Brawl of the Wild

It’s officially Cat-Griz week across Montana – this is the week when the Montana Grizzlies take on the Montana State Bobcats in a college football game called the Brawl of the Wild.

It’s the 113th meeting. Meeting 113 times for anything is pretty impressive. I will have the one key thing you need to know about the game later in this column.

This year’s game will be held in Bozeman – home of the Bobcats. The Bobcats are 7-4 overall and 5-2 in the Big Sky Conference, and the Grizzlies are 9-2 overall and 5-2 in the Big Sky Conference. A few years ago when players (and some coaches) were getting arrested frequently, someone joked that they might need to hold the game at a field near the Montana State prison. They have done better in keeping out of trouble since then, it seems.

I’m an outsider. Heck, I’m not even a 4th or 5th generation Montanan, and I don’t play one on TV. I also attended another university in Montana. So I don’t have a horse in the race although I have friends on both sides of the fight, and I watch both teams often. I do know that people take this game very seriously – and there are some great jokes told about each team during the week. The media will tell us about families who split like it’s a civil war during this week – Mom and Dad went to one University and little Billy is playing for the other.

This week you can vote for who you think will win the game – take my poll HERE. Results will be released on Friday in my “Caught My Eye” column.

If you are a politician then the “Brawl of the Wild” game is the place to be. You have to attend and shake hands with folks and wave a lot. You also have to act like you enjoy football – you have to be seen.

Here is the one thing you need to know about the game: 

Unfortunately, a politician may have irreparably harmed (jinxed?) one football team already. The Montana State Bobcats were cruising along on a five game winning streak and had a record of 7-2 and they were undefeated in the Big Sky Conference.

Then came November 6.

On Wednesday, November 6 in Bozeman, Bobcats quarterback DeNarius McGhee led a group in the Pledge of Allegiance at a “Special Event” for Congressman Steve Daines. This is the day that Daines announced he was running for U.S. Senate.

Since that faithful day, the Bobcats have lost their next two games, and they may not make the playoffs. McGhee has thrown only one touchdown pass and has three interceptions since that day. The Bobcats can’t win the Big Sky Conference now.

In the next 113 years, November 6 may be known as the date that the Bobcats were Daines-ed.

Will the Bobcats, can the Bobcats, ever win again?