Not Ready to Throw in the Season Towel

I have never awakened in this position since I switched from Lady Griz basketball to become the Voice of the Grizzly football and men’s basketball in 1993 with the then retirement of Bill Schwanke from radio.

Since that time I have broadcast more than 800 games during which time I have enjoyed about an 80 percent success rate.

To say like the rest of Griz nation that I am spoiled would be an understatement. Like you, I just enjoy being used to winning, but believe me I have, and never will, take winning for granted.

There was plenty of examination time during a four-hour drive home from Cheney but to be quite honest after better than three hours of dissecting the game while it was taking place, I was quickly ready to move on.

Eastern's Red Turf - Photo by Ryan Ludemann

I’m not a big blame placer and having basically been a member of a team my whole life, or at least for as long as I can remember, I’ve come to realize that you take the good with the bad.

While you enjoy the highs you can’t be too high when you win and surely don’t allow yourself to be too low when you don’t.

The Grizzlies have won 25 of 36 meetings with Eastern Washington and while the Eagles have won four games at Washington Grizzly Stadium – the most by any Big Sky Conference team –  they haven’t won in Cheney since 1991.

It has been a dominant league and regular season run for the Grizzlies and with the Eastern Washington loss, I’ll have a hard time voting them in the Top 10 Sports Network poll today. But while starting the league season with a loss presents an uphill battle to keep the conference championship run intact, and it puts EWU in the driver’s seat for the time being, all certainly is not lost.

There looks to be parity in the Big Sky Conference this year with Northern Colorado an upstart team and how about Sacramento State, this week’s Homecoming game opponent, beating Weber State. And then there are the …  oh never mind that last game of the year.

The league winning streak is gone as is the number one ranking and Montana finds itself in the rare position of opening the year 1-2 and 0-1 in league, but maybe, just maybe, losing will make us appreciate winning even more.

Bobby Hauck used to emphasize to me “winning isn’t easy” and he won 70 games in his seven-year tenure.

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of things to shore up and that deeply concern me, but I’m by no means ready to throw in the season towel and anxiously look forward to prepping for the Sac game in six days.

Yes the punting game continued to be atrocious and countless times didn’t allow the Grizzlies to “flip the field,” and I surely can’t remember ever fumbling the ball seven times or losing the turnover battle like Montana did last night.

And 11 penalties for more than 100 yards and the Eagles gaining more than 500 yards with Taiwan Jones racking up 305 all-purpose yards is certainly concerning.

But as Robin Pflugrad said in the post game radio interview, this year’s edition of Griz football is a “work in progress.”

I’m like you. I want progress yesterday but I’m still excited to see what the end product becomes.   And while there won’t be any givens the rest of the season, I still believe it’s going to be a fun run.

Which kind of Griz fan are you?