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Email Conversations: The NDSU/UND Rivalry

by Dan Gunderson

This week's email conversation between Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson and Brad "The White Shadow" Jones takes on the topic of the North Dakota State University/University of North Dakota football rivarly.

Dan Gunderson
Sep 9 (4 days ago)

Dear Brad,

We never got to it in the podcast (for reasons unknown) but I wanted to talk about the opinion piece in the GF Herald this past week. It was from Minnesota Twins Pres. Dave St. Peter about renewing the UND/NDSU rivalry. Asking if it would be a good idea is null. Who do you think it would benefit the most if they were to start it up again?

Bradley Jones
Sep 11 (2 days ago)

To Pinto,

We probably didn't get to it because of how much time I had to spend pointing out the flaws in your other arguments. A home-and-home series really wouldn't benefit either team a great amount right now. The rivalry between the two schools is great and there are a great deal of fans on both sides who would love to see it renewed. But it all comes back to money. The formula for making the most money right now is to play one guarantee game against an FBS team and have two home games. Both athletics departments will strive for that setup. I think the Bison will even more after having their last two home-and-home games bought out by Georgia Southern and Montana St.

Dan Gunderson
Sep 11 (2 days ago)

To Bradley,

I would argue that it would benefit both teams for a couple reasons. 1) I think getting FBS teams to play FCS teams is going to be sparse. The last two years, the FBS has been knocked around by FCS teams. FBS does not benefit from playing an FCS team. You win, no big deal. You are supposed to win. You lose, you suffer the scrutiny of your fan base and negative national attention. Plus, with the Big 10 wanting to go to sans FCS on their schedule, traveling costs may outweigh the pay day you get for playing FBS teams. 2) This point is more beneficial for UND than for NDSU but the attention locally you get for just playing the game. Right now, UND is second fiddle football wise to NDSU. You play a game against NDSU, the type of media attention on your school grows. It doubles for your program if you beat NDSU as well.

Bradley Jones
Sep 11 (2 days ago)

To Pinto,

Well, you're 50% right, which is an improvement! It definitely benefits UND more than NDSU, that's why the driving force behind wanting to renew the rivalry seems to be coming from up north. There isn't a lot of upside for NDSU in that game. The Bison already sell out every game, and sell them out quickly. Interest is at an all-time high, so right now NDSU is trying to get as much money as possible, and there isn't much extra money to be made (with the exception of some t-shirts and hats about renewing the rivalry) by playing UND. As for your first point, the gap is closing between the FBS and FCS, but not rapidly enough to have the FBS pass on those games. The winning percentage is still high enough for those games to keep happening, plus the Bison have games on the schedule for several of the upcoming years, including Iowa in 2016 and Iowa State next year. I'll believe that the FBS will stop scheduling FCS teams when I see it happen, and there seems to be enough pushback in the Big 10 for schools to keep scheduling.

Dan Gunderson
Sep 12 (1 day ago)

To Bradley,

The schools will push back but conference commissioners would rather see it go away. However, that is another discussion we can have. In the end, UND is the only school that benefits from this game. NDSU gets who they want from area, they sell out every game, regardless of opponent and the type of attention they receive from beating K-State, winning national championships, etc.... outweigh the attention they would get from beating what essentially is a mid-level FCS football team.

Bradley Jones
Sep 13 (Today)

To Pinto,

I agree, NDSU has shown they will schedule home-and-homes with FCS teams, but only top-tier teams like Montana, Montana St., Georgia Southern, etc. If/when UND gets to that level, this discussion and the rivalry can heat up. Until then, it will only live in discussions like this one. 

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.