Big Sky Conference

Breaking down the Big Sky spring football schedule – Part III

on

Will a spring season actually become a reality for Big Sky Conference football? It’s a daily question that lingers across a league that has members in eight different states and half of the time zones in the United States.

The challenges in executing a spring season range from navigating city, county, state and federal regulations stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic; but also include evaluating revenue loss and the inclement weather that is standard throughout the Rocky Mountain West the first months of each year.

Still, the league released a six-game football schedule in earnest the day after Election Day the first week of November.

“We are going to have to figure out the whole winter season,” Montana head coach Bobby Hauck said. “The key for us is, in order to play this winter-spring season, we are going to have to do with our guys what we normally do in August. We have to determine how much work we can get done to safely put our guys out there to go out and play.

“It can be pretty treacherous in terms of the preparation. We are going to have to get in a certain amount of work to make sure our guys can safely compete. And I’m not sure when that first game can be.”

Skyline Sports has broken down the first half of the schedule along with rivalry week. The full tentative spring schedule is a six-game slate with two Saturdays — March 20 and April 17 — serving as bumper weeks in case rescheduling is needed. Every team in the league will play at least one home game and at least one away game in each the first three and the last three weeks of the season.

Here’s a look at the last two weeks of the proposed Spring football season in 2021.

WEEK 5 – APRIL 3

Game of the Week – Eastern Washington at Montana State — EWU has one of the toughest first four games of any team in the league with rivalry contests at Portland State and against Montana, a trip to UC Davis and another rivalry game against Idaho.

The Bobcats will be coming off a showdown with rival Montana and will already have three-time reigning champion Weber State in their rearview.

This could be a clash with playoff implications for both teams. Or it could be a redemption chance for one and the next step to a postseason bid for the other. Or it could be just for pride, even though the season will be still a week from its completion.

Montana State buck end Bryce Sterk (37) defends an Eastern Washington quarterback Gage Gubrud (8) pass in 2018/by Brooks Nuanez

The most interesting factor is that Montana State’s program turned a corner shortly after a 34-17 home lost to EWU in Bozeman in 2018.

That game, Eastern All-American quarterback Gage Gubrud suffered to an injury that ultimately ended his Eagle career, opening the door for Eric Barriere, an electric play-maker who led Eastern to the national title game that year as a sophomore.

And last season, MSU and Eastern Washington did not play. The Bobcats surged all the way to the FCS Final Four while Eastern finished 7-5.

Both programs will be hungry to renew their rivalry with completely different identities than the teams that produced instant classics earlier this decade like EWU’s 52-51 win at Bobcat Stadium in 2014 or the 55-50 shootout that took place in Cheney the follow year in which EWU also emerged.

Will a spring season actually become a reality for Big Sky
Conference football? It’s a daily question that lingers across a league that
has members in eight different states and half of the time zones in the United
States.

The challenges in executing a spring season range from navigating city, county, state and federal regulations stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic; but also include evaluating revenue loss and the inclement weather that is standard throughout the Rocky Mountain West the first months of each year.

Still, the league released a six-game football schedule in
earnest the day after Election Day the first week of November.

You must have a premium membership to continue.

Please Log in or Sign Up to continue.

Photos by Brooks Nuanez, Jason Bacaj or attributed. All Rights Reserved.

About Colter Nuanez

Colter Nuanez is the co-founder and senior writer for Skyline Sports. After spending six years in the newspaper industry with stops at the Missoulian, the Ellensburg Daily Record and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the former Washington Newspaper Association Sportswriter of the Year and University of Montana Journalism School graduate ('09) has cultivated a deep passion for sports journalism during his 13-year career covering the Big Sky Conference. In August of 2014, Colter and brother Brooks merged their passions of writing and art to found Skyline Sports.

Recommended for you