A truly marquee match-up for the Championship Subdivision is getting national face time on Week 2. Per a press release via Appalachian State athletics, the Sept. 8 contest pairing FCS powerhouses Montana and ASU is slated for a 6:30 p.m. ET kickoff, with broadcast available on ESPN3 and the ESPN Gameplan package.
National coverage of two of its top teams is certainly a plus for the FCS, and the Mountaineers and Grizzlies should put on a show for those watching. Their last meeting was a national semifinal clash in the 2009 Playoffs. A raucous, capacity Grizzly Stadium crowd bore through snow flurries to witness UM knock off Armanti Edwards’ Mountaineers in dramatic fashion, 24-17.
Still, it’s a little underwhelming. The programs are worthy a more prominent stage than online or pay-per-view, having proven just that with their aforementioned playoff classic with a record high rating on the ESPN broadcast.
Games currently slated within the same kickoff window and within the Worldwide Leader’s broadcast sphere that evening are:
- Texas Tech at Texas State: Rumored relegation to Longhorn Network caused a minor stir last month.
- Presbyterian at Georgia Tech: Big South member PC is completely over-matched against Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets.
- Memphis at Arkansas State: The reigning Sun Belt champion draws a Memphis team that went 2-10 a season ago.
- Louisiana-Lafayette at Troy
Ironically, the game most worthy of slotting on one of ESPN’s primary networks when compared to UM-ASU is the Sun Belt’s offering. La.-Lafayette is coming off a 10-win, bowl season and Troy should be on the upswing back to conference relevance. That said, ASU’s FCS best 26,211 in average attendance trumped Troy’s average home attendance by nearly 9,000. Frankly, Kidd Brewer Stadium will present a better atmosphere on television. The same is true for
To that same end, let’s take this argument a step further. Not only is UM-ASU worthy of airing either via ESPN 2 or the primary network, College Gameday should consider setting up shop in Boone that Saturday. Russell Varner of SouthernPigskin.com penned a persuasive piece campaigning for a Gameday FCS visit last season, and this pairing is the perfect opportunity.
ESPN has gone outside the box a few times for its flagship gridiron program. Last season took the show to Houston for a Conference USA clash that actually aired on the FOX networks, and resulted in one of Gameday’s most memorable moments of 2011:
Gameday also visited Utah for its match-up with TCU in 2010, which aired on The mtn. (RIP). At ASU are grounds Gameday has never trod sod, it’s a game between two highly successful programs, and the Mountaineer fan base is passionate.
So maybe Gameday at an FCS game is a pipe dream, but at the very least this needs a more prominent showcase.