ESPN deal takes Griz off TV

2011-11-21T12:30:00Z 2011-11-23T07:03:00Z ESPN deal takes Griz off TVBy FRITZ NEIGHBOR of the Missoulian missoulian.com
November 21, 2011 12:30 pm  • 

Tickets will go on sale at 8:30 a.m. Monday for the No. 5 Montana Grizzlies' Dec. 3 playoff game against either Tennessee Tech or Central Arkansas.

They should sell well; it's going to be difficult for anyone outside Washington-Grizzly Stadium to see the Griz.

Jim O'Day, UM's athletic director, confirmed Sunday that while ESPN has the broadcast rights to the Football Championship Subdivision, the network is showing the first- and second-round games only on ESPN3 - its Internet-based channel.

"It's going to be disappointing for many of our fans," said O'Day. "They (the games) are not going to go out to a secondary provider.

"It's still hard to figure out who gets ESPN3. It's an online service. Who can get it? That's the hard part."

The Missoula-based Internet provider 3rivers.net appears to be the only Montana company that offers ESPN3, according to a list provided online at espn.go.com/watchespn/affList.

The quarterfinals, should the Grizzlies and Montana State Bobcats advance, could be televised on either ESPN or ESPN2, according to the playoff bracket released by the NCAA. The eight quarterfinal games will take place Dec. 9-10.

Tickets for the Dec. 3 game are $26 for reserved, $5 for students and $10 for a UM guest ticket. They go on sale at the Adams Center ticket office and all local outlets, including griztix.com.

Season-ticket holders get first crack at their seats, and because the game is more than a week away they have a little extra time to decide: Until Friday at noon.

The Adams Center will be closed Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving, but fans can still purchase their tickets online or by fax.

The box office is open from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday this week and 1-6 p.m. on Saturday. It reopens at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 28.

O'Day chaired the FCS playoff committee that met in Indianapolis over the weekend, and said that No. 7 Montana State's position on the same side of the bracket as Montana is no coincidence.

"A lot of it is geography," O'Day said. "It's one of the top criteria."

It's not uncommon, either. In 2004 the Griz were looking at a semifinal rematch with Eastern Washington before the Eagles were beaten at home by Sam Houston State in the quarterfinals.

"If MSU had beaten North Dakota State (in the second round), Montana State would've gone to Eastern last season," O'Day added. "It seems like we're having to play each other a lot, but unless the NCAA makes a decision to change the geographic question, that's probably going to remain the case."

O'Day said geography helped keep Montana State, which was ranked No. 1 before its 36-10 home loss to the Grizzlies Saturday, from going to fifth-seeded Northern Iowa.

"But actually, Wofford is closer to Northern Iowa than Bozeman is," he said.

Northern Iowa will host the Terriers in the second round on Dec. 3.

Delaware was one of the notable programs that missed the playoffs this season. The Blue Hens, 7-4, were the FCS runners-up to Eastern Washington in January.

Other notable absences were No. 18 Illinois State and No. 25 Jacksonville State. Delaware was ranked No. 14 in the Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25 that was released Sunday, but had just six Division I wins.

"There were actually eight teams that won seven Division I games who didn't get in," noted O'Day. "And there were six who had six wins but had great credentials."

QUICK KICKS: Griz RB Peter Nguyen has rushed for 387 yards on 56 carries (6.9-yard average) in the last three games. His first rushing TD of the season came against the Cats, from 21 yards out. ... Griz kicker Brody McKnight hit his 13th and 14th straight field goal attempts against MSU. That breaks the UM record of 13 straight by Dan Carpenter in 2005. ... UM's record attendance for a home playoff game is 24,207 in the 2009 semifinal against Appalachian State, which the Griz won 24-17. Washington-Grizzly Stadium holds 25,217.

Copyright 2016 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick