Sour Purple Grapes

I hate Las Vegas.

They beat us by exactly 31?! Unbelievable.

For those that don’t remember or didn’t know or who still don’t care, my Furman University Paladins played two-time defending National Champions, North Dakota State Bison, in the second round of the Division I FCS football playoffs last night. They lost 38-7. I had incited an infinitesimal but virulent segment of the Bison fan base with this song.

NDSU responses were of three predictable varieties:

1. “It’s pronounced BIZON.” Without the pronunciation cues, I’m still not sure if they mean Bizon, as in rhymes with risin’ or Bizon, as in “Get your prize on.” Regardless, noted.

2. “Bizon are already on ice.” In the chorus to the song, I was not attempting to express a literal aspiration about the physical location of Bison. But, again, got it.

3. And, indecipherable.

In all, Bison fans were good sports about it, except on the rare occasion when I was invited to peruse the hairy underside of said school’s mascot. (I’m not sure if they meant the actual costumed mascot or the real animal version of said mascot.)

Couple things about the game, first.

1. Congrats to a deserving team in North Dakota State;

2. The final score says different, but two very questionable calls against Furman on consecutive attempts to score in the first half greatly affected momentum in the game. The Paladins weather the quick touchdown drives by NDSU, early in the second half, a lot differently with 14 on the board instead of 7; and

3. Their head coach was so impressed with the win that he apparently is taking the head coaching job at Wyoming. Which is super insulting because Wyoming football is the exact same thing as NDSU except worse and with more chaps and lariats.

So why would I continue to expend an embarrassing quantity of time taunting an entire state, after my team got housed and the Bison faithful have moved on? I’m sure even Furman fans are cringing at the thought.

Well, first, I need to just close the loop. I ran my mouth. Ate my words. I can’t just disappear on the subject like I wasn’t jawing.

Second, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to this site with the exception of automated bot comments.

And, third, there is something that needs to be said about FCS football, implicated here. I alluded to it in my original post. And, I know my audience can’t get enough editorializing on second-rate football.

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.

Just recently, 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 FCS institutions were located in less populated states but these are still the flagship schools of a card-carrying member of our great Union.

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, the publicly funded institutions were well-suited to capitalize.

North Dakota State University is one such example. But, it applies equally to the Delaware’s and Montana’s of the world as well.

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 inflames it.

It seems to me that 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 or (2) move up to FBS with all the other state schools.

Like, I don’t know, Wyoming?


Congrats, Cowboys. Err . . . Bizon. I suppose they’re both winners today.

How’s that for magnanimity? Go Chanticleers.

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by Fab da Eclectic.
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.