The University of Montana has signed home-and-home football games with fellow Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) powerhouse teams Appalachian State and McNeese State Director of Athletics Jim O'Day announced Thursday.
Montana's series with Appalachian State begins Sept. 1, 2012, in Boone, N.C. The Mountaineers will play in Missoula early in the 2013 season.
The Grizzlies and Cowboys begin their series on Sept. 3, 2016, in Lake Charles, La. McNeese is scheduled to play at Montana Sept. 2, 2017.
The Cowboys and Mountaineers also established a home-and-home series, with games slated for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Each home team is providing the visiting squad with a $100,000 guarantee to help with travel expenses, and there is a $250,000 buy-out clause.
"This is an exciting venture for all three programs," said O'Day. "I know our coaches, players and Griz fans everywhere think very highly of these two football powers, and it will be great for the FCS to have six non-conference games featuring top-tier schools from different parts of the country.
"Special thanks should go to the administrators at Appalachian State and McNeese State who worked hard with us to find a way to make this series happen. These games should generate a lot of national interest."
"This agreement is great for everyone associated with these three excellent football programs," said Appalachian State Director of Athletics Charlie Cobb. "It gives our student-athletes and coaches the opportunity to compete against the best competition and in the best atmospheres that FCS has to offer.
“For the students, alumni and fans of all three schools, it provides four marquee non-conference games to each of our schedules that are sure to be among the nation's most talked-about showdowns each year. We hope that this agreement serves as a catalyst for more intersectional matchups between high-level FCS programs in the future."
"Scheduling quality non-conference opponents is critical to the mission and vision of what we're trying to do," said McNeese Director of Athletics Tommy McClelland. "It's exciting to our fans, our community and to our institution. This is exciting for FCS football. It has national interest. Among the three of us there have been 10 national championship appearances, and that speaks for itself."
Montana (14-2) ended the 2008 season ranked second in the nation by the Sports Network, while Appalachian State (11-3) was ranked fifth and McNeese State (7-4) 21st.
The Grizzlies have played the Mountaineers just once, winning 19-16 in overtime in a FCS semifinal game played in Missoula in 2000.
Montana has played McNeese six times. The series is tied 3-3, with each team winning three games at home.
1990 -- at Montana 45, McNeese State 22
1991 -- at McNeese State 31, Montana 3
1994 -- at Montana 30, McNeese State 28 (FCS quarterfinal game)
1997 -- at McNeese State 19, Montana 14 (FCS first-round game)
2002 -- at McNeese State 24, Montana 20 (FCS quarterfinal game)
2006 -- at Montana 31, McNeese State 6 (FCS first-round game)
2012: Montana at Appalachian (Sept. 1)
2013: Appalachian at Montana (date TBA)
2014: Appalachian at McNeese State (Aug. 30)
2015: McNeese State at Appalachian (Sept. 5)
2016: Montana at McNeese State (Sept. 3)
2017: McNeese State at Montana (Sept. 2)