Hope everyone enjoys their holiday weekend, have a deluge of video and info coming over the next couple of days as we get set for the opening of Spring Football for NDSU. Wanted to give an update on the FCS teams left by my count that have open dates for September 7th, September 14th and November 2nd. By this time, most schools have filled up their schedules, leading me to think that besides game 11 for NDSU being a road game, there is a slight(and I say slight) chance that perhaps game 11 is another FBS game. Here’s my unofficial list (you’ve all seen the notebooks!)
September 7th: Texas Southern, San Diego and Wagner
September 14th: Duquesne, Robert Morris, Bucknell, Georgetown, Marist and San Diego
November 2nd: Bryant, Central Connecticut State, Duquesne, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, St. Francis and Wagner
You’ll recognize most of these schools are familiar; the Northeast Conference hasn’t put out its schedule yet, but you have to believe some of these dates are going to disappear as well. NDSU is in a tough spot here, there’s few teams to talk to unless a team that already has a scheduled game for 9/7 or 9/14 wants to get out of it; say if they’re playing a D-2 to get another counter, but those may be far and few between. NDSU will not play just 10 games, they will get another and it won’t be D2, it will be a counter, now its left to find out if its FCS or FBS. We’ll keep you posted.
Western Kentucky Football
There was some conference movement on this Saturday; Western Kentucky; the school that left the former Gateway now Missouri Valley to allow NDSU and SDSU in, will leave the Sun Belt after 5 short years and head to Conference USA. That opening was created when Tulsa left for what is the old Big East. Don’t think too hard or blood will spurt out of your ears. Basically the old Big East is what Conference USA used to be and CUSA is what the Sun Belt looked like about 2 years ago. With the additons of Georgia Southern, App State, New Mexico State and Idaho, the Sun Belt stands at 11, you know they want an even number and you know they’ll be looking at the FCS for their next team. ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reports that James Madison and Liberty are strong candidates to fill that last spot. JMU makes all the sense in the world, great stadium, rock solid school and really good football team. The Dukes play in a stadium that seats 25K and have had great success at the FCS level, winning the 2004 title. I thought James Madison was the toughest team NDSU played on its way to the 2011 national championship, they were well coached and outside of their kicker kicking it out of bounds twice, that was a fairly close game. JMU just saw two of its FCS rivals leave in App State and Georgia Southern, not to mention CAA rival and in-state school Old Dominion move up in about 20 seconds. James Madison is another school that should cause NDSU to think harder about FBS, this is another recognizable school on the 1-AA level that would be gone.