Before I begin to vent on what is a yearly embarrassment for the Big Sky Conference, let’s hit a quick question:
Who were the 4 teams from the Big Sky to make the FCS playoffs?
If you looked at the conference’s TV package, you probably would think they were Eastern Washington, Montana, Montana State and Idaho.
Two of those are correct: Eastern Washington & Montana State, as the Bobcats squeaked in with two wins in the final two weeks.
The other two were UC Davis and Weber State. The Aggies had their best season since moving to D1 matching the Wildcats and Eagles for the top spot in the conference. For Weber State it was their second straight shared title.
Each only appears on the the conference “Game of the Week” once.
They only get those appearances because they’re playing Montana.
Also, while Northern Colorado is scheduled to appear once this year, fair warning: AT&T Sportsnet may not carry that game against Eastern Washington.
One of the contractual quirks is that the conference’s highly touted TV schedule is for one network: Root Sports – Pacific Northwest. While a sister of ATTRM, our regional network could bypass the UNC appearance to carry a game involving Wyoming or Colorado State, as it has been more interested in working deals for the leftovers from the Mountain West TV contracts.
Note that mention of Root being a Pacific Northwest network. That’s why the schedule is weighted to favor the Montana schools, Eastern Washington and Idaho. To them, it’s a business decision, trying to force cable systems in that footprint to keep them in place.
For the rest of the conference, it’s a pathetic example of dropping the ball. It is not a conference-wide TV package and the Big Sky should stop promoting it as such. It results in too much mocking, complaining, etc, among those who really know what’s going on.
The next time the contract comes up for negotiation, a true conference-wide package should be the discussion, not one that favors specific schools from one region.