We knew we were in trouble today when, at 11 a.m., a friend of the paper popped into the newsroom and declared he had "only" seven hours to kill before the Griz game. Then we saw approximately 523 signs at area businesses declaring they were closing early for the big game. Then we saw roughly a million maroon-and-silver clad fans all over downtown. In Missoula. Two thousand, one hundred miles from where the games being played. Good God. Really? Is Missoula the Dillon, Texas, of FCS football?
Well, in the spirit of things, here's your complete pre-game rundown:
Get psyched by watching this:
The Philadelphia press talks a little subtle smack about the Griz:
Montana, which overcame a 27-point, third-quarter deficit in the opening round against South Dakota State and avoided overtime last week against three-time champ Appalachian State (2005-07) with a late goal-line stand, went down in last December's final to Richmond, another Colonial Athletic Association team. A team that 'Nova had beaten 3 months earlier.
And then this:
Anyway, the Grizzlies won it all in 1995 and 2001, and also finished second in 1996, 2000, 2004 and '08. So they have a pedigree. Of course, the Wildcats have beaten a No. 1 club each of the past two seasons.
And, finally, this:
Montana coach Bobby Hauck, an alum (class of 1988), is 80-16. But he's never lifted the ultimate trophy. This is the fifth time the Griz have gone through a regular season unbeaten, and second in 3 years. But they've never finished this tourney unbeaten.
Those looking for how Villanova plans to disrupt the Griz may find this interesting:
Utilizing its 3-3-5 defense, Villanova plans to blitz Montana early and often.
"I've been watching a lot of film on them," Wildcats linebacker Osayi Osunde said of the Grizzlies. "I haven't seen them play anyone that blitzes as much as our team does.
The Missoulian wraps up all the local places that are showing the game tonight. We'll probably be at the Wilma.
eGriz has been blowing up all week. It's still the best source for breaking Griz news.
Speaking of which, the Las Vegas Sun reports that Bobby Hauck is set to interview in Sin City for the open UNLV position on Sunday. The Rebels recently hired a new AD who said his priority is hiring a new coach "yesterday." Hauck's only competition for the gig, it appears, is Dennis Franchione, who will interview on Monday. So tonight may be our last chance to see Hauck stalk the Griz sideline.
T-minus one hour to kickoff ...