Posted: Nov 22, 2011 12:01 PM by David Sherman (Great Falls)
Updated: Nov 22, 2011 12:34 PM
Fans of the MSU Bobcats and the UM Grizzlies were bitter rivals during Saturday's game, but they are now united on one issue: they want to be able to watch their respective teams on TV in their next big games, and as of now, that doesn't look likely.
Montana State will host New Hampshire in a second round FCS playoff game on December 3rd, and UM will host the winner of the first round FCS playoff game between Tennessee Tech and Central Arkansas on December 3rd.
ESPN holds the rights to all Football Championship Subdivision playoff games, and both second-round games for MSU and UM will only be available online on ESPN3 - which itself is only available via certain internet service providers. The bottom line: neither of the games will be broadcast on TV.
Montana fan outrage has taken to Facebook, with people leaving comments expressing their anger and frustration, some at ESPN, some at the FCS.
Football fan John Sterret has even created a Facebook page called, "Petition to have ESPN Have Feeds of FCS Playoff Games" that has already garnered more than 700 "attendees" and explains:
This is a Petition to let ESPN know that their decision to Black out First and Second Round FCS Playoff games is a Bad Decision. Please Pass on to everyone you know, in and out of the State of Montana even if affiliated with another team in the Playoffs, Let our voices be heard!! I will be forwarding this to ESPN on the 1st of December.
One silver lining to this dark cloud: the games will be heard on radio, on whatever radio stations normally carry them.
If you'd like to offer feedback to ESPN about their decision, here is the link.