All things D2 and D3 football 2022


GopherDog1

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Go Auggies! I played back when Parade Stadium was our home field and the first year in our on-campus stadium on the Pontiac Silver Dome turf. We were similar to recent Auggie teams. The MIAC is a tough league with SJU, Bethel, Concordia, and Gustavus all competitive teams. With luck, Lamker will elevate Augsburg this year.
 

I'm A Maroon 2!

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UW-Whitewater alum here. Having your team compete for a national championship every year you are in college was pretty sweet. I think a few MN teams gave them great games over the years as well. I wish there would be a WIAC vs MIAC conference challenege for non conference games. A lot of MN kids play at the border schools (River Falls (81), LAX (10), Stout (57), Eau Claire (12)) for D3 and a big number of Wisconsin kids who want some kind of scholarship go D2 in Minnesota.

A lot of great football in the upper midwest that doesn't get much credit. That is exactly why schools like NDSU have good success. Tons of D1 talent that gets overlooked that goes there and dominates.
 

Some guy

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UW-Whitewater alum here. Having your team compete for a national championship every year you are in college was pretty sweet. I think a few MN teams gave them great games over the years as well. I wish there would be a WIAC vs MIAC conference challenege for non conference games. A lot of MN kids play at the border schools (River Falls (81), LAX (10), Stout (57), Eau Claire (12)) for D3 and a big number of Wisconsin kids who want some kind of scholarship go D2 in Minnesota.

A lot of great football in the upper midwest that doesn't get much credit. That is exactly why schools like NDSU have good success. Tons of D1 talent that gets overlooked that goes there and dominates.
The bottom of the WIAC would kill the bottom of the MIAC now I think

Would be fun to do a top 5 vs top 5 though
 



GophersInIowa

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I dont believe there is any D2 football in Wisconsin. Its Badgers or D3. Whitewater gets alot of Badger cast-offs. Good players but not good enough to ever see a B10 contest.
It's also part of the reason there's so many FBS walk-ons from Wisconsin. The Gophers and Badgers both get a good amount of walk-ons from WI.
 

Schnauzer

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The bottom of the WIAC would kill the bottom of the MIAC now I think

Would be fun to do a top 5 vs top 5 though
This is a true statement. I love the MIAC. Proud of it. But the WIAC is like a whole conference of St. Thomas sized schools. It is fairly unique in that it is a whole conference of public schools with larger enrollments. The MIAC more closely fits the mold of typical D3 conferences: mostly small, private, liberal arts type schools with enrollments between 1-3k.
 


I'm A Maroon 2!

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This is a true statement. I love the MIAC. Proud of it. But the WIAC is like a whole conference of St. Thomas sized schools. It is fairly unique in that it is a whole conference of public schools with larger enrollments. The MIAC more closely fits the mold of typical D3 conferences: mostly small, private, liberal arts type schools with enrollments between 1-3k.
That's a great point. If I remember correctly, UW-Whitewater had larger enrollments than about 10 D1 schools.

Currently ahead of:
Tulsa
Air Force
Army
Navy
Rice
Wake Forest
Louisiana-Monroe
TCU
Coastal Carolina

Barely behind:
SMU
Notre Dame
 



GopherDog1

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Last year, I saw 2 WIAC games when the gophers were not playing. Feels like the schools and the stadiums are funded by the state of WI, and they are. In MN we think of D3 as private universities and so there are corners cut here and there in the game day experience, at least at the smaller programs. Clearly, Gustavus is spending some money on facilities and of course, SJU has the premier D3 venue in the country, you all need to see it. WIAC teams and facilities remind me of D2 here in MN.
 

