ESPN College GameDay Headed to The Brawl of The Wild


Brennan Labbe, Reporter

BOZEMAN- For the first time in the Big Sky Conference history, ESPN’s popular college football pregame show, College GameDay will feature the menacing rivalry between the Montana State Bobcats and the University of Montana Grizzlies. The 121st Brawl of The Wild features two top-15 FCS teams and will likely determine who will make the playoffs this year and who will be seeded higher.

College GameDay has only visited non-FBS Division 1 schools 11 times before they announced their plans to cover this year’s biggest rivalry game in the FCS. The last time they covered a game that is classified as a “subdivision of D1” was last month for the matchup between Jackson State and the Southern Jaguars, making this the only time to date that smaller schools have been showcased twice in the same season.

The fourth oldest rivalry game in the FCS has appeared since 1901, with the edge to the Grizzlies, who hold the all-time record at 73-41-5. The University of Montana stands this year at 7-3 and 4-3 in the Big Sky while the Bobcats hold the momentum at 9-1 and 7-0 in the conference with their only loss of the season coming against the Oregon State Beavers back on Sept. 17. Although the Grizzlies hold the cumulative record of the famous brawl and currently hold the Great Divide Trophy, the Cats have won 4 of the past 5 clashes. 

“It is pretty crazy,” said Junior Timbur Nilson. Nilson’s older brother Tommy, played for Hellgate last year, and signed to the Bobcats last spring. “I would have never thought that our family, and the cities of Bozeman and Missoula would be a part of something so big.” Nilson also plays football for Hellgate, and has followed in the footsteps of his older brother. “MSU and U of M have always been a powerhouse in FCS football, so it’s really good for them to finally get the attention they deserve, and possibly get a wider audience.” 

The Grizzlies started off the season right where they left off last year, winning the first of its five matches of the season, before falling to the Idaho Vandals at home, 23-30. They then continued a downward spiral by dropping the next two matchups in a row on the road. Right now, the Griz are coming off of two monster Big Sky home game wins 57-0 and 63-7 against Cal Poly and Eastern Washington, respectively. 

On the other side of the ball, the Montana State Bobcats are on their way to a record- breaking season with their undefeated Big Sky record that the Griz hope to shatter coming up to week 12. The Bobcat’s won their last two games against Northern Arizona and Cal Poly 41-38 and 72-28. 

The air time for the famous pre game show is set to begin at 7 a.m MT until 10 a.m, with the kick off for the game set for noon. You can catch the game on local CBS stations, and ESPN+. Wake up early and SHOW OUT GRIZ NATION! The last game of the year is the biggest yet!