2014 graduates

I realize we have had some great athletes that were bookends for this senior class at NDSU. Great seniors in 2011,2012, 2013 and 2015 and beyond, but the senior class at NDSU Sports World has been nothing short of spectacular. 24 senior athletes in Football, 6 in mens hoops, wrestling and track and field men and women and lets hold on and see how well softball and baseball end up, but I predict some good things for them this spring as well. I would be very interested to see how many other mid major schools, let alone all colleges, who have had so much success as Bison Athletics has had this year. Much of the success can be attributed to this great senior class. Baby formula and food could have been laced with red bull back in the early 90′s because NDSU gained from some of those babies. It is fun to see when groups of kids at any level, have a strong class or core group of athletes who gel. As an NDSU alum, I cant wait to see which class is going to be that next dominating group of athletes. I hope it is 2015, 2016,2017 etc…. you get the picture. Whichever class it is, they have big shoes to fill. It has been a blast these last four years and let’s keep it going Bison. If you get a chance to see some of these seniors in person, thank them for a fun time.

Countdown

It was a week ago today, my family and friends we were with, had been in Texas a couple of days already with great anticipation for Saturday’s championship game. It was a blast the whole time but as excited as everyone was, I can’t let Frisco off the hook quite so easy this year. 1. Bison Intro- fail  2. Turf- fail  3. P A announcer- fail- did he check the pronunciation of the players names. 4. Clocks and 40 second clock- fail.

Finally, the pep fest was a blast, but once again running out of beer or trying to poor beer into keg cups was extremely patience testing.

All in all, it was a great experience for the third time, but if and when we come back next year, I hope those things will be corrected.

Now for next year. Have you seen the Sports Network FCS picks for next year. Sure they gave NDSU some love, but direct note to Coach K, put the article on the board right now. Yes the one that has Eastern Washington the team to beat next year!!!!

Craig Haley has given NDSU some great props over the years, but you would think he should, with the dominating team we have had. But to drop us to his 2nd position even after the wrinkled turf has not yet settled, is unsettling.

I was going to just relax a bit and enjoy the 3-peat, but now I am pumped to get next year started and the target should be to meet and beat Eastern Washington. I wanted that scenario this year, but now I really want it.

Quick shout out to the Basketball teams, and Wrestling and Track and Baseball coming up, but even Football off season, I am pumped. Great to see coach Polasek back, he was always my favorite assistant  and I was in Coach K’s camp since Coach Bohl announced he was leaving.

Go Bison!!!!

Frisco Ramblings #NDSUFrisco

Most NDSU fans who plan on attending the game have already begun their trek to Texas.  There have been some reports on Twitter and Facebook of fans having trouble making the trek due to either weather related travel cancellations or, believe it or not, lost tickets.  The most intriguing story was of a gentleman who lost his tickets and checkbook at a stop a long the way.  Fortunately for him, another Bison fan found his checkbook with the tickets and made some calls back to the local authorities and they were able to track each other down and conduct a reunion of the tickets and checkbook to the rightful owner.   Reward offered, but not accepted, because Bison Nation sticks together.

Every outlet that covers FCS football, that I have read, has picked NDSU to win.  The only outlier has been a sports writer from the Baltimore and Towson area who believes that Towson can win.  I suppose that is why the saying “Any given Saturday” exists, but it seems that every strength that is highlighted for Towson, has a Bison answer.  Even the great individual running of T. West has a Bison answer, in not one, but two running backs that together have just as impressive numbers.  Of course, Mr. West will be going up against the #1 defense in the nation too.  Even if he has a great day, he alone will not be enough to beat the Bison.  Just don’t see the Bison defense giving up the 400-500 yards that it would probably take to outscore this Bison offense.

Tickets for the game became even harder to get, as Stub Hub is no longer selling tickets.  Just not enough time to get the tickets to buyers via the mail.  The NCAA Flash Seat site, still has tickets for sale and should leading all the way up to kick-off.   NDSU is still selling tickets on the GoBison.com site as well.  Obviously this game is not a sellout.  Despite the NCAA only selling Standing Room Only tickets, they are also still selling seats with their $100/person hospitality package (plus cost of seat).  Very strange that they are no longer selling individual tickets and only SRO, when the game is not sold out.    Not impossible to get tickets at face value (or below), but not exactly easy either.

It sounds like it could the crowd will almost exclusively be Bison fans.  If the Tweet I read earlier is any indication of Towson support, I am not sure that even 1,000 Tiger fans made the trip.  Somebody had posted that Towson sold 350 tickets to their pep fest.   I have mixed feelings on this.  On the one hand, I love the idea of an all Bison crowd, but I also like the idea of a sell-out.

