Could North Dakota Be Getting Its Rivalry Back?
In South Dakota, we know all about our two NCAA Division One college football programs taking a lengthy break in their football season. Our drought is now over with the Coyotes and Jackrabbits playing annually as members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
In North Dakota, the rivalry drought continues. This past season marked the ninth that the Bison and UND hadn't squared off on the gridiron, and with the two schools playing in different conferences now (Missouri Valley and Big Sky), there are no formal plans for them to meet again anytime soon. But that doesn't mean it won't happen, maybe as soon as next season.
There have been rumblings over the past few days that Western Carolina is looking to get out of a September 21st game with the Bison in Fargo, leaving NDSU with an open date to fill. Guess who just happens to be off already that week? UND.
According to the Grand Forks Herald:
UND athletic director Brian Faison said he talked to North Dakota State AD Gene Taylor on Tuesday. But nothing official resulted from their conversation.
“Officially, that date is not open,” said Faison.
“Would we entertain playing them if that became an option?” Faison asked. “We’d certainly entertain it.”
But Taylor is less certain the game will happen next season, saying “not right now” when asked if UND could be a possibility.
Why would NDSU seem to be less than enthusiastic about getting together with that team up the road in Grand Forks? It's a lose-lose for the Bison. The two-time defending FCS Champions would be prohibitive favorites against UND which means if they win, they should. If they don't, BIG problems. Why would NDSU go looking for trouble in their own backyard?
Ordinarily this is where I would point out all the money they'd make from a Fargodome date with UND compared to how many people might show up for Western Carolina, except for one thing: the Bison draw regardless of who they're playing. Case in point, NDSU hosting Robert Morris this past season. Attendance at the Fargodome? 18,769. Case closed.
Do the Bison need to play UND? No.
Should the Bison play UND? Probably.
Will the Bison play UND? We'll see...