Yes, I know full well what I’m starting here and what I’m getting myself into, but it’s something that is a possibility and it’s a pretty good blog topic. As you read this I implore everyone just to breath and think clearly before you comment on what I’m writing here.
NDSU and UND could possibly play as early as 2013. It will take some manuerving, some egos massaged and some money, but it could happen. Follow me here; because the NCAA allows FCS teams to play 12 regular season games in 2013.
NDSU: Currently, the Bison have 11 games scheduled for 2013, opening at Kansas State that year, then Montana State coming to Fargo on September 7th, followed by Western Carolina on September 21st before the league schedule. NDSU has two open dates listed September 14th and November 2nd. Remember that.
UND: Currently, the Sioux have 11 games scheduled for 2013, opening with 3 straight home games against Valparaiso, South Dakota State and Montana. That final game is where things get interesting. Due to a previous home and home contract UND and Montana agreed to in 2009, the Sioux traveled to Missoula in 2010, with the Grizzlies coming back to Grand Forks in 2013. Now things really got complicated once UND was accepted into the Big Sky, meaning UND and Montana became conference rivals. Montana now is scheduled to play in Grand Forks in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The ’12 and ’14 games are conference games, the 2013 is non-conference. I cannot see Montana coming to Grand Forks three straight years. While it would be great for FCS fans in the state to watch a perennial powerhouse like Montana, to get the Grizz to travel anywhere is a feat, and if they don’t have to, I don’t believe they will.
THE RESULT: Montana will buy out of the game at UND on September 14th. That leaves NDSU and UND both with September 14th as an open date. I believe the game gets done that way. NDSU will then play 12 games, and have it’s bye week on November 2nd. As for UND, the Sioux still can schedule one more game if they choose(maybe FBS, they don’t have one on their schedule now) and chose to have their bye week either September 21st or November 23rd. Now this is just a theory and this could be all thrown out the window if Montana decides to honor the contract (working on finding buyout number for that game) but it seems that if this game wants to happen before 2015 this might be the best way. Now the detractors will say why play a 12th game? It seems it’s a formality that the FCS playoff field will expand to 24 teams that season and if you have a chance at another D-1 win then I think teams will take that chance. Craig Bohl and Gene Taylor have both seem to be more open to playing a 12th game in the recent talks Jeff and I have had with them than in the past three years. It may not happen, but it sure seems like an opening.