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.

Schedule and Tickets

I was happy to see my season ticket statement in the mail yesterday and with it a listing of dates to mark your calender with. I like so many are chompin at the bit as they say to get this football season rolling. Since we are using horse references, I am concerned about the cart before the horse with those dates and events. I do not want to criticize or single out any of those in scheduling and planning, but I will challenge NDSU as a whole in a few things.

The spring game is scheduled for April 27. I had heard rumblings of maybe not having the game this year because of the long season and injuries etc.. Will it happen for sure?

The deadline for season ticket renewals is April 15. I will for sure be getting mine again, but it would be nice to know if we are having a 6th home game or not. If not will we be refunded some of our package? We all know the crap the MSU Poultry pulled on NDSU in bailing out of our home game, but we should have more answers as to a replacements by now.

Many would say we are enjoying some great times with NDSU football right now but I say you need to stay consistent with what got you there. Coaches and players seem to be on line for at least one more year of success, but things can change quickly. Playing fewer home games, charging more for tailgaiting and adding more rules and regulations, and overall making a fast buck, could bite NDSU just as quick as all of the fun and fanfare has evolved over the last few years.

Call me old school, as I have been tailgaiting and attending games as a student and alumni since the 80′s and I see the marketing and fan interest grow exponentially. I also see some changes that make me think that if something causes the bandwagon jumpers to fall off, we could be in a different situation.

I will be mailing off my teammaker and season ticket check very soon and have the spring game date locked on my phone along with other dates. I am even putting my cart in front of my horse for a third trip to Frisco, but deep down I will try and stay the course and not do things too crazy. I hope NDSU does the same.

Oh ya, the basketball teams are playing today in the first round of the Summit tourney and Wrestling just finished a pretty successful season and Track and Baseball and Softball are underway with what looks like some possible good results ahead. Go Bison.

Movin’ on up

With the recent turmoil in the Bison football schedule and our latest successes, discussion of moving to the FBS has begun to spring up. The Bison do need to move up, but this will require extensive resources and a sustained commitment from NDSU, the Herd, and the North Dakotan people. It won’t happen overnight (or even next year), but with inspired leadership and the steadfast support of the BisonNation, NDSU could be competitive at college football’s highest level.

To be competitive in the FBS, NDSU will need to build a new stadium. The Fargodome is a great place to play football, and I along with most of the Bison faithful have great memories there, but it is not capable of hosting a successful FBS program. While the Fargodome’s capacity allows NDSU to rank near the top of the FCS in attendance 9 (9th in 2011 and 6th in 2012), it is less than half of the average attendance at an FBS football game (46,074 in 2011). Without the revenue and fan exposure generated by this level of attendance, maintaining the staff and training facilities and recruiting top players would not be feasible. NDSU’s current attendance does best some of the lower-end FBS programs, but with nearly every team we’ve beaten in the playoffs contemplating a move up, the bottom of the FBS is likely to be very crowded for the foreseeable future. With the heavy competition for conference bids, a facility upgrade could well make the difference between languishing in the bottom of the Sun Belt conference and joining the Big 10 to thwart Minnesota’s attempt to escape us.

Building a reasonable FBS stadium, although it would require a major resource commitment, would not be infeasible. At a construction cost of approximately $6,700 per seat, which is roughly what Paul Brown Stadium and Qwest Field cost, a 45,000 seat stadium could be built for 300 million dollars. Boise State hosted only 34,018 fans per game in 2011, and building a stadium to host that many fans could be accomplished for about 230 million dollars. Building this type of stadium would provide NDSU and Fargo with a state-of-the-art multipurpose facility, and give the Bison a venue that would prove they belong in the FBS. If the Bison could sell out this stadium on a regular basis, they would be drawing about as many fans as Purdue, Pitt, or Rutgers, which are not bad company. Watching the Bison play a home game to a sold out house against the likes of Minnesota or Air Force would be an incredible experience I hope we all get to enjoy someday.

Sources:

http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/ncaa/resources/stats/football/attendance/index.html

http://www.forbes.com/2008/08/06/expensive-stadiums-america-forbeslife-cx_ae_0806sports_slide_2.html?thisSpeed=15000

http://www.american.com/archive/2008/april-04-08/a-closer-look-at-stadium-subsidies

Merry Christmas

With a couple days off from work, I would like to take the time to say Merry Christmas and Happy 2013 to all of the Bison Fan Blog followers and fans of the Herd in general.

Holding off a bit on the Christmas gifts this year, my kids are a bit miffed, but for crying out loud, Dad needs a new cowboy hat for Frisco.

My hopes of course are for a repeat for the Bison and safe travels to all those making the trek south.

For those of you making your way to Frisco, please check the Go Bison website or NDSU alumni association’s lists of activities. Oh, by the way, remember to bring your inside voice to FC Dallas Stadium.

Lets blow Sam Houston away for a 2nd time in the fan attendance, noise and of course with a win, but that is up to the team. We as fans can take care of the first two items.

Go Bison, See ya all in Frisco. I will be the guy with the cowboy hat.

How I learned to stop worrying and love the tailgate.

The Bison have finished another great regular season, yet they continue to have a problem.  However, it is a problem a lot of FCS teams would like to have (as anyone who watched Youngstown and Indiana State play a potential win-and-in game in a deserted stadium can verify); more people would like to attend Bison games than can be accommodated by the Fargodome.  As a Bison fan transplanted to ‘Bama country, I’ve noticed some local practices that could help to expand the game-day experience.

Alabama tailgating is a sight to behold.  The most dedicated fans begin showing up on the Wednesday before game day.  Of course, Southern weather is a bit more suited to this than the plains of North Dakota.  Tailgating also lasts throughout the game, and a large fan contingent watches the game from the parking lots (the Tide sell out the 101,821 seats in Bryant-Denny Stadium on a regular basis).  Shockingly, even with a large crowd of fervent fans, this does not result in Armageddon.  Both the Bison and Sam Houston fans at Frisco last year put in a long, hard tailgating effort, and yet again, chaos did not ensue.  This calls into question the rationale behind limiting the tailgate times at NDSU, especially when all of the Fargodome seating has been sold.  Quite a few fans would likely enjoy celebrating games with a like-minded crowd in the lot as a consolation prize when tickets are unavailable.

Tailgating at NDSU has come a long way from a couple of rows of cars out in the mud back in the D2 days.  Simply expanding the hours available to Bison fans would be a great way to keep improving the game day experience, and it has the nice feature of being nearly free to the University.  For the time being, let’s enjoy the tailgating we have, and show our playoff opponents what fan support worthy of a championship looks like!