The Best Ever?

This blog post I’m sure will rile up some, but was just doing some research on a story and looking back and comparing great senior classes, many Bison fans will point to the class of   1983-1986 as the best in NDSU history and it’s hard to argue that, three national titles were produced out of that class, 47 wins in 52 games. The Class of 2010 has long been pegged by Jeff and I as one of the best classes in Bison history and they have a chance to possibly tie that mark with another national championship in 2013, NDSU has racked up 43 wins in 50 games up to this week. Just for accuracy sake, D2 teams maxed out at 13 games, while FCS can play 15, so the current group has played more games. Have a look here:

NDSU Class Of 1983-1986:

  • 1983: 12- 1, won national championship
  • 1984: 11-2, lost championship game
  • 1985: 11-2 , won national championship
  • 1986: 13-0, won national championship
  •  47-5 Record, 3 National Titles                   

Could NDSU’s 2010-13 Class Rank The Best Ever? (Dave Samson-Forum File Photo)

NDSU Class of 2010-2013:
  • 2010: 9-5, lost FCS Quarterfinals
  • 2011: 14-1, won national championship
  • 2012: 14-1, won national championship
  • 2013: 6-0, ???
  • 43-7 Record, 2 National Titles
While we can debate if this is the best class in NDSU history, is it the best in FCS/1-AA history? In my mind there’s two clear-cut cases to compare the recent Bison dominance with and that’s Youngstown State from 1991-1994,  and App State from 2005-08 the Penguins won three titles in four years, Mountaineers three in a row.
Youngstown State Class of 1991-1994:
  • 1991: 12-3, won national championship
  • 1992: 11-3-1, lost championship game
  • 1993: 13-2, won national championship
  • 1994: 14-0-1, won national championship
  • 50-8-2 Record, 3 National Titles
By the way for the fans sick of NDSU-Sam Houston State in back to back titles games, Youngstown State played Marshall three straight years in the championship.
Appalachian State Class of 2005-2008:
  • 2005: 12-3, won national championship
  • 2006: 14-1, won national championship
  • 2007: 13-2, won national championship
  • 2008: 11-3, lost FCS Quarterfinals
  • 50-9 Record, 3 National Titles
Appalachian State deserves to be in the conversation as well, ASU obvious with its 3 straight championships, then followed up with a trip to the Elite 8. Impressive company NDSU could find itself in by the end of the year.



46 thoughts on “The Best Ever?

  1. If we go undefeated this year which means a record of 51-7 so they will have the most overall wins and have a 4-0 mark against FBS. When you consider they were one play away from being in 4 championship games and possibly being National Champions 4 times not 3. There’re is no doubt who would be the best ever.

    • They weren’t one play away from the championship game in 2010. They lost in the quarterfinals meaning they would have had to play another game to get to the championship. I don’t doubt they could have won the chipper that year though, those final four teams were nothing special.

      There are some big games and tough teams to get thru yet starting this weekend in Carbondale. SIU and YSU are very good teams this year although YSU really hasn’t played a very tough schedule to this point yet. Not to mention we usually have our worst games against the worst teams, meaning losses could still happen against ISUr and ISUb too. USD is probably the only gimmee at this point, they are better but still pretty bad.

      This team has as good a shot as any going undefeated this year. Who would have thought that before the season opener at Kansas State? I for one did think we’d beat KSU. I also thought we’d go 15-0. So far so good! GO BISON!!

      • Yes I did mis-speak but to think if they had made to the Championship game, which is impressive since they had to play the extra game which I forgot about.

  2. Hard to argue with the numbers that Dom presented. I doubt there are too many FBS teams that have that many consecutive championships in a row? I see four teams/classes that were very good!

  3. there is no doubt in my mind that the talent of the current class is the greatest in Bison history. Their record speaks loudly and if you include their record against FBS competition (which the other class did not have to deal with) this really isn’t that much of an argument.

  4. I’d still give the edge to the 1986 seniors, those guys outscored their opponents 537-87 that year. That’s an average score of 41 to 7. Sure you can say those were D2 teams but NDSU was D2 then as well so it’s all relative.

