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South Dakota State vs. Montana: 2024 FCS Championship Clash

In the heart of Frisco, Texas, the stage is set for a showdown of epic proportions. The defending champions, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits, lock horns with the resilient Montana Grizzlies in the FCS Championship game at Toyota Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 7, at 2 p.m. ET. As the anticipation builds, let’s delve into the dynamics of this clash and explore why this matchup is more than just a game.

montana griz vs sdsu texas 2024

Unraveling the Odds: Montana’s Grit vs. SDSU’s Dominance

The Journey to the Championship

Montana’s path to the title game was marked by a thrilling overtime victory against North Dakota State, showcasing their tenacity and determination. Meanwhile, South Dakota State asserted their dominance with a resounding 59-0 victory over Albany, setting the stage for a clash of contrasting journeys.

Historical Showdown: Grizzlies vs. Jackrabbits

The historical backdrop of this matchup adds another layer of intrigue. Montana and South Dakota State have crossed swords eight times, with the Grizzlies emerging victorious on every occasion. The last encounter in 2015 saw Montana triumph, setting the stage for a rivalry steeped in history and intensity.

The Tale of the Tape: Season Statistics and Streaks

SDSU’s Unblemished Record

South Dakota State enters the championship with a pristine 14-0 record, riding high on a formidable 28-game winning streak. Their last defeat to an FCS opponent was against Montana State in the 2021 FCS playoff semifinals, a memory they aim to erase with a second consecutive national title.

Montana’s Resurgence

Montana, on the other hand, boasts a nine-game winning streak, with their last loss dating back to Week 4 against Northern Arizona. Their qualification for postseason play in three of the last four seasons signals a resurgence, culminating in a shot at the FCS title.

Clash of Titans: Offense vs. Defense

SDSU’s Offensive Prowess

South Dakota State’s offense has been a force to be reckoned with throughout the season, ranking No. 39 in total yards and No. 16 in scoring. A well-oiled machine, they wasted no time in their semifinal, jumping to a 35-0 lead by halftime.

Montana’s Defensive Challenge

Montana faces a formidable challenge against SDSU’s top-ranked defense, allowing less than 10 points per game and recording three shutouts this season. With the Grizzlies ranking No. 17 in total defense and No. 5 in scoring, the battleground will be intense, requiring a stellar defensive performance to thwart the Jackrabbits.

The Winning Equation: Predictions and Recommendations

SDSU’s Superior Talent

Considering SDSU’s superior talent and their ability to maintain momentum, the odds favor them pulling ahead in the second quarter and securing a decisive victory in the second half. While the Grizzlies may offer resistance initially, the Jackrabbits’ dominance is expected to prevail.

Bet(s) to Consider

In the realm of betting considerations, South Dakota State stands out as the solid choice. Their exceptional form and superior talent make them the frontrunners in this championship clash. The Grizzlies may put up a fight, but the Jackrabbits are poised to claim their second consecutive national championship.

What is the difference between the FCS and FBS?

  1. FCS (Football Championship Subdivision):
    • Formerly known as Division I-AA, FCS schools participate in a playoff system to determine their national champion.
    • The FCS playoff involves a 24-team single-elimination tournament. Teams qualify based on their regular-season performance, and the tournament culminates in the FCS Championship Game.
    • The FCS Championship Game typically takes place in early January, and the winner is crowned the national champion.
  2. FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision):
    • FBS schools, on the other hand, participate in a bowl system to determine a national champion.
    • The FBS does not have a playoff system like the FCS. Instead, a selection committee chooses four teams to compete in the College Football Playoff (CFP).
    • The CFP involves two semifinal games and a national championship game. The winners of the semifinals face off in the championship game to determine the national champion.
    • In addition to the CFP, other bowl games feature matchups between teams from FBS conferences. While these games are significant, they do not directly contribute to the determination of the national champion.

Why does FCS have a real championship playoff bracket despite being the less popular division?

The decision to implement a playoff system for the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) was driven by several factors, and it’s not necessarily because FCS is considered “less popular” than the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Here are some reasons behind the playoff system in FCS:

  1. Number of Teams:
    • FCS has fewer teams than FBS, making it logistically more feasible to organize a playoff system. The smaller number of teams allows for a manageable tournament structure.
  2. Financial Considerations:
    • Organizing a playoff system can be more cost-effective than the extensive bowl system used in FBS. Bowl games often involve significant travel expenses for teams and fans, and the playoff system in FCS can be more centralized and controlled.
  3. Competitive Balance:
    • The playoff system is seen as a way to ensure that the national champion is determined on the field through head-to-head competition. This appeals to fans, players, and universities as it provides a clear and direct path to winning the championship.
  4. Tradition and History:
    • The FCS playoff system has been in place for several decades, and it has become a traditional and integral part of the division’s identity. The history and tradition of a playoff system contribute to its continuation.
  5. Focus on Student-Athletes:
    • The playoff system allows student-athletes to compete in a tournament setting, providing them with an experience similar to other NCAA sports. It also extends the season for the participating teams, giving more student-athletes the opportunity to compete in postseason play.
  6. Fan Engagement:
    • Playoffs often generate excitement and engagement among fans. The elimination-style format, leading to a single championship game, tends to capture the attention of fans and generates higher levels of interest and viewership.

About the Author


Eva Rodriguez, a rising star in the US sports writing scene, brings the energy of Dallas to her content creation. With a passion for gaming and a talent for storytelling, Eva introduces readers to the dynamic world of American sports.

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