(Editor's note: Big Sky Conference media release)
FARMINGTON, Utah -- In one of the most anticipated non-conference series in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), the Big Sky Conference and Missouri Valley have joined together to announce the 2019 Challenge Series matchups between two of the premier FCS conferences.
The series is entering its third year. In 2018, the MVFC won the series, 5-3. A total of 12 teams were featured in the eight games with eight different winners. The two leagues played each other three times during last year’s FCS Playoffs with the MVFC taking the slight edge at 2-1.
From 2013-18, the institutions in the two conferences played one another 55 times. During that span, the MVFC holds the advantage although the Big Sky and MVFC split the eight meetings in 2016, 4-4.
The MVFC holds the all-time series advantage with a 62-41 in games played between their institutions, which includes 34 playoff meetings. Notably, the Big Sky and the MVFC make up two of only three leagues to have two or more playoff teams every year since 1999. From 2014-17, the MVFC and Big Sky combined to produce eight of the 24 teams in the NCAA Division I Football Championship playoff field, while in 2018 the two conferences had a total of seven teams compete. Since the FCS playoffs began in 1978, the two leagues have combined to produce 15 national champions.
At the conclusion of the 2018 season, it was the Big Sky and MVFC going head-to-head for the NCAA Division I championship title. North Dakota State defeated Eastern Washington, 38-24, in front of 17,802 fans that piled into Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas to watch the two teams play.
When the final STATS FCS Top 25 poll came out, the MVFC had three teams ranked - North Dakota State (1), South Dakota State (3), Northern Iowa (23), while the Big Sky had Eastern Washington (2), Weber State (6), UC Davis (7) and Montana State (17) to lead all conferences with four in the final poll.
Ten Big Sky/MVFC Challenge Series games are scheduled for the 2019 season.
2019 MVFC Series Schedule
Aug. 29 - Missouri State at Northern Arizona, 6 p.m. PT (Pluto TV)
Aug. 31 - Montana at South Dakota, 2 p.m. CT (MIDCOSN/ESPN+)
Sept. 7 - Southern Utah at Northern Iowa, 4 p.m. CT
Sept. 14 - Montana State at Western Illinois, 3 p.m. CT
Sept. 21 - Idaho State at Northern Iowa, 4 p.m. CT
Sept. 21 - Northern Arizona at Illinois State, 6:30 p.m. CT
Sept. 21 - South Dakota at Northern Colorado, 2 p.m. MT (Pluto TV)
Sept. 21 - UC Davis at North Dakota State, 2:30 p.m. CT
Sept. 21 - Southern Utah at South Dakota State, 6 p.m. CT
Sept. 28 - Northern Iowa at Weber State, 6 p.m. MT (Pluto TV)
Television rights for each Challenge Series contest are controlled by the home team’s conference television agreement, which will dictate the distribution of the game and all related matters, including kick times.