IceBoxGopher

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Some Northern Sun updates for the D2 side of things.
Earlier this month the coach's NSIC preseason poll was released:
Overall
1. Augustana - 153 pts
2. Bemidji State - 145
3. Minnesota-Duluth - 142
4t. Minnesota State-Mankato (3) - 136
4t. Sioux Falls - 136
6. Winona State - 109
7. Northern State - 94
8. Wayne State - 88
9. Minnesota State-Moorhead - 72
10. Mary - 71
11. Concordia-St. Paul - 41
12. Minot State - 36
13. Southwest Minnesota State 26
14. Upper Iowa - 25

North Division
1. Bemidji State - 36 pts
2. Minnesota-Duluth - 31
3. Northern State - 24
4t. Mary - 19
4t. Minnesota State-Moorhead - 19
6. Concordia-St. Paul - 10
7. Minot State - 8

South Division
1. Augustana - 32 pts
2. Minnesota State-Mankato - 31
3. Sioux Falls - 27
4. Winona State - 21
5. Wayne State - 19
6. Upper Iowa - 10
7. Southwest Minnesota State - 7

Also, D2Football.com did a season preview, with Minnesota teams having the following predicted finishes:
  • Bemidji State, 9-2
  • Minnesota Duluth, 8-3
  • Minnesota State Mankato, 8-3
  • Winona State, 7-4
  • Minnesota State Moorhead, 4-7
  • Concordia St. Paul, 1-10
  • Southwest Minnesota State, 1-10
Here are the NSIC games scheduled this week
Thursday
  • SMSU at UMD
  • Upper Iowa at Northern State
  • MSU-Mankato at BSU
  • Sioux Falls at MSU-Moorhead
  • Augustana at Concordia SP
Saturday
  • WSU at Minot State
  • Wayne State College at U Mary
 

disco

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The WIAC is made up of schools similar to many in the NSIC. Mid-sized state schools, but they just play D3 instead of D2.

The UMAC might just be one of the worst conferences in the country. Their makeup for football is really strange now too since a number of schools in the conference don't have football (Northland, UW-Superior, Bethany, etc.).

This year for football, they have:
Crown, Northwestern (Roseville), UM-Morris, Martin Luther, which are all full members.
But then they have two schools in Illinois, and Finlandia, which is in the UP right next to Michigan Tech. Those are some seriously long bus trips.
 

Panthadad2

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Some Northern Sun updates for the D2 side of things.
Earlier this month the coach's NSIC preseason poll was released:
Overall
1. Augustana - 153 pts
2. Bemidji State - 145
3. Minnesota-Duluth - 142
4t. Minnesota State-Mankato (3) - 136
4t. Sioux Falls - 136
6. Winona State - 109
7. Northern State - 94
8. Wayne State - 88
9. Minnesota State-Moorhead - 72
10. Mary - 71
11. Concordia-St. Paul - 41
12. Minot State - 36
13. Southwest Minnesota State 26
14. Upper Iowa - 25

North Division
1. Bemidji State - 36 pts
2. Minnesota-Duluth - 31
3. Northern State - 24
4t. Mary - 19
4t. Minnesota State-Moorhead - 19
6. Concordia-St. Paul - 10
7. Minot State - 8

South Division
1. Augustana - 32 pts
2. Minnesota State-Mankato - 31
3. Sioux Falls - 27
4. Winona State - 21
5. Wayne State - 19
6. Upper Iowa - 10
7. Southwest Minnesota State - 7

Also, D2Football.com did a season preview, with Minnesota teams having the following predicted finishes:
  • Bemidji State, 9-2
  • Minnesota Duluth, 8-3
  • Minnesota State Mankato, 8-3
  • Winona State, 7-4
  • Minnesota State Moorhead, 4-7
  • Concordia St. Paul, 1-10
  • Southwest Minnesota State, 1-10
Here are the NSIC games scheduled this week
Thursday
  • SMSU at UMD
  • Upper Iowa at Northern State
  • MSU-Mankato at BSU
  • Sioux Falls at MSU-Moorhead
  • Augustana at Concordia SP
Saturday
  • WSU at Minot State
  • Wayne State College at U Mary

It takes some getting used to seeing Bemidji St at the top of the rankings. That program has come a long way recently.
 



