When the Big Sky Conference agreed to its current media rights deal with ESPN three years ago, the league was guaranteed that two of its regular season contests would be broadcasted on one of ESPN’s national networks. On Wednesday the league revealed which two matchups got the distinct honor this year.
The first game getting the prime time treatment this fall will be the Week 7 showdown between Idaho and Montana. Both the Vandals and Grizzlies were playoff teams a year ago and have established a long-running rivalry. Idaho and Montana will meet in Moscow on October 14 on ESPN2 marking the first time the “Little Brown Stein” battle will be aired on a national network. The two schools have met 88 times dating all the way back to 1903 with Idaho winning last year’s contest in Missoula.
This will be the third straight year that Montana will play in front of a nationwide TV audience as the Griz took on Eastern Washington and Sacramento State in the primetime slot the last two seasons respectively. The game will kick off at 10:30 PM (ET).
The second contest, also airing on ESPN2, will take place one week later when Montana State travels to Sacramento State in a clash of last year’s co-Big Sky Champions. The October 21 meeting between MSU and Sac State will be the first time the programs have squared off in nearly four years. Both the Bobcats and the Hornets reached the FCS playoffs last year with Montana State making its third straight run to the semifinals (excluding the COVID-shortened 2021 spring season).
MSU will be making its third consecutive showing on national television after hosting UC Davis last year on ESPNU and traveling to Weber State the year prior on the same network. The Hornets, meanwhile, will be at home on prime time for the second year in a row. This game will also kick off at 10:30 PM (ET).