Bison on Ice

Yeah, I have a song for every occasion. Even North Dakota State football upsets.

But guess what? NDSU isn’t a small upstart and its win yesterday against Iowa wasn’t an historic upset. And it’s not just because, in talent, as has been observed, they can line it up with the “big boys.” They are the big boys.

And, by “big,” I mean “1/8 viking.”

North Dakota State designed its punt rush after a Capital One Card commercial.

They forge their own helmets.

The quarterback’s wristband cheat sheet is written in rune.

The Fargodome doubles as a smokehouse in the offseason.

“The pigskin” is not euphemistic in North Dakota.

They’re not an FCS team. Holy crap. They’re not.

Quick primer. Historically, the biggest colleges in the country played football at the NCAA Division-I level. Oregon. Notre Dame. Alabama. Michigan. Florida State. Ohio State. University of Phoenix Online. (I believe that’s where Larry Fitzgerald played his college ball.)

Below that was a Division I-AA. Furman. Georgia Southern. Richmond. William & Mary. JMU. Montana.

Below the Division I levels were Divisions II and III and something called an NAIA. Apparently, the College of Charleston is very proud of all the basketball national championships it won at the NAIA level, against basketball teams taken from 6 small colleges, two group homes, and a chess club.

A few years ago, a semantic slight of hand attempted to conjoin Division I and Division I-AA into a single Division I with two subdivisions: The Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and The Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). See how that’s different than just Division I and Division I-AA? Obviously.

Anyway, like the FBS, the FCS has private and public colleges. But, some of those public colleges are the biggest educational institutions of their respective states. Delaware. Maine. Montana. Montana State. North Dakota State. Institutions where either (1) the name of the college is a State or (2) is the name of a State plus the word “State” or “Tech.” Think Michigan and Michigan State. Or Georgia and Georgia Tech. Or Devry and Devry Institute. Granted most of these public FCS institutions are located in less populated states but these are still the flagship schools of a card-carrying member of our great Union.

And, lookey here at NDSU’s “FBS” victim list:

Colorado State
Kansas State
Iowa State

See a pattern. Middle of the country states. Dimly populated. White, I mean, errr . . . well coached. Sounds a lot like NDSU. Oh except those 6 schools are willing to actually play big time football and take the losses and failure that come with it.

ESPN staff writer, Austin Ward, expertly observed:

Playing a brand of physical, old-school football that wouldn’t look out of place in the Big Ten, the Bison were deserving winners over Iowa.

Right. Because it’s NOT out of place. NDSU is from the exact same dang place.

For a long, long time, nobody cared about Division I-AA/FCS football. But, then it became increasingly clear that television exposure and the opportunity to upset a major FBS school could raise a school’s admissions and money profile through FCS football success similar to a good run in March Madness.

And, when people started caring, these publicly funded FCS institutions were well-suited to capitalize.

North Dakota State University is one such example. À la 5 straight national championships. 5?! Even shameless Appalachian St. had enough collective pride at 14,000 students a year and state funding, to go FBS after only three straight championships.

All of this applies equally to the Delaware’s and Montana’s and Montana Jr.’s of the world as well. How else could Joe Flacco be so elite?

Which is all fine. But, this advantage that comes with size and the support of either half or nearly all of a state’s population and coffers, should temper their pride in success against less comparably postured institutions. It, however, only seems to inflame it.

A major state institution has two options. Either (1) qualify your arrogance over winning multiple National Championships by beating private schools an eighth your size and “upsetting” Corn Pone University D-I schools or (2) move up to FBS with all the other large state schools.

NDSU will accumulate a 6th championship this year in a row and then swear they did something.

I initially visited this topic upon the poor unsuspecting NDSU fan base a few years back when my beloved and properly designated FCS Furman Paladins met the Bison in the playoffs. As you might suspect, they generally flew into a nordic rage although some were quite generous. I appreciated the exchange in all its color.

And, so I apologize for fishing the bison carcass out from under the frozen surface just to put it right back on ice.

But, it has to be said. No one else apparently is willing to throw a flag.

Performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by Fab.
Today’s blong here. Updated and final version of the original with new third verse:

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein do not reflect the views of Furman University or even its football team. They are exclusively the ramblings of a too compulsive fan acting entirely alone. As in, without any friends to speak of.

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