Big Sky Sets Football Schedules for 13-Team League

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – The Big Sky Conference released its football schedules for the next four seasons Thursday as the league prepares to expand to 13 teams with the addition of UC Davis, Cal Poly, North Dakota and Southern Utah in the 2012-13 school year.

The league’s athletics directors recently approved the schedules in which all teams will play eight conference games — four at home and four on the road.

Each team will have two “rivals” that it will play each season, including a traditional rivalry game that will wrap up the regular season. The Montana-Montana State game will continue to be held on the last weekend of the season, a spot it has held since the early 1990s. Montana’s other rivalry game is against Eastern Washington, while Montana State will play North Dakota every year.

Over the course of four years, teams will play each conference opponent at least twice. Teams also have the option of scheduling nonconference games against league opponents.

“Scheduling nonconference games, especially against other (Football) Championship Subdivision programs had become increasingly difficult in the West,” league Commissioner Doug Fullerton said in a statement Thursday. “Since nearly all of the FCS schools in the region now reside in the Big Sky Conference, our institutions need to have the option to play each other as nonconference opponents in years they aren’t playing conference games.”

League officials are still developing a tiebreaker formula to determine the regular-season conference champion, which determines the league’s automatic berth in the FCS playoffs.

Current members of the Big Sky are: Eastern Washington, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State and Weber State.

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