I write this in all honesty but to me, the Northern Iowa game for the North Dakota State University football team feels like the end. Not the end of the season but the end of what has been the most exciting six weeks in the history of NDSU athletics.
Starting with the game on August 30 against Kansas State University, followed by the raising of the national championship banner on September 7 and then ESPN’s College GameDay coming to downtown Fargo on September 21.
Those series of events for the Bison football team all happened before they even got into the conference season. I imagine that when they looked at the schedule, they circled September 28 and October 5 on the calendar.
Last week’s game against South Dakota State University and this week’s game against the Panthers would most likely determine what type of team NDSU would be and where they would finish in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
They never imagined that they’d be receiving the type of attention they got preceding those games. Usually, the non-conference is reserved for one tough opponent and a couple cupcakes. Fans are desperate for some games that they can sink their teeth into by the time October comes around.
Don’t think I’m saying NDSU fans are ready for a break. The Fargodome on Saturday may be the loudest it has been in years for a regular season game. I’m more so sensing that this is the end for “high intensity, extremely tough, we, the fans, have to get behind our team and help them win” type of games.
Tailgating for the Missouri State game next week will probably be filled with less talk of “How are we going to stop David Johnson?” and more with “What type of beer taste better out of a keg?”
Of course, I have been wrong before. Maybe I am the ONLY one feeling this way. Perhaps, next week the NDSU fans will be worried about Caleb Schaffitzel (bless you) and his defensive prowess. I am just not sensing that.
I feel that this game will be the culmination of the pandemonium that has been the last six weeks for this program.
You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.