FARMINGTON — Spring college football will have an entirely new meaning in 2021. As in, there will actually be meaningful games.
The Big Sky Conference will kick off a six-game slate on February 27, the league announced Wednesday. The spring schedule will feature 12 teams playing six conference games over an eight-week period.
"This spring football season certainly will be unique, and I am confident that all who care about our conference share in the sentiment that we cannot wait to watch our student-athletes and coaches compete for a Big Sky title and contend for the FCS championship," league commissioner Tom Wistrcill said.
Big Sky teams will not be permitted to play nonconference games in the spring, but will be eligible for the FCS playoffs. That tournament, which has been moved to April and May, will feature 16 teams, down from the regular 24. The Big Sky will have one of the 11 automatic bids to the playoffs, which begin April 24.
The league set up the schedule with each team having two bye weeks to allow slots for games to be made up in case COVID-19 outbreaks postpone contests.
"This schedule provides consistency by utilizing much of the original fall 2020 slate, flexibility by allowing space for games to be rescheduled, and sensibility by prioritizing regional matchups that minimize travel and expenses," Wistrcill said.
Weber State, which finished last season 11-4, was picked to win the league by both media and coaches in July. While it was the first time the Wildcats were picked as league favorites, it wasn't necessarily a surprise.
Under Jay Hill, the Wildcats have turned into a perennial power in the conference and the subdivision. Weber has won three straight Big Sky titles and made it to semifinals of the FCS playoffs last season. The Wildcats are expected to be a national contender once again — they were ranked No. 4 in the FCS national preseason poll.
Weber will begin the season at Idaho on Feb. 27. The Wildcats will also play Montana State, Northern Arizona, at Southern Utah, Northern Colorado and at UC Davis during the truncated season. Weber State was picked to win the conference by both coaches and media over the summer.
Southern Utah, which is coming off a 3-9 campaign, will kick things off at Cal Poly on Feb. 27. The rest of SUU's schedule contains road trips to Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona and home matchups against Idaho State, Weber, and Idaho.
Weber State schedule
Feb. 27: at Idaho State
March 6: vs. Montana State
March 13: vs. Northern Arizona
March 27: at Southern Utah
April 3: vs. Northern Colorado
April 10: at UC Davis
Southern Utah schedule
Feb. 27: at Cal Poly
March 6: at Northern Colorado
March 13: vs. Idaho State
March 27: vs. Weber State
April 3: at Northern Arizona
April 10: vs Idaho