    • I don’t think that the comparison should be relative to the division that they were in….

      One could compare dominant High school Varsity and JV teams. The JV team that is really good will never be better than the Varsity team just because they outscored their opponents by more.

        • You totally missed the point… The 86 team did NOT play competition even half as good as what the current team is going up against.

          We can’t just compare wins and losses. We are talking about which is the BEST team. The team that has beaten the MOST good teams wins. That is easily the current squad.

          • I disagree. The teams we play now we played back then as well. The only difference is the NCAA had a different label for them–us back then.

  5. I am more interested in the comparison of current Bison to Youngstown and App. State.

    I would have included FBS wins in your comparison. Of course App. State had the biggest FCS victory over FBS in their Michigan game but went on to lose two regular season games that year. That App. State team also gave up a lot of points that season. NDSU’s 4-0 straight record against FBS will be hard to beat by any FCS team in the future.

  6. The record for the 1985 Bison team was 11-2-1. You left out that tie game with Morningside.

      • As much as most of us don’t like to remember, Morningside actually had a couple of decent teams in the 80’s. They fell off the map in the 90’s no doubt.

    • Not a Morningside fan, but there were some of those teams that had me my nails, due to their QB or receivers. Go back and review those games, please, before you dismiss them.

  7. I would say if NDSU goes undefeated and wins the National Title this year they are a step up from App State because the streak started with the FCS quarterfinals and ended with 3 straight titles, better overall win record (52-7 if undefeated vs App State’s record of 50-9) and I suspect more FBS wins in 4 years. However YSU’s run of 3 titles in 4 years and losing in the title game is just about the same as NDSU’s run from 83-86 and I would say YSU’s run would be slightly more impressive than NDSU’s current run.

    Boy are these GREAT times to be an NDSU fan!!!


  8. For the sake of FCS history, I’ll mention Marshall and Georgia Southern as honorable mentions. Both schools put together some impressive title run seasons that ended in losses in the natty. 3 straight titles would be an EXTREMELY impressive accomplishment for NDSU. Go Bison!

  9. I think I would look at talent over record. For instance, can we say the D2 Bison had the talent that the D1 Bison have? What was the level of competition for the App State and Youngstown State in their title run years? I think it’s hard to argue that the talent pool is just getting bigger and the current D1 schools are getting phenomenal talent. I would have to say the best team would be D1 Bison over D2 Bison. And I would question if YSU compares to the App State and current NDSU teams…

  10. This isnt even a debate!!

    This senior class and this team is bar none best ever. These guys beat big 10 & 12 teams TWICE!

    35-2 in division 1 nuff said

    • Absolutely. Anyone that doesn’t see this is ignorant or an old timer. Old timers need to grow up and shut up in bisonation I am serious about that, they will be the ones holding NDSU back from going fbs

  11. I think you jumped the gun on this story. With the potential of serious injury bugs. Marcus/plankers/Gimmie/Littlejohn….. 9 wins to go, then we’ll discuss. We’ve seen some weaknesses this year, hopefully gets cleaned up and we really get rolling

  12. How many of the 86 seniors made it into nfl or cfl? how many do you think of the 13 class will? that may or may not help decide.

  13. That mid 80’s class was up there! Should’ve won it all in 84 as well.

    Then again, you take away the refs stealing the game from NDSU in 2010, no doubt they win the semi and go to the national title game with a great chance to win it all.

    And that for a team (in 2010) that shouldn’t have been in the playoffs in the first place. Terrible loss to Missouri St to end the regular season. I thought for sure that was it.

    • No doubt we win the semi even though we lost the quarter final? Really? Rule number 1 is never let the refs be in a position to determine the outcome of the game. NDSU broke that rule by letting EWU march 80-90 YARDS DOWN THE FIELD AND SCORE. NDSU couldnt put them away. We lost so no more coulda, shoulda, woulda.

