From the Fringe… Big road games to decide fates of Cats, Griz


Last updated 10/9/2023 at 12:14pm

Now we’ll find out what our two NCCA Division I college football teams are really made of. 

That’s because it’s October, and we’ve reached the heart of the college football season.

Oh yeah, and the next month is really going to show us what we can expect in the Brawl of the Wild come November in Missoula.

Before we get to that however, the Montana State Bobcats and Montana Grizzlies have some big tests.

The Griz, who have really struggled at times, despite their 4-1 record, have back-to-back road challenges against nationally ranked opponents, and both games will be in hostile territory. First, 17th-ranked Montana travels to UC Davis Saturday night, then, next Saturday night, the Griz visit No. 3 Idaho in a nationally televised ESPN2 road game in Moscow, Idaho.

The Griz won’t be favored in either game, and the stretch is eerily similar to when the Griz lost at Weber State and Sacramento State in back-to-back night games a year ago. Both teams were highly ranked and the Griz lost both games by one possession, and that two-week stretch ended Montana’s hopes of a Big Sky championship. 

Now, with a road loss at NAU on their record, the Grizzlies can’t afford many losses or, not only will the Big Sky be out of reach, but the playoffs will be unlikely as well.

Montana State has been the opposite of struggle thus far, but like the Griz, the Cats have some big road challenges ahead.

The second-ranked Bobcats have the No. 1 rushing attack in the nation and are steam-rolling teams even without starting quarterback Tommy Mellott. 

However, at the end of the month, the Cats will face their two biggest challenges in Big Sky play when they visit Sacramento State Oct. 21, in another ESPN2 night game, as well as conference favorite Idaho Oct. 28 in Moscow.

Should MSU come out of that road schedule unscathed, then the path to the Big Sky title and perhaps the No.1. or No. 2 seed in the FCS playoffs becomes very, very clear. And yet, neither one of those games will be easy, no matter how good, or how talented MSU is.

So there you have it. The second month of the season has arrived and for the future of both the Bobcats and Grizzlies, October is going to be a big one.

Editor’s Note: While Montana State has their bye this week, the Grizzlies will visit UC Davis Saturday night with a 5 p.m. kickoff in Davis, California. The game can be seen statewide on MTN or on ESPN+.


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