With the 120th Brawl of the Wild set to kick off, Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines this week put their partisan stance on hold and joined forces in challenging ESPN to host its “College GameDay” program in Missoula when the University of Montana and Montana State clash later this month.
In a seemingly scripted video release, the Democrat and Republican urged ESPN to give Montana a shot at hosting the popular Saturday morning program.
“There’s one thing we agree on, Jon, and that’s for ESPN’s College GameDay. I think the best game’s going to be in Montana, the Brawl of the Wild,” said Daines.
“No doubt about it,” Tester replied. “It’s going to be in Missoula where the Grizzlies are going to take on the Bobcats, and I got a notion that it’s going to be one heck of a game. You’ve got to be there.”
The coming together marked a welcome break from the partisan bickering in Washington, D.C., especially as Congress fumbles with a spending bill and other national challenges.
The senators aren’t alone in pitching a Montana GameDay to ESPN. This week, Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons – a UM alumnus – also weighed in while wearing a University of Montana hoodie.
“GameDay needs to go to Missoula Montana for the Brawl of the Wild. It’s what college football is all about, as a total non-partisan,” he said.
Despite being one of the longest standing rivalries in college football – and with the outcome often implicating playoff opportunities – the Brawl of the Wild has never been featured on College GameDay in its 28 years of on-site programming.
The Bobcats are currently ranked #4 in the national Football Championship Subdivision rankings while the Grizzlies have stumbled slightly after beating the Washington Huskies in the season opener. Still, they are ranked #10 in the FCS.
Both teams are members of the Big Sky Conference and are competing to make the FCS playoffs, which could be on the line next Saturday.