  14. This years team has accomplished a lot. But the 83 team was in the Natty 4 years in a row.

  15. I would say 83-86 team 3 National Championships, and 1 runner up finalist… Also, 86 team was so good, Beano Cooke said they were 10th best team in ALL of college football

  16. Since we’re talking “what if”. What if this year’s class does 3-peat? We lose a great senior class but have a great junior class coming up that could discuss 4-peat. I would not count out that class of Crockett, Heagle, Littlejohn, Beck, Thorton, Keller, Dudzik, Emanuel, Vraa, Gebhart, Hardie along with a few others.
    Throw in underclassmen such as CJ Smith, Bonnet, LeCompte, Gray, Woods, Morlock, Wentz, Champion, D. Anderson, Perkins, DeLuca, Tucker, Schaetz, Haeg, Colville, Plankers, Farnlof, Ambrosius.
    I understand we lose Brock at QB who has been a true soldier and a winner for this team. We also lose a lot of big names at other positions. I think our biggest question marks will be at the QB and the defensive line along with trying to fill Williams’ spot at cb.
    At the same time I feel Wentz has the potential to give our offense a bit of a different look with his arm and some of the offensive weapons he has.
    I’m not trying to be a kool-aid drinker or a homer. Just trying to point out that the Bison cupboard is not completely bare after this year. I feel we still will be one of the top 2-3 teams in the conference next season with an opportunity to make some noise in the playoffs.
    Don’t jump all over me for looking too far ahead. I just think it’s fun to look at what’s still coming up even after this senior class is gone.

    • I agree. We have the makings of a good team for some time to come. The impact of Game Day still is not known and as far as the QB situation. This 1-2 (Brock/Wentz) reminds me of Bentrim leaving and Simdorn taking over.

      The good times are back and here for the foreseeable future.

    • I agree with you that we will be very good for at least a few years. The one thing that will be missed is the leadership from Brock and Grant. Those two are the unquestioned leaders of the offense and defense. Someone will need to step up and fill those rolls next year. Certainly we have players on the team who are more then capable but we won’t know until the time comes. The future does look bright though!

    • As much as I respect Brock I think there’s going to be a tremendous hole in the locker room and in the middle of the defense next year without #34. I’m confident that the offense won’t miss a beat with Wentz (although not sure he’s got the clutch gene that Brock has) but the defense is going to be missing it’s heart and soul plus 3 starters on the D-line and M Will come 2014.

    • Those of you that weren’t around in ’86 are just dumb enough to think that the 86 vs 13 game would be a gimme for 2013. Not so fast. You have to keep in mand that DII football in 86 was a much stronger than today’s DII.

      • 2013 would win 20-0. The defense would stop them easily. The speed today would blow the 1986’s minds. Get a freakin clue, there’s a legit 6-8 nfl players on this roster.

        Mwill turner Olson Crockett heagle littlejohn perry and gimmestad?

        • Legit NFL players on this years team are Turner, Heagle and maybe Marcus Williams. Nothing against the others but it isn’t going to happen. They have great talent but they don’t have the size for the NFL.

  17. I agree. Wouldn’t even be that close. I revere those teams as much as anyone, but head to head with any of the recent (2010-13) teams those veer option squads just wouldn’t have a chance.

    • Agreed. Today’s game is about speed, speed, and more speed. The 80’s was build on strength and ball control. Today’s players are the same size if not bigger and run 40 yards in under 5 seconds, which only specialty players did back then.

    • Exactly. It’s like trying to compare today’s NFL players to the players from the ’80s. Bigger, faster, stronger. Doesn’t mean the players from those teams weren’t good or great, they were during their era. IMO the ’86 team could have beaten any D1-AA teams back then and probably quite a few D1-A teams too. That’s just how good that D2 squad was, they were built a lot like those Georgia Southern teams during the same time period.

  18. Dom, this conversattion is stupid and way too premature. If the 2013 Bison don’t winn the natty there is no discussion, there is no way you can compare the current group to the sheer domination of the 86 seniors which destroyed opponents, went to four nattys, winning three, and never played down to their competition as the current squad does.

    But, my main complaint about your post is the inaccuracy. Appy State did NOT play Marshall in three straight championship games. They played Delaware, UMass, and UNI, in that order. Marshall wasn’t even FCS in 2005-2008, they went IA in 1996 after beating Montana in the championship game with Randy Moss.

Comments are closed.