I’m thinking maybe I have been around the Big Sky Conference too long since the move to Spokane for the pre-football season session seems like full circle.
When I first started covering the Griz when it was but 20 years old in 1983 ,writers and broadcasters went to Sun Valley, Idaho in August, which was about as challenging to attend as when they moved the affair to Park City.
The moves, mandated by the league, were reportedly made to increase media attendance by making the location easier to travel to.
The circuit also eliminated the usual golf tournament which I think that was a mistake and I am not a golfer.
It gave an opportunity not only to as a media member get further acquainted with the coaches and players who attended but also for the coaches to get familiar with each other.
The Big Sky Conference is one of the more stable FCS leagues in the FCS having been established in 1963 with charter members Montana, Montana State, Weber State, Idaho, Idaho State and Gonzaga which stopped playing football in the thirties and departed the league in 1979.
Since 1949 the Grizzlies formerly played in the Skyline Conference which preceded their involvement in the Pacific Coast Conference.
With the move to Spokane schools are asked to bring a top player from both sides of the football for electronic and print interviews.
And sometimes that in itself was entertaining because at times the student-athlete had never been cornered by a horde, hungry to anything different or controversial.
Griz nemesis Idaho returns to the league as a full-time member and I forecast it will not take the Vandals, previously recognized as Quarterback U for the number of signal callers who went to the NFL.
Idaho also had a reputation of beating Montana in a late season game often preventing the Grizzlies from advancing to the post season.
One of my real disappointments was in ’95 when the Griz fell way back only to see Dave Dickenson get it going after the intermission but falling in Moscow in a shootout 55-43.
But claiming the league title there in 1993 as part of a nine-game win streak 54-34 sure made the trip back to Missoula darn fun even though I did almost run out of gas coming down Fourth of July but that’s for another time.
So how was Josh Buss, off a team picked to finish seventh by the coaches, picked as league Defensive player of the Year.
That’s coming up tomorrow along with some John Fogerty highlights.
Suffice it to say they both are the real deal.