ESPN Calling Again?

Wanted to follow up on a question we received in our live chat on Sunday:

Comment From Gully

I heard they’re trying to move the Montana game up to August to get a national TV date. What are the chances of that (getting a waiver from the NCAA)?

Could more primetime games come to NDSU? (Carrie Snyder-Forum File Photo)

This question stems from a story that actually broke over the summer from the Sports Network, which you can read here. This “FCS Football Challenge” (which is a redundant name) is an interesting idea and I believe something that has legs. I spoke with three different commissioners over the summer about this idea and all of them seemed onboard, they all believe any exposure will certainly help the division’s profile. NDSU finds itself right in the crosshairs of this idea clearly being the two-time defending champions. Remember, NDSU has a non-conference game scheduled with Montana on September 6th next season and that type of game clearly fits the bill. I spoke with athletic director Gene Taylor last night about this, he said “had informal talks with ESPN, the NCAA would have to grant a waiver for us to play that early, haven’t spoke with anyone at Montana about it.” There are a lot of things that have to happen before this can become a reality. First, the NCAA has to sign off with an earlier start to the season, they have done it in the past as Craig Haley points out, so since NDSU has August 30th scheduled with Iowa State next year, let’s say August 23rd would be the game date. Second, ESPN would have to find in my opinion at least two other national matchups they would find appealing; now Sam Houston-Eastern Washington are scheduled to play each other next year in Cheney, that fits the bill perfectly, so let’s add them, but ESPN NEEDS an East Coast game as well; say Delaware-Eastern Illinois, something like that. You get 3 top notch FCS games and now you’re cooking, ESPN just can’t go with one game, they need a few to make this a real deal to blow up some schedules. Lastly, NDSU needs Montana to sign off, if it is indeed Montana that they would move that date for. I think we all understand the importance of TV and exposure even more so after College Gameday blew thru town, but imagine if NDSU gets to play on a weekend where there are NO other games going on, it’s similar to the Georgia Southern semifinal game last year on a Friday, NDSU went up against just college hoops that night, this would be against baseball and preseason NFL. It’s a great idea by ESPN and I hope we see it come to fruition, the possibilities are eye-opening when you think about it.

22 thoughts on “ESPN Calling Again?

  1. This is a great idea. The more that the nation can see FCS games the better. Nationally people see these games as JV (although we know that its a good brand of football).

    To make this an annual thing (kind of like the bracketbuster) would be really great!

    • Already have that, Larz. It’s just called the Missouri Valley Football conference schedule.

    • Yeah Iam sure ESPN would love to showcase the Dakotas. The national following would be so over whelming that advertisers would be lined up for air time.

  2. I sure like the possible exposure, but I dunno about playing on August 23rd.

    Another unrelated question – why are Big E, Dom and Jeff pasted on the side of a bus in Germany in the photo on the masthead? Check out the license plates on all of the vehicles.

    We know that the Bison Media Blog is an international sensation, but does it make sense for Forum Communications to be advertising in Europe?

    • Good question Life long fan. Maybe the Forum does not have a real bus al all. Fantasy football fantasy bus.

  3. They already have the Dakota Big 3 round robin. If USD beats SDSU they will travel to Fargo the next week to play for the Dakota College Championship in the season finale.

    • C’mon were 2-5, and have the Best WR’s in the country. Just ask us we will tell you how good our WR’s are. I mean who cares that our prized QB has thrown more picks than TD’s. We have the best WR’s in the country.

  4. This could be another great opportunity for NDSU and other top school to carry the banner for FCS Football. This is one of many reasons to stay FCS (at least until FBS decides what they are doing). If we were FBS we would not get all the attention we are currently getting. This will only continue to help us land top recruits from all over the country. GO Bison the march is on!!

  5. If ESPN wants this to happen I would think the NCAA would say yes.

    How would the TV rights work on something like this. Aren’t the broadcast rights held by the local NBC affiliates?

  6. What if NDSU is FBS by then? A 15-0 43-2 record with 3 peat has to get NDSU a mountain west invite dontcha think? The FCS is boorrrrring, we dominate it.

    • The Bison will be a much different team next fall. At this point there’s no telling how good they will be. These last three years have been amazing, but there will be a lot of different players in the starting lineup for the first game next fall.

      • 7 returning starters on defense
        5 returning starters on offense

        this team will reload.

  7. I believe Al Sharpton will be all over this if ESPN sets up a FCS football challenge and excludes the MEAC and SWAC. Yes we want to see the best matchups out there, but we are fans and not ESPN executives who dont wanna deal with negative backlash

  8. Isn’t the 8/23 date little on the early side for college football?
    Is school even in session yet?
    Similar to another current national topic, why not wait a year to start this?
    I wouldn’t want to jeopardize the home date with Montana nor the FBS game with Iowa State.

  9. Why cant they just do it on the weekend of the regularly scheduled game? Why does this game have to move?

    It might not have the most people in the stands but its a great college football game representing one of the most competive, if not often played rivalries in the game between two powerhouse programs. Certainly it will be sold out, certainly the streets will be full of people, certainly they will get a good game to build the show around. What else do they want?