|« Birth of Coastal Carolina football helped by gesture from Georgia Bulldogs||Eyeing the Throne »|
What Matters To Me and the Griz
Much has been made about the fact that Eastern Washington University has won more games at Washington Grizzly Stadium than any other Montana opponent.
And there’s little doubt the Eagles, who have handed the Griz four of the 21 losses they have suffered in the 24-plus year history of the stadium, consider UM their main rival.
But here’s the deal – While the Eags are the defending FCS national and Big Sky Conference defending champion, that team won’t be in Missoula Saturday.
Those four wins at Washington Grizzly, 1990, 1992, 1997 and 2005, weren’t decided by the coaching of the current Eagle staff and none of their players were aware of the victories or their supposed importance until they were advised and it will have zero effect on Saturday’s outcome.
And while the Grizzlies have plucked their share of prime athletes from areas I guess you might consider Eagle territory, EWU is not Montana’s rival and they’re not the Cats.
Now that certainly is not to diminish what they have accomplished but their league history is sparse in comparison to charter league schools around since the Big Sky’s formation in 1963 when Eastern was an NAIA entity.
There will be no bright red field and capacity Eagle crowd aided by a horde of rampaging Griz fans to cheer the Eagles Saturday.
And there won’t be any Taiwan Jones, now a running back with the Raiders, to broaden the Eagle offense or Buchanan Award winner J.C. Sheritt to pace the defense.
There will be arguably the top quarterback (Bo Levi Mitchell) and receiver (Brandon Kaufman) in the circuit to fuel the O and a stout defense that will leave the Grizzlies all they can handle.
But with a third straight road game to open the season and standing 0-2 and falling to 10th in the national poll, the Eagles are up against it in Missoula against a rabid predicted record crowd.
For the Griz, having a chance to send a message as to where this team has progressed is a focus point as is pushing the champion further down the national list toward playoff elimination with the Bobcats headed to Cheney next week.
No it’s not my rival game – although after all I am an Eastern guy – and I could care less about the four games I vividly remember when the Eagles sent me disappointedly out of the Stadium.
And no matter the outcome the Griz will continue to dominate the recruiting wars between the two teams, but all that aside, I’m sure excited about what promises to be an awesome fall football afternoon.
Take it to the bank – Griz by 14 in an up-and-down-the-field shootout.
By Mick Holien, Missoulian