Dom “The FCS Schedule King” Izzo will chime in later on possible replacements for Montana State in next year’s schedule. I woke up this morning, saw my story and still had some disbelief in the Bobcats pulling out. A couple comments on it:
- If indeed Montana State is buying out for a game at SMU, I can’t imagine SMU paying more than $350,000, maybe $400,000. So do the math. MSU has already invested $100,000 in the NDSU buyout. A charter plane to Dallas is probably $100,000 plus other travel expenses like hotel and food. So after it’s all said and done, the trip plus NDSU buyout is say $225,000. If the SMU deal is $400,000, that’s a net of $175,000, probably at the top end. Is that worth it? Plus, I was told NDSU considered giving MSU a cash incentive to keep the game. Moreover, MSU has a Division II game on its schedule with probably less of a buyout, so you have to wonder why the Cats administration didn’t try to buy that game out. Maybe it did. UPDATE: as comment to blog said, these figures don’t take into account MSU travel to Fargo.
- There could be long-term implications, especially pulling out in February for a September game on the heels of this happening a few years ago. If I’m NDSU, I no longer schedule Montana State. The Bobcats have lost the benefit of the doubt. It’s unfortunate because they are two alike, border-state universities who should play from time to time.
- NDSU has no bargaining power for a replacement game. Teams can practically name their price tag knowing the Bison absolutely need a game and have a $100,000 from Montana State. Wouldn’t surprise me to see this game go for $250,000 to $300,000.
- Integrity in FCS scheduling is spotty. NDSU goes to Georgia Southern in 2005, then GSU pulls out of return game to Fargo. It’s legal, I get that, but that doesn’t make it right. I can’t imagine the Montana State decision was solely that of the athletic director. There has to be higher forces at work here.
- Was the decision purely financial? Recruiting in Texas decision? A strength of schedule problem with NDSU having everybody back from back-to-back national championships? Something else? What’s the basis here? We’ll try to find these answers on Monday.
- It’s unfortunate this decision wasn’t made last month. NDSU could have kept Sept. 21 vacant and opened the door for a UND matchup. With Montana State off the schedule, the NDSU nonconference formula of a FBS game, a good FCS game and a winnable FCS game would have been back in play.