Half the schedule, twice the anticipation.
Three months after the Big Sky Conference elected to postpone the 2020 football season due to coronavirus concerns, the league released its truncated, six-game spring schedules Wednesday.
Eastern Washington, ranked No. 18 in the STATS FCS media preseason poll, will open its season Feb. 27 at Portland State.
Idaho opens with Northern Colorado on Feb. 27 at the Kibbie Dome.
EWU hosts Idaho on March 13 at Roos Field.
“I am confident that all who care about our conference share in the sentiment that we cannot wait to watch our student-athletes and coaches compete for a Big Sky title and contend for the FCS championship,” Big Sky commissioner Tom Wistrcill said. “This schedule provides consistency by utilizing much of the original fall 2020 slate, flexibility by allowing space for games to be rescheduled, and sensibility by prioritizing regional matchups that minimize travel and expenses.”
The Eagles, who finished 7-5 in 2019, were given a schedule of mostly regional rivals.
Seventh-ranked Montana travels to EWU (March 6), a month before the Eagles face No. 6 Montana State in Bozeman (April 3).
EWU was set to face the Bobcats in Cheney before pandemic-induced alterations, as well as three-time defending Big Sky champion and fourth-ranked Weber State, which is no longer on the schedule.
EWU will face two California schools with a road game at UC Davis (March 13) and a regular season finale against Cal Poly (April 10) at Roos Field, the return of ex-EWU head coach Beau Baldwin.
“Preparations have been underway for quite some time now,” EWU head coach Aaron Best said. “Having the ability to put those preparations on display in a competitive manner is certainly something we have coveted and will do so in a safe and responsible manner.”
Idaho, which finished 5-7 a year ago, travels to in-state rival Idaho State (March 6) and to Portland State (March 13), hosts Montana (April 3) and concludes its regular season at Southern Utah (April 10).
Nonconference games won’t be played.
Defending Big Sky co-champion Sacramento State opted out of the spring season due to safety concerns.
Local and state health ordinances in the areas of each school will determine stadium capacities for fans.
The Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, cut to 16 teams from the original 24, are scheduled to begin April 24.
The national title game is slated for May 15 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
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