Happy New Year! #NDSUFrisco

The Bison left Fargo for Frisco today, arriving just after noon, in Texas. Facebook and Twitter are already starting to buzz with photos and posts as fans begin their trek to Frisco. The traditional Bison flag has been spotted at the Texas state line, proudly attached to the “Welcome to Texas” sign. The mayor of Frisco has tweeted to his town, inviting them to join him at the Westin to welcome the Bison. Championship week is in full swing!

Turns out the the toughest ticket in Frisco to get your hands on will be for Dr. Pepper Park.  We learned yesterday that the Pep Fest celebration has been sold out with 10,000 tickets sold! The crowd should be electric.  NDSU has done a great job improving this event each year, so really looking forward to Friday night this year.

Tickets for the game are still available on Stub Hub, although I noticed today that the price has dropped significantly with some tickets now for sale below face value. The number of tickets available is below 270. Today the NDSU ticket office released unclaimed tickets to the general population, although the numbers of seats available together were limited, and I am guessing below 100 total tickets were released. Tickets are still available via the various message boards (Bisonville, Craigslist, NDSU Alumni, etc.). The NCAA Flash Seats website has almost 200 seats for sale, with some below face value. Standing room only tickets are also available on the NCAA website, although, this seems to be the least desirable, considering that the seats can still be purchased below the cost of a SRO ticket.  It does seem like the NCAA should put some sort of a limit on tickets sold to one person, when they are made available in the Fall. Feels like a lot of people are grabbing large blocks of tickets only hoping to resell them at a profit.

At this point I am not sure that the game is officially a sellout, as tickets are still available via the traditional outlets (school and NCAA), but it should certainly be close. This year I fully expect more Bison fans, but significantly less Towson fans as what SHSU was able to bring to Frisco. I am hoping to see somewhere between 15,000 and 18,000 Bison fans, but my guess is that it won’t be much more than that. That is a great showing for any college football fan base at any level. If more than 18,000 NDSU fans make the trip, it will be hard to even notice the Towson fans in the crowd. I am going to predict that Towson will send 2,000 or so fans. Hoping to see a sold out stadium of 22,000 by game time.

What is your guess on the number of Bison fans at the game?  Do you think it will be a sell out crowd?

 

 

Frisco Take Two (for us)!

My family is excited. We are about to make our second trip to Frisco, to watch the Bison attempt to cap a historic run at a third national championship in a row. This year we were prepared. Tickets were purchased way back in September, as soon as the NCAA made single game tickets available for sale. Even with the early purchase, the tickets available were not the best in the house, with many fans already beating me to the punch.  Additionally, large blocks of good seats were either reserved for each potential school or sold in the new 3-year packages.  Even so, it was nice to have one less item to worry about this year. We were a little less aggressive on securing a hotel room this year. Last year it seemed so easy to find a hotel that this year we were lulled into a little bit of complacency. Fortunately, we were still able to find a hotel in Allen, Texas with reasonable rates. Plus as crazy as this sounds, in true North Dakota fashion, we did not want to put the cart in front of the horse, so to speak, by getting too far ahead on our planning for a trip that depended on big Bison wins week after week. Would not want to contribute to a jinx! Crazy, right?

Championship week is my favorite. The Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, web blogs all provide great insight on what the pros (Dom, Jeff, Big E., and the gang) and amateurs (me included) are thinking about in the upcoming match up. It is also extremely fun to watch Twitter and Facebook as the migration south begins. The various stories of late night stops for food and gas in the middle of nowhere where unfamiliar Bison fans find each other and strike up instant friendships. As well as Bison fans posting pictures of how they have left their mark all along the route heading south, by leaving Bison flags on state lines, taking photos with Bison regalia in front of various landmarks along the way. We live outside of Bison Country (although Bison Country seems to be getting larger and larger thanks to ESPN), so I have to rely on the internet for most of my local Bison coverage, but tuning in to the various media outlets to hear the local talk radio and news reports on how the Bison and Towson are preparing for the game is also something I enjoy.  By the end of the week, I am ready for the game, as this hyper Bison fan has been hyped and I have brought my family along in the wave of excitement as well.

