It appears NDSU has had a change of heart on playing 12 games in a regular season. Athletic Director Gene Taylor told me tonight that NDSU “is actively looking for a 12th game for the 2013 season.” Taylor told me it’s for the open September 14th date next season and the Bison would use November 2nd as their bye week in 2013. This information flies in the face of what we’ve been told in the past, but if you take a closer look at the last blog post of what the playoff committee will be looking at next season, playing 12 games makes a lot of sense if you want to secure a playoff spot. Taylor also added that the 12th game will not be against an FBS team or a non-counter (D-2 or D-3). So what does that leave? NDSU already has 6 home games lined up for 2013; a fact I’ll detail in a second; so there’s the real option that NDSU goes on the road for a 6th game next year, as part of a home and home deal, with that particular team coming back to Fargo in 2014(12 games are also allowed in 2014). NDSU already has non-conference games lined up at Iowa State and home with Montana in 2014. We know the difficulties Taylor had in trying to get a 6th home game for this season, paying the highest amount to date to get Prairie View to come here, I detailed last night some of the home and home series that are going in FCS football over the next couple of years, we’ll see if that’s the case for 2013. For those wondering about UND; I wrote a whole post about it back in March; for a refresher here it is. I don’t think it’s likely to happen now; especially with the off-the-field issues mounting for the Griz, shelling out money to get out of a football game in Grand Forks, can’t be that high of a priority. Still looks like 2015 may be the earliest regular season matchup we could get between NDSU and UND.
NDSU isn’t the only Valley team going the 12 game route. Northern Iowa’s Athletic Director Troy Dannen tweeted Thursday night, that they have 11 games set for 2013 and working on a 12th, adding that “getting close on a big 11th game in 2014, with the hashtag, want 12 in 2014 too.” Dannen tweeted that UNI will play at Iowa State, host Drake and play at Northern Colorado in 2013. It seems realistic to think that UNI may go back down the 2 FBS road at least once in the next two seasons. UNI is already contracted to play at Iowa in 2014.
Finally, had plenty of comments on my Twitter page about the Western Carolina-NDSU game on September 21st next season. That happened after Auburn announced they have a contract for WCU on October 12th, making 3 FBS opponents for the Catamounts next season, joining games at Middle Tennessee(Aug.31st) and Virginia Tech (Sept. 7th) While I think playing 3 FBS games is an egregious scheduling mistake, Western clearly needs the money for it’s university, probably looking right around a million for those 3 games. Now while playing a 4th non-conference road game at NDSU doesn’t sound too appealing, clearly the WCU administration doesn’t care too much of its performance on the field or they would have NEVER scheduled 3 FBS games. That being said, Taylor told me as of Thursday night, NDSU and Western Carolina still have a contract for that date. NDSU originally signed the contract with Western in late August of 2011 for 125,000, with a buyout of 150 K. Obviously if WCU decides to take the buyout that may make things infinitely harder to find 2 games for 2013. But it certainly seems NDSU has embraced a different scheduling philosophy for the next couple of years, trying to adapt to a new playoff concept starting next season.