Before we continue the countdown; impressive last two days for the Bison baseball team at the Summit League Tournament; first time in tourney history that a team throws back to back shutouts; both John Straka and David Ernst were terrific; this is why NDSU was selected as the preseason favorite to win the league title; they’re getting just enough offense and now for the 2nd straight year and are in the championship game of the league tournament; just a win away from the NCAAs. Unlike last year; it’s not the behemoth of Oral Roberts in the way; but SDSU; interesting this is the 3rd playoff matchup between the schools; the FCS 2nd Round game and the Summit League Men’s Basketball Championship the previous two. NDSU needs to win just once; the Jacks twice; first pitch at 11 am, we’ll have you covered as the Bison go for 1st NCAA Tournament appearance since 1969. Now onto the Nerd Stats Countdown!
NDSU has played more games than anyone else in college football since 2010.
Countdown To 2013: NerdStat Number 97:
44; it’s been a much talked about number the past few months as NDSU tries to hammer out its 2013 schedule; but that’s the number of games the Bison have played since 2010; no one has played more than NDSU; not even Alabama; the Crimson Tide have played 40 in that same time span (13 in 2010, 13 in 2011, 14 in 2012; NDSU has played 14, 15 and 15). That’s a LOT of football folks there’s no way to get around that and for a team that thinks they have another championship run in them we’re talking nearing 60 games over a four year span.
Here’s another way to look at it; NDSU has played 44 games; the average FCS team over that same time span would have played 33 WITHOUT playoffs. That’s 11 more for the Bison; that’s an ENTIRE regular season. Makes depth a huge factor for this upcoming year.
Today’s Nerd Stat focuses on the number 98 because it was significant for two games last season:
Countdown To 2013: NerdStat Number 98:
98; that’s the number of yards that Marcus Williams returned Kurt Hess’ pass against Youngstown State in 2012 for a touchdown; a huge momentum swing as the Penguins were driving to tie the game up at 14. Instead; Williams put NDSU up 21-7 on the way to a score that surprised nearly everyone in attendance that day in a game of 1 vs 3 in the country; 48-7, that was Williams 4th career pick six (Eastern Washington, Minnesota, Western Illinois and YSU).
98 is also the number of the yardage that Williams had in his kickoff return vs Illinois State in the season finale of 2012. This was another huge momentum swing and Williams just seems to find these spots; NDSU was down 14-0 to the Redbirds and he took the next kickoff back for a touchdown; the 2nd time he’s done that; Missouri State in 2011 the other; and put the Bison right back in the game, Williams has a stunning 7 touchdowns in his career (4 INT, 2 Kickoff returns, Lateral TD).
Got some good feedback to begin our countdown; keep cranking them out each day!
Countdown To 2013: Fact Number 99
NDSU has dominated at home over the past three seasons to the tune of a 22-3 record; the curious part of that stat is two of the losses were to non-playoff teams those particular seasons: 2011 – Youngstown State and 2012 – Indiana State; Western Illinois was the other they made the playoffs in 2010.
Another impressive stat is how good the defense has been at home during this stretch; in those 25 games 11 teams have been held to under 10 points; while NDSU’s offense has scored over 40 points seven different times.