Full Speed Ahead

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UW-Whitewater alum here. Having your team compete for a national championship every year you are in college was pretty sweet.
Isn't it a bit embarrassing for you that a school that size has to play D3 in order to win? This is basically the same as an AAAA high school team thinking it's great they just beat a 9-man football team.

 

IceBoxGopher

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The UMAC might just be one of the worst conferences in the country. Their makeup for football is really strange now too since a number of schools in the conference don't have football (Northland, UW-Superior, Bethany, etc.).

This year for football, they have:
Crown, Northwestern (Roseville), UM-Morris, Martin Luther, which are all full members.
But then they have two schools in Illinois, and Finlandia, which is in the UP right next to Michigan Tech. Those are some seriously long bus trips.
In DIII there's UMAC and MIAC and for the state's two year schools there's the MCAC. Get's a bit confusing at times o_O:LOL:

Just for some extra lower level college football info, there are seven schools in the MCAC that have football teams
  • Minnesota State Community and Technical College -Fergus Falls
  • North Dakota State College of Science
  • Rochester Community and Technical College
  • Central Lakes College
  • Mesabi Range Community and Technical College
  • Vermilion Community College
  • Minnesota West Community and Technical College
 

disco

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Isn't it a bit embarrassing for you that a school that size has to play D3 in order to win? This is basically the same as an AAAA high school team thinking it's great they just beat a 9-man football team.
I don't think it's exactly a choice. I think the UW system has all their football teams except Madison slotted at D3. Milwaukee and Green Bay are D1 schools, but neither has football, and if I recall, that was a tradeoff for those schools to go D1 in other sports.

Similar to how UN Omaha dropped football when they went D1 in everything else.
 

disco

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In DIII there's UMAC and MIAC and for the state's two year schools there's the MCAC. Get's a bit confusing at times o_O:LOL:

Just for some extra lower level college football info, there are seven schools in the MCAC that have football teams
  • Minnesota State Community and Technical College -Fergus Falls
  • North Dakota State College of Science
  • Rochester Community and Technical College
  • Central Lakes College
  • Mesabi Range Community and Technical College
  • Vermilion Community College
  • Minnesota West Community and Technical College
The daughter of one of our friends is playing volleyball at Fergus Falls this year. Somehow, that school ended up with the domain minnesota.edu, and is going by the moniker MState. That surprised me.
 

short ornery norwegian

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Speaking of the UMAC - Augsburg opens against Northwestern Saturday night. Northwestern was 3-7 last year.

the Full MIAC Schedule for this weekend:
Thurs, Sept 1:
Concordia at Valley City State U
Sat, Sept 3:
UW Whitewater at St. John's !!!
St. Olaf at Central College (Pella, IA, home of many wealthy Dutch people)
St. Scholastica at Sewanee, TN (yeah, let's go to Tennessee for a non-conf game)
Pacific Lutheran at Bethel
Macalester at UM-Morris
Gustavus at Buena Vista U (Storm Lake, IA)
Auggies at Northwestern
Hamline at Crown College (St. Bonifacius, MN)
 

UpAndUnder43

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Isn't it a bit embarrassing for you that a school that size has to play D3 in order to win? This is basically the same as an AAAA high school team thinking it's great they just beat a 9-man football team.

I think the difference in school sizes is that you can recruit in college football. You're not just pulling from the student body like you are in high school. For instance--St John's is not a super large school but they recruit well and have a good pipeline of talent. Very few of those kids are just pulled from the student body. They went to St. John's (in part) to play football.
 

Panthadad2

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I think the difference in school sizes is that you can recruit in college football. You're not just pulling from the student body like you are in high school. For instance--St John's is not a super large school but they recruit well and have a good pipeline of talent. Very few of those kids are just pulled from the student body. They went to St. John's (in part) to play football.

Enrollment might matter for the level of financial support the school can provide to athletics, but yeah, it's not necessarily a limiting factor. For example, Mount Union has less than 2,000 students. Similarly, Augustana competes very well in most sports in the NSIC as one of the smaller schools.

