Hauck and Choate shake

Montana State coach Jeff Choate, left, and Montana coach Bobby Hauck exchange pleasantries.

FARMINGTON, Utah — Montana and Montana State will meet in their annual Brawl of the Wild football game March 27 in Missoula, the Big Sky Conference said Wednesday in announcing its six-game league schedule for spring 2021.

The abbreviated slate is set to begin Feb. 27 and will culminate April 10 with two conference-wide bye weeks built in to accommodate make-up games. 

The first games will be played either in warm climates or in domes.

Montana opens at Northern Arizona and travels to Eastern Washington on March 6. Montana State opens at UC Davis and is at Weber State in Week 2.

The Griz open at home March 13 against Cal Poly, and the Bobcats will play host to Northern Colorado.

Should any of the first three games be postponed, it will be made up during the bye on March 20. The other bye date is April 17.

After UM and MSU play March 27, the Griz will be at Idaho April 3 and host Portland State April 10. The Cats will host Eastern Washington April 3 and Idaho State April 10.

The NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, which have been reduced from 24 to 16 teams this season with 11 automatic qualifiers, are scheduled to begin April 24, with Selection Sunday on April 18. The spring playoff schedule runs four-straight weeks and will conclude with the FCS National Championship Game on May 15 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

"Announcing the schedule is one more step toward football in the spring, and I am excited our student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete," UM athletic director Kent Haslam said in a press release. "Late-February is an early start, but this schedule does allow flexibility to complete the season while navigating potential impacts from COVID-19. I look forward to watching our team play."

MSU coach Jeff Choate added: “We’re excited about the opportunity to play football. We’ve never backed away from competition, and we look forward to playing a tough schedule in the spring.”

Big Sky teams will not be permitted to play non-conference games in the spring. Twelve Big Sky teams will take the field in the spring of 2021; Sacramento State announced Oct. 15 that it would not compete this season.

Game times and broadcast clearances will be announced at a later date. Each member institution will determine stadium capacities in accordance with local and/or state health ordinances and government officials

“This spring football season certainly will be unique, and I am confident that all who care about our conference share in the sentiment that we cannot wait to watch our student-athletes and coaches compete for a Big Sky title and contend for the FCS championship,” Commissioner Tom Wistrcill said. “This schedule provides consistency by utilizing much of the original fall 2020 slate, flexibility by allowing space for games to be rescheduled, and sensibility by prioritizing regional matchups that minimize travel and expenses.”

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