 yards below its season average.
McKnight, a senior from Vancouver, British Columbia, made field goals of 34 and 33 yards and averaged 42.5 yards per punt in helping Montana claim the regular season conference co-championship and the league's automatic berth into the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Eastern Washington quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and Weber State running back C.J. Tuckett shared the offensive player of the week honors.
Mitchell had 433 yards and four passing touchdowns in his final game at Eastern Washington, a 45-14 win over Idaho State. Tuckett rushed for 211 yards and scored three of his five touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Weber State upset No. 25 Portland State 48-33.