Thursday, October 19, 2006

Climbing the Food Chain

This Saturday I will be attending Iowa State University’s Homecoming football game against Texas Tech University but to be honest (and I hate to admit this) I would rather be watching the University of Minnesota Gophers versus the North Dakota State University Bison.

So why would I rather see the Gophers try to avoid being stampeded by the Bison? Primarily because North Dakota is an NCAA Division I-AA team with a 6 and 0 record while the NCAA Division I-A University of Minnesota sits at 2 and 5 so far this season. For those readers who don’t follow college football that closely “NCAA Division I-A” is the top division in college athletics with “Division I-AA” being one level below. So yes this is a classic TUWAGCOWAUV ( “talented underdog with a good chance of winning an upset victory” ) football game. Now that is an acronym that would make any government bureaucrat proud!! .

As is commonly known Americans LOVE underdogs and I am no exception. I do love Minnesota as my adopted state but the prospect of North Dakota defeating a Big 10 Conference team like Minnesota is exciting regardless of personal loyalties. Yes the Bison have a decent chance of winning on Saturday even though this season’s statistics are against them in terms of Division I-A teams versus Division I-AA match ups. According to the North Dakota State Sports Information office Division I-AA football programs have a 6 and 67 record against Division I-A programs at this stage in the season (October 19, 2006). Here are the six Division I-AA football clubs that have defeated Division I-A teams this season:

Montana State defeated University of Colorado
Portland State defeated New Mexico
Richmond defeated Duke University
New Hampshire defeated Northwestern University
Southern Illinois defeated Indiana University
North Dakota State defeated Ball State University

This is important to me as an Iowa State University Cyclones (Division I-A) fan because I have consistently called for the Cyclones to play some bigger name Division I-A football teams versus the Division I-AA teams they have played to fill out their non-conference game schedule. I ask again -- why should the Division I-A Cyclones risk a LOSS to a Division I-AA team like Southern Illinois should they ever play versus having the OPPORTUNITY to defeat a major Division I-A team such as the University of Southern California? It is far better for the Cyclones to work their way up the food chain that is college football today – even at the risk of having a few losing seasons – by playing major football programs so our fans, athletic department leadership, and players are inspired to improve the program.

Good luck Bisons,


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