What a weekend!

Thousands of Montanans poured into Bozeman for the 121st Brawl of the Wild. Not only is this the biggest game of the year for the state, it was extra special with the arrival of ESPN College Gameday on Thursday.

What will surely go down as one of the biggest weekends in Montana history ended with a big win for the home team and the return of The Great Divide Trophy to Montana State University. The beginning of the game looked like it was going to be a shoot-out between the two teams as both marched down the field on their first possession and scored.

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However, any hopes of a close game ended quickly as the Bobcats took over and seemed to dominate their biggest rival. In the end, the score looked closer than it actually was.

Fabric texture of the Montana Flag background - Flags from the USA

So what did we gain from all of this? What did we learn over the last few days? Let's take a look at the Top 5 Take-Aways.

#5. ESPN Made The Right Choice Picking Bozeman

I know that a whole lot of Montanans were upset last year when Missoula tried to get ESPN College Gameday to travel there. I have no doubt that the Griz faithful would have been warm and welcoming, but there was just something about that College Gameday stage with the Bridgers in the background that felt 'right'.

#4. Both Universities Have Great Fan Bases

Someone told me that the first two fans to show up for ESPN College Gameday were best friends. One is a Cat fan and the other is a Griz fan. Rumor is, they showed up at 5:30 pm the night before. In fact, there were all kinds of stories of folks showing up in the middle of the night to not only be part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but to show their pride and passion for their chosen teams.


#3. Cat Fans and Griz Fans Can Co-Exist

We all know the history of the rivalry. We all know that here in Montana, you're either Team Cats or Team Griz, however, as someone who spent hours with both on Saturday, I saw a whole lot of people in Blue and Gold and Maroon and Silver that were having a great time together.

I was also shocked to see the civil discourse between the two fan bases on social media. In fact, I saw far more Griz fans wishing the Cats good luck than I saw talking trash. Of course, both sides always have obnoxious fans, but from where I was standing, prior to kick-off, everyone was having a good time.

#2. MSU Is Now The Leader In The State

This will no doubt tick off a whole lot of Griz fans, and I certainly don't mean to offend, but it's become clear; Montana State University is now on top. Griz fans will point to the overall record and all of that, but let's be honest here. MSU is a step or two ahead of UM and that's become pretty clear over the last few years. These things tend to ebb and flow over the years, and right now Montana State and its leadership are in the driver's seat.

Credit: Townsquare Media
Credit: Townsquare Media

#1. Touchdown Tommy Is A Leader On And Off The Field

Not only was he all over the field yesterday, running, throwing, and scoring touchdowns, but after the game, the kid from Butte said something that we should all listen to. Mellott reminded us all how hard the players work on both teams and that each and every week they give it their all and so let's rise above all the disrespect and recognize the sacrifice these student athletes make so that we can enjoy our Saturdays in the fall.

It seems that if football doesn't work out for Mr. Mellott, he could certainly have a career in politics or human relations.

All in all, it was a great weekend for Montana. Now, both teams are in the playoffs, and will be hosting games. As we all know, during this time of year, anything can happen. Personally, I can't wait to see how it all plays out.

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