By Mick Holien
Saturday’s cross-state tussle in Bozeman has as many overtones as I can handled.
So many times in this traditional matchup which is one of the longest running in the country the better team does not come out victories.
So many seasons, one team or another is playing at their peak heading into the pre-Thanksgiving matchup.
And this season one could easily argue that the Grizzlies, winners of five of six games straight and nod hoping for a playoff bid with a home game attached have only the Bobcats poised for the upset standing in the way.
The coaching carousel also figures into this matchup. Defensive coordinator Ty Gregorak has found a home in Bozeman and the Spokane-area native would like nothing better than to hang a goose egg on his former boss, Grizzly coach Bob Stitt.
The Grizzlies are down in the rankings and it is hard to tell whether the selection committee thinks better of Montana.
But one thing Montana fans know full well, the NCAA loves the attendance and corresponding financial cut off the Grizzlies nod to the post season.
The seven point loss in Missoula last year was not indicative of how effective the Cats were in dominating especially the ground game.
MSU leads the Sky in rushing this year thanks largely to quarterback Chris Murray, last year’s league outstanding freshman.
The games they remember are played in November.
An 8-3 mark should assure post season play, something certainly not obvious after the Weber state debacle.
And given the games of rotating QB1’s, such a record is noteworthy.
Weather I suppose could be a factor as could turnovers. This is hard to fathom but Montana has put the hammer down on the Cats in Bozeman claiming every game there since 2005.
So it’s the battle of the state’s bragging rights and not only do I have a prediction, for the first time ever I have a spread for the 12 noon contest. Griz 10-Cats 17..just sayin’