MISSOULA — There are some new changes coming to Class AA football starting this season. With the addition of Belgrade moving up to Class AA, that means there will be an uneven 15 teams in the class.
This year every team will make the playoffs, regardless of their record.
After the new Bozeman Gallatin school opens in 2020 and its back to an even 16 teams, every team will also make the playoffs for a 16-team bracket. In 2021, Class AA administrators will decide where to go from there.
There's also a new addition to the schedule as all teams games won't count as conference or non-conference. Some coaches have been fine with the changes, while others feel different but hope it's a short-term experiment.
"People talking about watering down the competition, I don’t think it’s going to be there," Missoula Sentinel head coach and athletic director Dane Oliver said. "Football is such a competitive game that the landscape, I think it’s a parity league, there’s going to be a lot of really good football teams and that’s exciting because that means everybody’s in the hunt. When we go to 16 next year we can evaluate where we’re at."
"I’ve probably been the most vocal about the format, I don’t like it," Missoula Big Sky head coach Matt Johnson said. "I think you should earn your way in. I get it, it’s an odd year with 15 teams. Hopefully, maybe we can learn from it and move forward."