UT Dallas is one of the largest D3 schools with ~30,000 students, but they do not dominate the ASC conference in most sports.

Regardless, offering cheap in-state tuition like the WIAC does allow a D3 team to build a big roster in comparison to small private schools that don't emphasize athletics. Thus the disparity at the bottom of the conferences like the WIAC vs. MIAC. The top of the conferences are very competitive.
 

disco

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Speaking of the UMAC - Augsburg opens against Northwestern Saturday night. Northwestern was 3-7 last year.

the Full MIAC Schedule for this weekend:
Thurs, Sept 1:
Concordia at Valley City State U
Sat, Sept 3:
UW Whitewater at St. John's !!!
St. Olaf at Central College (Pella, IA, home of many wealthy Dutch people)
St. Scholastica at Sewanee, TN (yeah, let's go to Tennessee for a non-conf game)
Pacific Lutheran at Bethel
Macalester at UM-Morris
Gustavus at Buena Vista U (Storm Lake, IA)
Auggies at Northwestern
Hamline at Crown College (St. Bonifacius, MN)
A team is traveling from Washington to play Bethel???
 

Panthadad2

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A team is traveling from Washington to play Bethel???

There aren't many west coast D3 teams. There are only two small conferences, one in WA/OR and another in mainly Southern CA. For a WA school playing non-con, flying to MN probably isn't much difference than flying to L.A.

UMHB is flying up from TX to play Whitewater next week. It happens.
 

disco

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I've wondered for a while if the D2 football model is sustainable at least around here.

I went to MSU-Moorhead and interest in the team was non-existent. The campus was basically empty on weekends. I attended two games, and at one, my drunk buddy literally walked onto the sidelines, stole a football, and we left and went to a park and played touch football the rest of the day. That's how little anyone cared.

Concordia drew well because - MIAC school - and NDSU was a D2 powerhouse at the time, before moving to FCS, and they of course drew lots of fans, so part of it was an oversaturated college football market. But I'm not under the impression football is particularly popular at any of the NSIC schools.

Looking at 2019 numbers (latest I could find on the NCAA site) the NSIC was 12th out of 16 D2 conferences in average attendance, and didn't have a single school in the top 30 for attendance. The MIAC had better average attendance numbers that year and was number one in D3.

With that little interest and I assume little to no revenue (SCSU and UM-Crookston already dropped the sport, and UM-Morris dropped to D3), is D2 football worth the expense for these schools anymore?
 

UpAndUnder43

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I've wondered for a while if the D2 football model is sustainable at least around here.

I went to MSU-Moorhead and interest in the team was non-existent. The campus was basically empty on weekends. I attended two games, and at one, my drunk buddy literally walked onto the sidelines, stole a football, and we left and went to a park and played touch football the rest of the day. That's how little anyone cared.

Concordia drew well because - MIAC school - and NDSU was a D2 powerhouse at the time, before moving to FCS, and they of course drew lots of fans, so part of it was an oversaturated college football market. But I'm not under the impression football is particularly popular at any of the NSIC schools.

Looking at 2019 numbers (latest I could find on the NCAA site) the NSIC was 12th out of 16 D2 conferences in average attendance, and didn't have a single school in the top 30 for attendance. The MIAC had better average attendance numbers that year and was number one in D3.

With that little interest and I assume little to no revenue (SCSU and UM-Crookston already dropped the sport, and UM-Morris dropped to D3), is D2 football worth the expense for these schools anymore?
The model isn’t sustainable and I think D2 football will disappear eventually. Other D2 sports may as well.
 

Panthadad2

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I've wondered for a while if the D2 football model is sustainable at least around here.

I went to MSU-Moorhead and interest in the team was non-existent. The campus was basically empty on weekends. I attended two games, and at one, my drunk buddy literally walked onto the sidelines, stole a football, and we left and went to a park and played touch football the rest of the day. That's how little anyone cared.

Concordia drew well because - MIAC school - and NDSU was a D2 powerhouse at the time, before moving to FCS, and they of course drew lots of fans, so part of it was an oversaturated college football market. But I'm not under the impression football is particularly popular at any of the NSIC schools.

