North Dakota State’s long struggles of filling out its football schedules is now being felt at James Madison. Greg Madia, the beat writer for JMU, put out an article this morning illustrating the struggles that JMU is having in getting FCS and FBS games. You can read it here.
The highlight of that article clearly was the fact that James Madison and NDSU were talking about scheduling a game with one another. The two top programs in the division matching up, potentially on the opening weekend of the college football season.
But before Bison fans get too excited about round three with the Dukes, some further digging reveals that the two schools aren’t close to playing on the field. NDSU Athletic Director Matt Larsen told me Saturday, “the only time we discussed a Week Zero game was in 2016 when we ended up going with Charleston Southern. We have not had any direct conversations with JMU about a game. We’re looking at a lot of things, but nothing specifically with JMU.”
When looking on the outside, it doesn’t make much sense for either school to schedule the game. JMU’s assistant AD Kevin White is dead on when he said “We want to go 2-1 in your non-conference schedule, then 6-2 in league play, that will get you into the playoffs.” More and more we have seen teams schedule rather easy non-conference schedules to get the necessary wins before league play begins. NDSU was in that category last season with the non-conference home games they had with Mississippi Valley State and Robert Morris. This year is slightly different with the addition of Delaware and Cal Poly, two past playoff teams, but not to the level of what Eastern Washington and Charleston Southern were in 2016.
JMU has embraced that philosophy as well with the scheduling of Norfolk State and St. Francis. They are also running into the problem NDSU has with FBS teams, that fewer will play the Dukes. None of the in-state Virginia FBS teams are calling back. The Bison have been down that road.
As far as home and home scheduling with FCS teams, NDSU wants to stay away from that model, outside of 12 game seasons. That’s why the Delaware series made sense for 2018 and 2019, since next season is a 12 game year. The next opportunity is 2024, NDSU has Colorado on the docket for that year, so it’s likely the Bison will play a road FCS game that season.
Larsen added there is nothing new on the schedule front for NDSU. The Bison have 2019 done, but still have an open date for 2020 and nothing done for 2021. Other schools have games with Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Utah State that season. Games are filling up and even with the Big 10 opening up, there’s little to no chance they’ll take a phone call from NDSU.
ODDS AND ENDS
- There is again some movement on the women’s basketball team. MidCoSN’s Brian Shawn was first to report that sophomore Anna Goodhope is transferring to the University of Sioux Falls. Goodhope redshirted this past season, she played in 24 games two years ago, averaging four points a game. That marks two players gone this year, joining Kennedy Childers, who left the team during January. As of now, NDSU only has one player coming in for next year, the late signing period opens on Wednesday.
- With the ongoing winter not relenting, I visited the newest facility at the SHAC, the short game facility. This is above where the old pool used to be at the BSA. Check out the story here.
- Josh Morton, former UND football player and administrator, has been hired as Augustana’s newest athletic director. Plenty of discussion circles Augie and it’s D-1 prospect’s, I interviewed him Friday night, listen here.