Well I guess we have some things to discuss, maybe the Chanticleers, Amy Anderson and something else? Join Big E, Jeff and me at 9:45 and we’ll chat some Bison stuff.
Craig Bohl is in Laramie this afternoon and about to accept the head coaching job for the Wyoming Cowboys. It’s an FBS school, but it is also one that will pay him somewhere around $1.5 million plus perks that us curmudgeons could only dream about. That according to folks close to the program in Laramie.
Considering his base was $210 here with a total package last year around $350,000, it’s a no brainer. That’s a lot of cash. If the New York Times came to me and said we’ll pay you five times what you are making, I’m out of here. Athletic director Gene Taylor said Bohl will remain as the Bison coach until the season is over, which seems to have its share of focus questions associated to it but that’s another story.
The one unanswered question, of course, is who will be the next coach? It seems assistants Brent Vigen and Chris Klieman would logically fit in the mix. It’s been written on coaching websites that Bohl is taking both of them with him to Wyoming, something that I confirmed this afternoon with another source.
But if you’re one or the other, wouldn’t you want to be the next head coach at NDSU? The base of an assistant at Wyoming is more, say around $275,000, but the bonuses with the Bison position easily top $300,000 if you throw in the 2 percent gate bonus, media appearances and country club membership. That’s not including success bonuses. You can make about the same at either town – some would argue living in Fargo is a better situation than living in Laramie – plus it’s been awhile since Wyoming has had a proven winner. The last two head coaches have been fired.
Plus, and here’s the point of this blog: is it all about money? If ever Klieman or Vigen wanted to be a head coach, this would be the perfect opportunity. NDSU will return a strong team next year, the recruiting class this year looks solid if they all remain true to their word and it’s a program where there have been only three losing seasons since the mid-1960s.
So how was your Saturday? Today was slightly busy after NDSU defeated Furman 38-7; the news broke at 8:30 pm from Bruce Feldman from CBSSports.com:
#Wyoming will announce North Dakota St's Craig Bohl Sunday as its new head coach, per source. He's 40-2 last 3 seasons.
— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) December 8, 2013
That was followed up by a flurry of Twitter activity from the Bison players, who seemed stunned and surprised at the news that Bohl was leaving for Wyoming; here’s the story from Mike Vorel from the Casper-Star Tribune.
Wyoming is coming off a 5-7 season and has struggled in the Mountain West in recent years; NDSU faced them in 2008, a game the Bison nearly won. The amount of money we’re hearing is more than 1.2 million, that was what Dave Christensen was getting paid, and Vorel’s article makes us believe it’s more than that. For the record, haven’t heard any confirmation on NDSU’s part; left messages with Gene Taylor and Bohl himself. We have confirmed there is a team meeting at 9am Sunday, that is unusual for the Bison, not something normally planned. NDSU’s Broadcasting Twitter feed says that Craig Bohl Coaches Show will go on at 10:30 am tomorrow. Per Bohl’s contract, the buyout to leave for a FBS job is 100,000 dollars; which I assume Wyoming would swallow up.
Biggest question now is who goes with Bohl? I firmly believe Brent Vigen will go with Bohl, not sure about Chris Klieman, but obviously this comes at a time when NDSU is prepping for an FCS Quarterfinal game against Coastal Carolina that will now be played Saturday at 11 am on ESPN, many at NDSU and even commissioner of the Missouri Valley, Patty Viverito nearly guaranteed a Friday night game on ESPN 2, instead that went to Towson-Eastern Illinois. The response from the players to this news seemed stunned and shock; from Brock Jensen:
Really happy for Coach, love that man with all my heart… Sad it had to get leaked like this, doubt he wanted it to happen like it is.
— Brock Jensen (@BrockJensen1) December 8, 2013
To all my bison teammates please stay off social media tonight.
— cole jirik (@jirik93) December 8, 2013
Will have full update in the morning, please continue to check here, wday.com, inforum.com and Channel 6 news on Sunday as we update this story.
Join WDAY sports director Dom Izzo and The Forum’s Jeff Kolpack and Eric Peterson for the Bison Video Blog PreGame Show!
Alrighty, here we go, the 2nd round is going to be great, some terrific match ups, some rematches as well, we’ll see who advances to the Elite 8!
DOM (7-1) JEFF (6-2)
- Coastal Carolina at Montana UM UM
- New Hampshire at Maine UNH Maine
- Sam Houston at SE Louisiana SELA Sam
- SDSU at Eastern Washington EWU SDSU
- Jacksonville St at McNeese St McNeese McNeese
- Fordham at Towson Towson Towson
- Tennessee State at Eastern Illinois EIU EIU
- Bowling Green at Northern Illinois NIU NIU
- Missouri vs. Auburn Mizzou Auburn
- Michigan State vs Ohio State OSU OSU
Never say never in college realignment. If there’s one constant that I have learned since I started covering NDSU in 2006 is that expect the unexpected when it comes to schools and conferences and that’s what we got on Thursday when the Summit League announced that Oral Roberts was re-joining the conference in July, not even two years after they left the league. Instantly this move stabilizes a league that in my mind had been on life support and now opens the door for a real interesting opportunity. More on that in a second.