Looking at 2019 numbers (latest I could find on the NCAA site) the NSIC was 12th out of 16 D2 conferences in average attendance, and didn't have a single school in the top 30 for attendance. The MIAC had better average attendance numbers that year and was number one in D3.

With that little interest and I assume little to no revenue (SCSU and UM-Crookston already dropped the sport, and UM-Morris dropped to D3), is D2 football worth the expense for these schools anymore?

Good points. D2 seems to be caught in nowhere land right now. Many of the formerly top D2 schools moved up to D1 over the past two decades leaving a hole there. Top D3 schools often get more notoriety for whatever reason (amateur status?) though bottom D3 gets little attention. Granted, there are some top D2 schools and conferences that get stronger fan support, but the NSIC isn't one of them. I'm guessing there are lot of small partial scholarships at NSIC schools (not fully funded up to the NCAA max), where the schools are recruiting athletes for the tuition, but I don't know that for a fact.
 

noamfromm

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The daughter of one of our friends is playing volleyball at Fergus Falls this year. Somehow, that school ended up with the domain minnesota.edu, and is going by the moniker MState. That surprised me.
The MnSCU system rebranded some years back to Minnesota State. Wadena, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead go by M State (City). Whereas some of the community colleges stayed with their previous names such as Ridgewater College, or Saint Cloud Technical and Community College instead of going with M State Willmar/Saint Cloud
 

disco

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Top D3 schools often get more notoriety for whatever reason (amateur status?) though bottom D3 gets little attention. Granted, there are some top D2 schools and conferences that get stronger fan support, but the NSIC isn't one of them. I'm guessing there are lot of small partial scholarships at NSIC schools (not fully funded up to the NCAA max), where the schools are recruiting athletes for the tuition, but I don't know that for a fact.
The MIAC gets a lot of coverage locally, and the NSIC very little. The former may change a little with UST moving to D1, since the Tommie-Johnnie rivalry was a big part of that, but I think there are a few reasons for that.

Private school alumni continue to associate with (and donate to) their schools at a much higher rate than the average outstate public school, so there's more interest. Also four (formerly 5) of the MIAC schools are located in the metro area where the main media market is, and three more are less than an hour drive. (Carleton, Gustavus and St. Olaf).

Looking at the top 5 in attendance in D2 that year (2019):
1. Morehouse (private, and an HBCU)
2. Grand Valley State (I'm guessing they out-draw some of the directional Michigan schools in the MAC - definitely EMU) GVSU is a big school, with 24,000 students.
3. Tarleton St. (now in the D1 WAC, and in football crazy Texas)
4. Tuskegee (private, and an HBCU)
5. Pittsburg St. (similar demographics to the NSIC, and a longtime football powerhouse)

It should be noted that Pittsburg has one of the best mascots ever. The Gorillas.
 

IceBoxGopher

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The MnSCU system rebranded some years back to Minnesota State. Wadena, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead go by M State (City). Whereas some of the community colleges stayed with their previous names such as Ridgewater College, or Saint Cloud Technical and Community College instead of going with M State Willmar/Saint Cloud
Similar to the M State situation, they also brought a lot of northern colleges together under one name, Minnesota North College, which includes Hibbing, Vermillion, Itasca, Messabi Range and Rainy River.

So, now instead of Hibbing Community College, it's Minnesota North College-Hibbing. While all of the schools are now part of Minnesota North College, though, they're keeping their individual identities when it comes to athletics, so Rainy River for example is keeping the Voyageur nickname, the red and white colors, etc.
 

IceBoxGopher

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The model isn’t sustainable and I think D2 football will disappear eventually. Other D2 sports may as well.
I think there will likely be a shift by the NCAA as far as divisions go in football in the coming years. Division I is basically three divisions already. Power 5 and Group of 5 are both FBS but sometimes it feels like they're separate and there's the FCS which is like another division in itself.

