MISSOULA — Montana fans, it's time to fill out your calendars, as Griz football released its 2018 and 2019 schedules on Thursday.
One of the biggest changes for next season is that Eastern Washington isn't on the schedule and longtime rival Idaho is back on it.
With Idaho dropping back down into the FCS ranks and rejoining the Big Sky, Eastern Washington is no longer one of Montana's "protected rivals."
Montana takes on the Vandals in Moscow, Idaho, for the first battle for the Little Brown Stein since 2003. The trophy is currently in Montana's possession, as the Griz won that home game 41-28.
The last time the Griz played in Moscow, Montana won 38-31.
"I have heard from so many Griz fans about the intensity of the Grizzly-Vandals matchups on the football field. It is great to have the University of Idaho back on the schedule," Montana's athletic director Kent Haslam said in a news release. "I know our fans will be excited to rekindle the football rivalry between these two great universities."
The rivalry between the two schools dates to 1903. Idaho leads the all-time ledger 55-27-2, but Montana is on a four-game win streak dating to 2000.
The 2018 schedule also features three nonconference games at the beginning of the year, starting off with Northern Iowa to open the season. Pioneer League school Drake comes to town the following week and the Griz go on the road to Western Illinois to close out the non-Big Sky slate.
Montana hosts Sacramento State, Portland State, UC Davis and Montana State in 2018, while playing on the road against Cal Poly, North Dakota, Southern Utah and Idaho.
The 2019 regular season schedule consists of 12 games. Montana hasn't played a 12-game regular season tilt since 2014.
Montana has four nonconference games in 2019, two of them coming at home. Montana opens on the road at South Dakota on Aug. 31 and has their home opener against North Alabama — a school that'll be in its second season as an FCS team. Montana's second road nonconference game is at Oregon on Sept. 14. The Griz will return home to face Monmouth as its last non-Big Sky foe.
Montana hosts Idaho State, Eastern Washington, Idaho and Weber State in 2019, while playing on the road against UC Davis, Sacramento State, Portland State and Montana State.