- Why did ORU come back? Easy answer is that the new home for the Golden Eagles, the Southland Conference is trying to become the premier league in FCS Football, the commissioner of the league, Tom Burnett told me so last January in Frisco and again before this season started on my radio show in August. Just this year they added four schools; Abilene Christian, Incarnate Word, New Orleans and Houston Baptist, three of these schools will play FCS Football in 2014, only UNO will not and they are contemplating returning football, HBU is starting a program from scratch just to join the league. In 2014, the Southland will have 11 football playing members, making it the 2nd biggest conference in FCS behind the Big Sky’s 13. Those facts made it pretty straightforward to ORU that the Southland is a football league and no matter what the geographic footprint of the Southland; it wasn’t going to fit ORU’s profile since they don’t have football.
- How does this help the Summit? This is pretty easy, besides giving the league a 9th full-time member, it also provides instant credibility and the for the schools it’s a familiarity theme that already exists. Outside of Denver and Omaha, the remaining 6 schools all know about what ORU brings and the credibility the Eagles have. Three straight trips to the NCAA Tournament from 2006-2008, and great matchups with the new kids on the block, NDSU and SDSU. The Jacks had the big upset of ORU at the Summit Tournament in 2009, then Western Illinois knocked them off in 2012. Also think of it from a purely men’s basketball sense and now you’ve got 4 schools with pretty good RPIs (NDSU, SDSU, Denver and ORU) and for fans screaming and hoping that the Summit League receiver higher than a 14 seed at the NCAA Tournament this will certainly help.
- Any downside? On the outside I’m sure the coaching staffs at NDSU and SDSU specifically are happy that ORU is back but deep down they have to be a little disappointed. The path to the NCAA Tournament in men’s basketball and baseball for a long time went thru ORU, then when Oakland left it got a lot easier for the Bison and Jacks. SDSU was the first team not named Oral Roberts that went to the NCAA baseball tournament in 16 years last spring. Those opportunities suddenly got a lot tougher in 2014-15.
- Is the Summit done adding schools? The league will now stand at 9 teams come this July (NDSU, SDSU, USD, IPFW, IUPUI, Western Illinois, Denver, Omaha and Oral Roberts) and just for a travel sense you’d like to have an even number to make it easier for scheduling. So who would the league look at? This will drive some that ready the blog crazy, but it seems logical that the Summit talks to UND. I have no evidence that UND is looking to leave the Big Sky, but geographically it’s starting to make more and more sense to me. Denver, Tulsa, Vermillion, Brookings, Fargo and Omaha all in the center of the country and while the trips to Macomb, Indianapolis and Fort Wayne aren’t easy, it’s certainly more do-able than Portland, Flagstaff, Sacramento and Pocatello from Grand Forks. Obviously the biggest stumbling block is a home for football, and I don’t have a solution to that problem yet, because I don’t believe the Missouri Valley is ready to go to 11 teams, but I believe it’s an option that may be explored and soon.
All in all it’s a good move for the Summit League and convinces me this is NDSU’s home for a while longer.
The three finalists for the Walter Payton Award were announced Tuesday and to no surprise Jimmy Garoppolo and Vernon Adams were two of the finalists, Towson running back Terrance West was selected as a third but we found out how close NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen was to be selected as a finalist. It should be noted that the last nine years a quarterback has won this award.
VERNON ADAMS – EASTERN WASHINGTON
- The numbers for EWU’s signal caller are gaudy, 4,059 passing yards and 46 touchdowns, a new Big Sky conference record. Adams ran for nearly 500 yards and added four scores, and led the FCS in total offensive yards per game. Adams is another in a long list of great EWU quarterbacks, just two years ago Bo Levi Mitchell won the award, Adams came in last year against Sam Houston in the FCS semis and nearly led a miracle comeback, he has a large spotlight on him starting Saturday against SDSU.
JIMMY GAROPPOLO – EASTERN ILLINOIS
- Garoppolo has been on my radar since early last season and he’s done even more in 2013. EIU’s signal caller started off the season with a bang as his team beat San Diego State, he followed that up with 6 TDs against Illinois State and still unbeaten Northern Illinois. He’s thrown for nearly 4500 yards in 12 games, and will win this award, joining Tony Romo, another EIU grad to win the Payton back in 2002. His NFL stock will rise or fall with this year’s playoffs, his team is on trial starting Saturday, EIU was blasted by South Dakota State in the 1st round last year, its trial begins against a conference foe in Tennessee State, it would be good for the FCS for Garoppolo and his team to make some noise.
