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10 or 11 or 12

10 or 11 or 12

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John Neis 6/14/13

I’m glad I didn’t take any over/under bets on when NDSU would finalize their 2013 football schedule. Here it is June 14th and the schedule still reads 10. The last time I wrote on the subject it was March 28th (remember, anytime you see green bold it is a link) and I appeared to think the schedule would be completed soon.

When NDSU finally announces their 2013 football schedule some may confuse it with a April Fools joke. Not just for the fact that its late March and the announcement may not come until after April 1st, but because the final schedule may read 5 and 6. That’s 5 home games and 6 road games.

12 weeks later and I still don’t know what they are going to do.  Let’s go back  to the basics and lay out what AD Gene Taylor believes is the best formula for NDSU to succeed

A) Play 1 Regional FBS opponent
B) Play at least 6 home games
C) Do not schedule Non-Counters (DII or lower)

This formula has worked out great the last few years. But it appears that in 2013 either B or C will have to be altered. I know there are die hards who will be upset if they don”t get their 6th home game/tailgate, along with those who will be upset with playing a non-counter. After back to back Division 1 football championships and building a home field advantage that every school in the MAC has to be jealous of, why would a team want to come to Fargo? Remember, Montana State wasn’t the only school to cancel a trip to Fargodome in 2013. Western Carolina canceled first and The Bison filled in the September 21st date with Delaware State. WCU claims they will come in 2016, but they also claim they will have a football program in 2016.
2013 is one of the few years teams can play 12 games, so that leaves 3 options: 10 or 11 or 12

Stay With 10 Games
Since the last scheduling post a few new statements were made by Gene Taylor. He said that someone from the NCAA playoff committee informed NDSU, that playing 10 games was a negative in their eyes. Basically they are saying “playing a non-counter is better than not playing a non-counter.” How does that even make any sense NCAA? For years you have stated that non-counters are exactly as they sound. They Don’t Count. So you are telling a team that has played 30 games in two years, that 10 games is not acceptable this year? Or to tell a program/fanbase that has made you money in what many called a dying division, how they should set up their schedule? To allow teams to play 10 games last year and than not allow it the following year is ridiculous. I don’t care if this is a 12 game season and I really don’t care if it makes a few playoff selection committee members have to work a little harder. If NDSU goes 7-3 they might not deserve a seed, but the same can be said going 8-3 if that extra win is vs a non-counter. Year after year the committee has said if you go 8-3 and one win is vs a non-counter, they view you as 7-3. There is no way you are going to convince me that committee would take away a playoff home game from NDSU, for not scheduling a non-counter.
I am not a proponent of 10 games, for the simple fact that would leave NDSU with back to back bye weeks. But if the NCAA brass say 2013 is a 10 game schedule, we should all fully support the decision. The schedule the last two years has led to 2 Championsips.

Schedule The 11th Game
There are still teams with openings on Septmeber 7th or 14th and November 2nd. Ignoring the fact that many teams could buy out of the non-counters they are playing on September 7th or 14th, which I talked about in Early MarchLet’s just focus on who has Open Dates.

From March 28th-Teams with 9-14 Open
They are located just west of Philadephia PA. They still have 11 on the schedule but no mention of wanting or exploring a 12th game. They are above and beyond the best team available and that leads us to believe they want no part of NDSU whether at home or on the road. EDIT: Nothing new here, still at 11 games, the 14th open and clearly the best team available.


They are located in Pittsburgh, PA. The Dukes play in the Northeast Conference which plays 6 conference games. Currently they list 5 OOC games meaning they have room for one more if they want to play 12. EDIT: This one seems to make the most sense as the Dukes have the September 7th and 21st open.

Sacred Heart
They are located in Fairfield, CT. Yet another NEC team with an AD some may have heard of in former MLB manager Bobby Valentine. Their team is horrible, but maybe Bobby V wants to see what the best in the division looks like up close and personal. EDIT: They have the 14th open and November 23rd open. If they fill the 14th that would be 12 games in a row as the 23rd is the last week of the season.

Located in Lewisburg, PA the Bison of Bucknell play in the underfunded/limited scholarship Patriot League. Their team has little chance to beat the 2013 NDSU team whether in Fargo, in Lewisburg or on Mars so we are not sure why they would have any interest in testing themselves against the best in the FCS when they have a hard enough time staying competitive in the PL. EDIT: they still have the 14th available but to mirror SHU, their other bye week is the first week of the season. So filling the 14th would force them to play 12 in a row.

The other 2 open dates are
9-7 has Texas Southern from the SWAC who is in the same situation as SHU. Schedule someone on the 7th and they play 12 in a row as their other bye week is the final week.
Wofford from the SoCon and it makes sense for both team. Their other bye week is week 5 (9-28). Neither team wants to go on the road in 2013, but if NDSU can get a home and home and a return trip in 2014 it has to be strongly considered.
Arkansas Pine-Bluff from the SWAC is a decent team. I will just copy paste from Wofford as it is the same. Their other bye week is week 5 (9-28). Neither team wants to go on the road in 2013, but if NDSU can get a home and home and a return trip in 2014 it has to be strongly considered.
Jackson State from the SWAC also and again like Texas Southern and Sacred Heart, if they fill this date they play 12 in a row.
Going with 11 vs a FCS is my favorite option. But will any of these teams want to play even if NDSU is willing to travel on the front end of a home and home. Teams with 11-2 open would have to be licking their chops as that game would be the final game of a three game road trip for the Bison.

Or you just bite the bullet and play the non-counter. And if you are going to go with a non-counter, go for the best. The reigning DII champ Valdosta St has the 7th open.  If the NCAA is going to pretend playing a non-counter now finally counts, well let’s play champ vs champ.  Let Alabama play the weak of the FCS like Western Carolina.  When NDSU is forced to schedule down, let them know the Bison schedule the best available.  Even if it’s not Valdosta, I do not agree with those who will complain about giving the fans a 6th home game.

Play 12 Games
When Gene mentioned this ridiculous suggestion by the NCAA to play 11, he mentioned that 12 might be an option. You know Gene will explore every option to find a FCS team for the 11th game. That opens the door for playing a team with 11-2 open. It is not a great idea to play 3 games in a row on the road, but as a fan it would be exciting to see them play Jackson St, Pine-Bluff or Wofford. Or maybe the reason 11-2 is being considered is because one of those teams is willing to come to Fargo on that date. That would leave NDSU with 2 bye weeks back to back and that doesn’t appear to be something they want to do. So to solve that they would play 12 and schedule a non-counter on the September 7th or 14th. I don’t like the 12 game formula and at the same time it excites me. Either its 7 homes games and 5 road or it’s 6 and 6 and the 6th road game is somewhere NDSU has never played at before.

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