Trying to Fill Our Open Sundays

Getting through the NFL’s day without the NFL

There are 57 days left before Bison baseball in Fargo, not that anyone is counting.

Football is over. That feeling you have? That feeling is sheer and utter sadness. This feeling is normal. It’s OK to not be OK this time of year. There is no shame in tearing up over the thought of the seven football-less months to come.

We are all in this together. In the short term, we can all watch replays, hug random strangers on the street and come together as one in jealousy of the Patriots’ sixth Super Bowl title in 18 years.

However, the long term appears to be a bit grimmer. I am here to try and help you through the pain. Although none of these ideas compare to the sheer joy of spending a Sunday bumming around watching the game we all love, they may help you keep your sanity for a little while. We will get through this guys … I think.

Keep up with Bison athletics

The good news: The North Dakota State baseball team has 13 games scheduled to occur on a Sunday this year. The bad news: only three of them will be played at home, the first one not until early April. Nonetheless, it is something. Keep an eye on the schedule and spend the day at the ballpark when you get the chance. If not, find a TV, radio or anything to help you keep you up to date on any road games you may miss.

The NDSU softball team has the same problem as the baseball team. The softball team has 11 scheduled games on Sunday throughout the year, but only three will take place in Fargo. Again, take advantage when the Herd plays at home, and keep up as best you can when the team heads on the road.

College basketball and March Madness

Sadly, the Bison men’s and women’s teams will not play on Sunday for the rest of the year. However, March Madness is right around the corner for any big-time college basketball or sports fans. Selection Sunday will take place March 17 this year, so be sure to fill out your brackets.

Remember the rules though. Concentrate on and fill out one main bracket to use to compete with your family and friends, and use any of your other remaining brackets for fun.

When people have multiple brackets, the games mean just a little less. It is more fun to pick a team or two to ride or die with in the tournament instead having 12 different teams to root for.

Keep up with the NFL Draft

This one will definitely help feed your football addiction. Once the offseason settles for a few weeks, teams and fans start to look forward to the next season.

Players that were hurt last year are finally getting healthy, think pieces come out on why your favorite team has a chance to win it all next year and free agency rumors start to heat up. This tends to be a time of unbridled hope around the league.

However, the event that garners the most hope and media coverage is the NFL Draft. Having a good draft could make a team a perennial playoff contender. Drafting poorly can set a team back years and put them into rebuild mode. NFL scouts and analysts spend months watching film and talking to coaches to try and help them determine which college players will find the most success coming into the NFL.

So, spending the next seven or so Sundays leading up to April’s draft, reading draft profiles, watching highlights and going over players your favorite team might draft may be a good exercise. New mock drafts are posted almost daily from sites such as ESPN, Bleacher Report and CBS Sports. Doing your draft homework for a couple hours every Sunday might just make you look like a guru in front of your friends when the draft rolls around.

Doing any or all of these will never completely fill the void that was left by the end of football. September will be here soon enough. Of course, by that time, next year’s school year will be upon us, and we’ll all be attending our 8 a.m. classes, and it will be getting colder and colder … Man, football being gone just makes everything seem a little bleaker. May the wise words of Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman guide us through the darkness: “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”

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