BROCK JENSEN – NDSU
- Much has been made about Jensen’s numbers heading into 2013, but the four year starter is going to leave Fargo as the school’s most prolific passer and perhaps its most decorated winner. His game from 2012 to now is an absolute 180, Jensen was timid in the playoffs last year, being asked to not lose a game after a string of pick 6′s. Now he’s become a true quarterback with an aerial attack to boot, his combination with Zach Vraa has led Vraa to set a new school record in touchdown receptions, while Jensen has set the school record for touchdown throws. He’s still as dangerous as ever with his feet, this stat is tremendous, he leads NDSU with 12 rushing first downs in third down situations. His status as a winner will never be questioned thanks to his 44 wins, now the all-time leader in FCS history and his legacy was cemented going 7 of 7 on the final drive at K-State. People will say that Jensen is a system quarterback, but whatever that system is plenty of teams should want it; Jensen may not get the chatter of being in the elite quarterbacks in FCS, but his numbers say otherwise.
Join The Forum’s Jeff Kolpack and WDAY sports director Dom Izzo for the latest Bison Video Blog. NDSU hosts the Furman University Paladins as they make their bid for a third FCS national title.
Interesting weekend to start the FCS Playoffs, join Jeff and I as we recap the opening weekend of the FCS Playoffs, 10 pm start time!
Round 1 of the FCS Playoffs had a couple of so-called “upsets” with three road teams winning, but only one in my mind was a real shocker, that was Jacksonville State’s destruction of Samford 55-14 as the Gamecocks finish off what was a great day for the Ohio Valley Conference. As for the Big Sky, getting four teams into the tournament for the first time in league history, not so much, as two teams lost today.
- Furman fell behind early to South Carolina State, but the Paladins took advantage of some big plays, namely by Jarius Hollman, a 90 yard punt return, then a pick six to win a fifth straight game, 30-20. Furman completed just 3 passes in the game and now earns the right to play NDSU next Saturday in Fargo. Furman may not have the name recognition as Wofford and Georgia Southern do, but remember this team beat both of them this season and the SoCon traditionally plays great football. Should be a good matchup next Saturday at 2:30.
- The MEAC and Ohio Valley go in opposite directions: I made it plain last week that I thought each league should have only got one team into the tournament, the MEAC proved me right, Bethune-Cookman ran into the buzz saw that is Coastal Carolina, while South Carolina State, which had no resume to get in to the field of 24, lost to Furman. Meanwhile, the Ohio Valley, which had not won a playoff game since 2000, got two winners yesterday, Tennessee State clobbered Butler out of the Pioneer, while Jacksonville State was tremendous, rushing for 367 yards to get a date with McNeese State next weekend. Eastern Illinois is still the team getting the spotlight, but if you had the Ohio Valley as the conference with the most teams left, you are a tremendous FCS mind.
- Sam Houston State owns the Big Sky. The Bearkats, who some considered left for dead, save their best football for the playoffs as they ran roughshod over Southern Utah 51-20. SHSU racked up 531 total yards, including 355 rushing, Tim Flanders was great again as they improved their record to 4-0 against the Big Sky the last 2 playoff years. They will play SE Louisiana next week, the Lions beat Sam Houston during the regular season.
- Fordham and Coastal Carolina can score. The Chanticleers and Rams each put up plenty of points yesterday (48 and 37 respectively) but each will receive much stiffer challenges next week, Coastal heads to Missoula, while Fordham plays at Towson. Remember the last time a Patriot League team played at Towson in the playoffs, the Tigers lost (that was Lehigh in 2011).
- SDSU may be the hottest team in the country. Figure the Jacks have been in playoff mode since they lost to Missouri State; they have responded winning five straight games, including a double overtime thriller with Northern Iowa, but also consider they have won 3 straight on the road. Zach Zenner was tremendous again, running for 249 yards and a couple scores, the Jack defense held NAU to just 53 rushing yards and now sets up maybe the matchup of the 2nd round as SDSU plays at Eastern Washington. The Eagles can score with the best of them, but guaranteed they have not faced a defense like SDSU’s.
- We will have 3 conference rematches in the 2nd round and in my mind that’s just no good. Look at Maine, the Black Bears earned the 5th seed and home field, but were placed in same bracket with New Hampshire, the team that Maine just lost to two weeks ago. Eastern Illinois gets paired up with Tennessee State, Tigers are only OVC team to play EIU tough and still lost by a couple of scores, and if there’s one team that SELA didn’t want to see early in the tournament it had to be Sam Houston. That’s why all conference rematches should be bracketed that the earliest they play is the quarters, but that’s another subject for another day.