North Dakota State opened its 2013 football season with a 24-21 victory at Kansas State. It was the fourth year in a row that NDSU had defeated an FBS opponent, and this was by far the most impressive.
Coach Craig Bohl’s private analysis of the upset brought this conclusion:
“That gave me a firm conviction this model would work [at the FBS level], and it’s probably time to move on,’’ Bohl told Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports.
Feldman’s recent column served to reinforce the idea with some Fargo folks that Bohl wasn’t fully engaged in the Bison’s run for a third consecutive national title. There had been considerable unhappiness when reports that Bohl was moving on to Wyoming surfaced as NDSU was starting the FCS playoffs.
The veteran Bison bunch didn’t blink — not when it found out Bohl and several assistants would be leaving after the playoffs, not when it lost Grant Olson, the senior linebacker from Wayzata, to a torn ACL.
The Bison went 15-0 in the three-peat season. Chris Klieman, promoted from defensive coordinator, has settled in as Bohl’s replacement, and Bohl has settled in as the latest coach attempting to make Wyoming a factor in a 12-team Mountain West that is tougher than it’s ever been.
The 2014 schedule includes Fresno State, Utah State and Boise State, as well as nonconference games at Oregon and Michigan State.
So be it. Even we fallen-away Wyomaniacs are excited to have Bohl as the latest coach to try to beat the odds and turn the Cowboys — representatives of a smallish university, in a small city, in a small state — into a competitive presence in the Mountain West.
Wyomania is the group started by Tracy Ringolsby, the Hall of Fame baseball writer, that shows up on a Saturday in November to cheer on the Cowboys. A number of Wyomaniacs drink as well as cheer.
Thankfully, I’ve been accepted back in the fold as the visiting teetotaler, and will return to War Memorial Stadium on Nov. 22 to see what Bohl’s Pokes have to offer against Boise State.
As we say in Laramie, “Powder River.”
PLUS THREE FROM PATRICK
Three college football stadiums where I have to see a game:
Tiger Stadium: The home of the LSU Tigers, the magical place where a kid from the Minnesota prairie could hear the Saturday night madness on clear-signal AM radio.
Spartan Stadium: The one Big Ten stadium I have missed (Rutgers and Maryland don’t count). And make it a Saturday when Michigan State puts a whuppin’ on the Maize and Pompous.
Sanford Stadium: I’ve been hearing about those Georgia hedges for decades. Got to see that shrubbery.