Well folks the inevitable appears to be here; according to the Detroit Free Press; Oakland will make it official after a Board Of Trustees vote that they are indeed leaving the Summit League for the Horizon League for NEXT season according to two sources. This now brings the Summit roster down to 8 teams and with a window between now and June 30th when schools are to have their conference membership declared; it’s a tight deadline for Tom Douple and friends to have an invite extended. Of course; this news should surprise NO one; the first rumors of Oakland and the Horizon started about this time last year with OU coach Greg Kampe openly campaigning to get his team into the league; but rival Detroit always stood in the way of the Grizzlies. But the loss of Loyola (IL) to the Missouri Valley was enough to overwhelm Detroit’s concerns and the Grizzlies are in. This is a big time setback for the Summit; considering OU owns the last NCAA Tournament win for the conference back in 2005 and now leaves the conference with exactly ZERO NCAA wins. Just take a look at the roster of schools wnen NDSU, SDSU and IPFW joined the Summit in 2007 to what it looks like now:
2007-08 Summit League 2013-14 Summit League
Western Illinois Western Illinois
UMKC South Dakota
No one will argue the losses of Centenary and Southern Utah as being detrimental to the league; but Kansas City’s departure shocked everyone in the league; and took away a midwest foothold that was relatively easy to travel to. Now you take away arguably the two best attendance draws in the league in Oral Roberts and Oakland and what do you have left? You have the Dakota schools that have emerged as perennial league contenders; Western Illinois has made great strides in the last two years and a Denver team that is coming off an NIT apearance; but has lots of unknowns. It also brings in the real possibility of just 14 conference games and for NDSU that means 2 home games that are gone and will be nearly impossible to replace; we’ve detailed how hard it is for the football team to get a game but Saul Phillips and Dave Richman have re-iterated to me how difficult it is to get quality games in Fargo. Fresno State was a two-for-one deal as was Kansas State. Akron will return as part of the BracketBusters; but NDSU could very well find itself on the road for the lost Summit Games.
Who’s next? That’s the big riddle as to who Tom Douple has his eyes on. He told Jeff and I on the old Saturday Sports Show (remember those great days) then they were looking at several schools and mentioned St. Cloud State by name. We thought it seemed crazy at the time; but the top end Northern Sun schools may not be all that crazy. The Nebraska-Omaha model may be one to follow for someone like SCSU or MSU Mankato; each schools have D-1 hockey and may need to drop football to make a full Division 1 transition. SCSU already had its football on life support; now granted to have two teams at the same time in the D-1 transition is not optimal (UNO won’t be fully eligible until 2015) but if its about saving the automatic qualifier status; all options must be looked at. Much more on the new video blog with Jeff and I at 1 tomorrow; if you have comments/questions, live tweet them to @DomIzzoWDAY and @FGOSportswriter and we’ll try to answer them on the video blog. Till then!
Well the news isn’t good for the FCS; the Big 10 announced Sunday that they a scheduling model for 2016 that will allow for 9 conference games; at least 1 game against a BCS conference team and NO FCS games. There are many ripples to this; none bigger than NDSU’s scheduled game at Iowa in 2016, Gene Taylor told me tonight he will speak with Iowa AD Gary Barta this week; but is going forward with the thought the game will be played until he hears otherwise. More reaction here.
Spring Football for 2013 is in the books; we knew heading in it was going to be a different look than past years and that certainly was the case this entire month; wrapping up with the spring game. What do we learn about this team? Not much that we didn’t already know; quarterbacks look solid; running backs will be good; offensive line returns plenty (although center is still up in the air); defensive line found some depth this spring; especially in South walk-on Danny Luecke; who had a great spring; linebackers was the big question mark coming in; Esley Thorton established himself in my mind as a guy that NDSU can count on in the fall; his body has transformed and he made some nice plays on the ball to convince me at that spot. MJ Stumpf had flashes; but is still pretty raw; but I think will play. In the secondary; I thought CJ Smith had a great spring; he’ll get a look of looks at the opposite corner of Marcus Williams; but Zach Colvin, Brendin Pierre and Jordan Champion will all be in the mix. Special teams is one of the best units in the country; Adam Keller returns after a record setting season; Ben LeCompte got better as the year went along and Michael Murphy enters his 4th year as the long snapper. Join Jeff and I as we recap yesterday and look ahead to the official offseason now with Kansas State a little over 4 months away.
Sorry for the delay on this folks; my dad is in town this weekend; got his first look inside the Fargodome today and saw another impressive showing by the Bison defense. Danny Luecke; walk-on from Fargo South; continues to impress at defensive tackle; while Zach Colvin; CJ Smith and Jordan Champion are all getting serious looks at the opposite corner from Marcus Williams. Today was also the first real flash we saw from Carey Woods; the standout from Bemidji; Woods; who had clearing house issues last fall camp and got a delayed start with practice; told me after the scrimmage that the 2 weeks of practice before last year’s title game he finally started to find his footing and feels more comfortable as the spring goes along. He will warrant our attention come this week leading into the Green and Gold game. Plenty more breakdown with Jeff and I; enjoy!