This year, championship week will be much the same as last year for us.  We will arrive on Friday and try to head over to the open practice session. Last year we were able to see many of the players and coaches up close, and the accessibility of the team made it feel so much more special. We have our pep fest tickets in hand and are even looking forward to a better event than last year as the NDSU team that organizes these events has become old pros at helping crazy Bison fans invade Frisco. How President Bresciani, Gene Taylor and Coach Bohl have not already been given keys to the city, I don’t know. The annual invasion of Green and Gold has certainly lined some pockets. Rumor has it, that the Towson team will be guests of the Embassy Suites hotel just off of center field of the Dr. Pepper Field, where the pep fest will be held.  I don’t see fireworks on the schedule, but with already over 8,000 tickets sold and counting, I am sure the noise of Bison Pride will permeate through the hotel walls and shake the bones of all inside. A great way to start off the weekend. Saturday morning, we plan to arrive early at the stadium, as the kids love the activities at Tailgate Town. Since we live many states away, we don’t get to tailgate at Bison games. The tailgate lot is a little foreign to us, but we love to walk through and see all the Bison custom rigs and look for familiar faces. The tailgate lot will be our last stop before heading into what is sure to be a great NDSU home game environment. No doubt the stadium bowl interior will be lined with Bison Gold, and some Green too. By game time, we will be ready to cheer on the Bison to a third National Championship!

 

Get ready for Round 3: Join the Bison Fan Blog

Heading to Frisco for the showdown between Towson and North Dakota State for the NCAA Division I FCS championship game?

Join our Bison Fan Blog and contribute your thoughts, photos and observations down to and in Frisco, Texas, for the Bison fans back home. You can blog from your mobile device using the WordPress app, available in Apple and Android marketplaces as well.

Email Forum online editor Rob Beer at rbeer@forumcomm.com for access.

chicken or egg

I felt compelled to finally write again as my last post was about ripping on NDSU for not getting a 6th home game. Oh how that seems so long ago now.

While spending time at a celebration party of sorts last night, after the Furman game, The news hit that reminds you of that call you get when something is wrong or not good with a relative or friend. It is interesting to see the different reactions from people you know and don’t know regarding the news they just received. “Craig Bohl is leaving to Wyoming”

As most, I felt the timing was crap! I felt anger towards Bohl! I immediately went into the mode of who will replace him on the interim and who will go with him to Wyoming?

After time starting settling in, I started to think about what everyone involved was thinking rather than just myself. Vigen- will he be interim, does he want it, will he go with Bohl. Klieman- will he get it? Vigen has more seniority etc.. Scott Hazelton- will he be in mix somehow to come back. Kevin Feeney- would he move up to college football and become an offensive staff member? Tim Polasek? would he be the guy to be the next head coach. He was an awesome motivator and the players loved him.

After these thoughts and many more, I started thinking about the program as a whole and these young players, especially the underclassmen. The seniors will never play for Bohl again after this year, they can rally and be the leaders on their own as they have been doing for 4 years. The underclassmen can learn from the team and seniors and carry the tradition forward as long as the coaching staff is not decimated.

So to the title of this post- Chicken or Egg?

We all know that NDSU has a great tradition and has football craziness locked in the blood that flows through everyone who cares about it. We have seen programs continue through coaching changes before. Don Morton, Earl Solomonson, Rocky Hager, and now Bohl and many others. So my question to you is Did Bohl make this latest program success or did the players? Did Bohl catch fire in a bottle with this last group of kids and they helped him be able to strike when the old cowboy branding iron is hot?

Going back to thinking about the timing of this. Bohl was looked at by many as the King of Fargo, but was he or was he just a figurehead who got real good at selling this program. Can you blame him for jumping at what he feels is a better opportunity or maybe a last big challenge for him. (Wyoming is going to be a challenge for sure as it sounds like the fans suck worse than the team).

Finally, for the players this thought! You have learned that there is strength in the Herd. You know that the philosophy on the team has been “Next Man UP” so this is the same for your coach in the NDSU FOOTBALL PROGRAM- Next Man Up!

You as a group of players along with a bunch of great assistant coaches are more of a part of this success than just one person, so carry on 3 more games and on into years to come the tradition of success at NDSU. You are the Egg.

Go Bison.

Get up for GameDay!

This weekend marks yet another great chapter in Bison history. Not only does Coach Bohl have an opportunity to become the winningest coach in Bison history, he gets the chance to do it on a weekend with ESPN GameDay in town for the first and possibly only time. This has certainly spiced up what could otherwise have been one of the less exciting matchups scheduled this season.