I think that shift will probably impact D2 football as well. What that will look like, I don't know. But I do think there's a place for Division II level sports in college, and I think it will carry on in some way, shape or form.

My guess is there will still be what is now D2 football, but potentially under a different name. Perhaps some teams move down, others move up. Not sure what that might mean on the basketball side of things. There's some great basketball at the D2 level, especially in the NSIC, and it draws good crowds. for a few schools.

I've wondered for a while if the D2 football model is sustainable at least around here.

I went to MSU-Moorhead and interest in the team was non-existent. The campus was basically empty on weekends. I attended two games, and at one, my drunk buddy literally walked onto the sidelines, stole a football, and we left and went to a park and played touch football the rest of the day. That's how little anyone cared.
It was like that when I attended, too. But I've gone to some games recently and there's been a pretty good atmosphere. I think the remodeling that that took place with the new field, as well as the team winning more with Laqua has done a lot to improve things.

I think MSUM is in a tougher spot because of what's around it. MSUM is competing for fan attention, media coverage and probably local recruiting with Concordia College, let alone NDSU across the river. It's something not many other NSIC schools have to deal with.

I lived in Bemidji for about 5 years, and the Beavers are king there. There's plenty of other communities like that too for the NSIC, Duluth=Bulldogs, Mankato=Mavericks, Fayette=Peacocks, Marshall=Broncos, St. Cloud=Huskies, Winona=Warriors, and so on.

The only other cities where a single NSIC team isn't the main thing in town is Sioux Falls, which has both USF and Augustana, and Concordia St. Paul, the latter for obvious reasons.

So much of the media is focused on the Bison, too. On Sunday, the Fargo-Moorhead Forum newspaper will run three stories all on the front page about Saturday's Bison game, usually a Forum original story, an AP version of the story written by an outside outlet, and a column/opinion piece. The Dragons and Cobbers then have to hope that they get a little bit of coverage in the back of the sports section.
 

Panthadad2

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I think there will likely be a shift by the NCAA as far as divisions go in football in the coming years. Division I is basically three divisions already. Power 5 and Group of 5 are both FBS but sometimes it feels like they're separate and there's the FCS which is like another division in itself.

I think that shift will probably impact D2 football as well. What that will look like, I don't know. But I do think there's a place for Division II level sports in college, and I think it will carry on in some way, shape or form.

My guess is there will still be what is now D2 football, but potentially under a different name. Perhaps some teams move down, others move up. Not sure what that might mean on the basketball side of things. There's some great basketball at the D2 level, especially in the NSIC, and it draws good crowds. for a few schools.


It was like that when I attended, too. But I've gone to some games recently and there's been a pretty good atmosphere. I think the remodeling that that took place with the new field, as well as the team winning more with Laqua has done a lot to improve things.

I think MSUM is in a tougher spot because of what's around it. MSUM is competing for fan attention, media coverage and probably local recruiting with Concordia College, let alone NDSU across the river. It's something not many other NSIC schools have to deal with.

I lived in Bemidji for about 5 years, and the Beavers are king there. There's plenty of other communities like that too for the NSIC, Duluth=Bulldogs, Mankato=Mavericks, Fayette=Peacocks, Marshall=Broncos, St. Cloud=Huskies, Winona=Warriors, and so on.

The only other cities where a single NSIC team isn't the main thing in town is Sioux Falls, which has both USF and Augustana, and Concordia St. Paul, the latter for obvious reasons.

So much of the media is focused on the Bison, too. On Sunday, the Fargo-Moorhead Forum newspaper will run three stories all on the front page about Saturday's Bison game, usually a Forum original story, an AP version of the story written by an outside outlet, and a column/opinion piece. The Dragons and Cobbers then have to hope that they get a little bit of coverage in the back of the sports section.

Both the Dragons and Cobs were hurt by their annual rivalry game being eliminated IMO. It was a big game that would fill both stadiums to the brim and also carve out some space in the F-M news cycle. Part of me wishes one or the other would move divisions so that game could be reinstated.
 




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