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The Big, Bad, Scary Fargodome

by Dan Gunderson

I opined during my podcast, The Pinto and White Shadow Show , about how much of a factor the Fargodome becomes to visiting teams during the playoffs. This is not a revelation by any means. Anybody who has been to one of North Dakota State University’s last six home playoff games understands this.

Last season during the FCS Semifinal game against Georgia Southern University, the noise level at the Fargodome reached an insane 106 decibels. That is louder than a jet flyover at 1,000 feet. Try to imagine being near a jackhammer for three straight hours. That is the Fargodome.

My question is does Furman University understand the level of noise the fans create in this stadium? I asked the head coach of Furman, Bruce Fowler, if he had reached out to Mike Ayers, the head coach of Wofford, and Jeff Monken, the head coach of Georgia Southern, to ask them about the noise level at the Fargodome.

“I have not talked to them this week,” said Fowler. He went on from there to say that “we will talk to our guys about it (Fargodome) this week.”

“We played at Baton Rouge at LSU in front of 92,000 fans,” said Fowler, referencing his team’s 48-16 loss to the Tigers. “I don’t know if it matches the noise inside the dome, from what I hear. It is something we are going to have to be prepared for.”

The mention of playing at a Southeastern Conference school is something that has become common place for coaches from the Southern Conference. Two years ago, Georgia Southern had played at Alabama just before the beginning of the FCS Playoffs.

For Wofford College, they had played the University of South Carolina just before the beginning of the FCS Playoffs as well. Both coaches going into their game against NDSU mentioned these games.

I understand that playing team’s from the SEC in their buildings is a daunting task but the energy fans bring has to be pretty miniscule compared to the energy the fans in the Fargodome bring during the playoffs. Fans of Alabama, LSU and South Carolina are mostly likely engaged for a half and then out of there. Off to do whatever it is college fans do on a Saturday.

The hope is the Fargodome will be rocking and a major advantage for the home team. The only thing that makes me weary is how fans may be viewing this game. I get the sense that fans may be thinking of Furman as a team that NDSU will have no problem with.

If fans come with the same kind of excitement they showed in the last two home games for NDSU, than the home field advantage for the Bison will be minimized. For the sake of Bison fans, I would hope they don’t act this way. However, with the way the forecast looks for that Saturday and everyone’s assumption that NDSU will have more games past this Saturday, you never know.

We will see by press conference time if Fowler is comparing the Fargodome atmosphere to LSU, just as the two SOCON coaches before him compared the Fargodome to Alabama and South Carolina.

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.