Unless you happen to live under a rock or in Grand Forks, you’ve probably heard that some of the Bison Nation are less than thrilled with the venue chosen for GameDay. Although portrayed as an expression of supreme ingratitude, this is actually understandable considering two main factors. The first is a lack of familiarity with the details of the show. GameDay often chooses offsite locations in an attempt to capture more of the flavor of the host community and to gain more control of what is intended to be a G rated show. The second is a lingering mistrust of Fargo and NDSU authorities’ ability to manage the event.

This second cause is well-earned, if outdated. Back in the day, but well within the memories of many fans, Fargo and NDSU were almost openly hostile to their own fan base and discouraged overt enthusiasm and celebration of Bison home games. The degree of support from the BisonNation was also severely underestimated. If the old guard were still in place, it is very likely that they would have managed to botch downtown GameDay, leaving fans stranded in a congested downtown with no feasible way to get to the game. However, AD Taylor, Coach Bohl, and President Bresciani have made great strides toward improving the gameday experience for Bison fans. With the 18 shuttle buses planned, I believe it will not be an either/or choice for Bison fans between GameDay festivities and catching the game. So let’s go out there, make this a GameDay the ESPN crew will never forget, and cheer the Bison on to a 3-0 start.

P.S. NDSU fans have been discouraged from making fun of our neighbor to the north during GameDay. I see the appeal of heckling UND, but I reluctantly agree. Most people watching won’t get the “Sioux Suck” references, and frankly, UND’s program is at the point where even negative attention is good attention. As an exiled North Dakotan, I feel a sense of embarrassment when thinking about UND, and believe they should be regarded as a shameful family member never to be discussed with outsiders.

Tomorrow…

Tomorrow is my favorite day of the year.

Tomorrow, I will go to work like any other day.  Tomorrow, I will sludge for corporate America and serve my time in my cubical like today.  But then…

Tomorrow, I will get home, pack up the car, and head west on I-94 toward the prairie.  Tomorrow I will endure bumper-to-bumper traffic from Maple Grove to Rogers with so many metro area residents like myself.  Most of them will be headed to their lake cabins for another weekend respite.  But tomorrow, I will be headed to Fargo.

Tomorrow, I will watch the wooded areas of central Minnesota give way to the prairies of the west.  Tomorrow, I will view a wondrous sunset over fields of waving green and yellow crops that line the four lane highway headed northwest.

Tomorrow, I will cross the Red River into the Peace Garden State as the sun drops below the horizon.  Tomorrow, I will lay restless in my bed, for tomorrow, gives way to game day.

Tomorrow, I will think of flapping yellow flags, decked-out buses and RV’s, and the taste of that first cold beverage.  Of a mass of green and yellow clad fans and footballs and bean bags and washers in the air.  Of the Gold Star Marching Band and the smell of roasted nuts inside the Dome.  Of the lights going out, Thunderstruck being played and a banner being raised.  And finally, a yellow-clad group of warriors running out to an eager audience.  The screams and applause of anticipation for the first kickoff, the first hit, and the first score.

All those things, I will think of tomorrow.

Now all I need to do is get through today.

Showcase/Spring Game Recap

Here are just a few notes and thoughts regarding the Spring Football weekend for NDSU Football.

1. The Bison Showcase evening was a lot of fun. Great food or snacks as you would have it. The Hilton Garden did a real nice job.

2. The coordinators, both offensive and defensive gave real thorough talks on the status of the team. As they talked, I could feel the excitement start to build for the year to come.

3. Some very neat items. If you got the fridge and don’t know where to put it, I have some room in my garage where you can store it.

4. Spring Locker Room sale- Disappointed this year. I have gone for many years in a row, and this year it seemed most stuff was over-priced and basically a lot of leftover stuff from last year or years before. Needless to say I spent much less than years past.

5. Spring game silent auction- Some decent items, but bidding started a bit high on some. Overall decent

6. Spring game- It is always fun to see the players and how they have gotten bigger or quicker or in some cases huge, since last year. The game itself was unique with the new scoring method. Kind of confusing with points and who was on which teams, but with so many players sitting out the game, it was easy to see why. It seems we are working a lot more on the passing game this spring which is probably good. Overall it seemed as though it was very low key and somewhat uneventful, but that is ok with me. When fall hits and all the new kids are in school and we are back to full strength, I will be pumped and ready and I am sure the team and coaches will be as well. Since spring is slow to get here and who knows if we will have summer, I say the heck with summer and bring on the fall and football. I can’t wait.

I ended with 6 bullets or comments and I would hope with that number, it will bring karma and the 6th home game. Gene Taylor joked with us at the Showcase, but I sure hope he can make it happen.

Go Bison.