Remember the week heading up to Oct. 5, 2013? It was dubbed the biggest game of the regular season. No. 4 Northern Iowa was coming to the Fargodome to clash with the No. 1 NDSU football team. Oh man, that was the talk of campus all week.
Well, we finally hit the biggest regular season game of the winter. Yes sir, it will be a doozy as the Summit League second-place Bison team (16-6, 5-2) will try and avenge their Jan. 9 loss to Fort Wayne (18-6, 6-1) for a spot at the top of the standings. Yet, I’ve heard as many people talk about this game as the number of touchdowns Peyton Manning threw Sunday. My roommates and Spectrum co-workers don’t count.
Once. I overheard a conversation about going to Saturday’s game once. The rest are about ice fishing this weekend, deporting Justin Bieber or where the next party is at, bro.
Chances are, the student section will be relatively full come game time. The crowd will exceed 4,000 people and fans will be energetic the entire game. But chances are, this game won’t be treated like the UNI game.
And that’s what I don’t understand.
I get BisoNation thinks Fargo is football heaven and nowhere else is like this place. But what this men’s basketball team has a chance to do is special. And in the sole case of gaining national exposure, this run will be more special than an FCS national championship. Of course, what means more to the school is a different case.
But let’s take a look at this. The Summit League Championship Game is on ESPN2 March 11. Winning that game and making it to the NCAA Tournament brings the national coverage back to Fargo just leading up to the tournament. And you can bet the first round game will draw in a bigger TV audience than the FCS title game.
And that’s why Saturday’s game against IPFW deserves more hype. With Omaha ineligible, the No. 1 seed gets a first round bye. With the tournament starting Saturday, March 8, the top seed doesn’t play until Monday, only needing two wins to go to the Big Dance.
With a win, the Bison settle into a tie heading down the backstretch of the conference season. NDSU has five of its seven remaining games at home while the Mastodons are the opposite, going on the road five times in seven games.
Bison fans swarmed the ticket offices to see the last games of Brock Jensen, Billy Turner, Marcus Williams and Grant Olson. What about Taylor Braun, TrayVonn Wright, Marshall Bjorklund and Mike Felt?
Many probably do realize the talent this team has. Most fans realize this is the last year for a few years in which the Bison have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament. A majority recognizes that there are only five games left in the old Bison Sports Arena.
So where is the excitement? Where is the buzz? Where is the hype?
Is BisoNation too invested in college football’s signing day? Is BisoNation still pouting about the Nov. 24 loss to North Dakota, because the blood-boiling rivalry is back after UND’s quarterback tweeted some mild trash talk?
Let’s hope this isn’t the case. Let’s hope BisoNation truly shows they are some of the most devoted fans in college sports. Because, after all, the Bison men’s basketball team could put a stamp on a nationally historic year for this university.