Tatanka Pride

Hooooly crap. Approximately 60 minutes ago North Dakota State University, the two time back to back defending FCS national champions, defeated Kansas State, the defending Big 12 champions, in what was probably, as Quarterback Brock Jensen stated after the game, the biggest game in their program’s history. This was amazing to watch as a Bison fan from multiple levels.

For one, I want to preface this by saying I had no idea Kansas State fans were that legit. Those people are football fans flat out. I know a lot of people find the coordinated cheers, hand movements and dancing corny but personally I think thats what makes college sports great. Fan commitment and passion. I can’t get enough of that stuff. And in any event those fans created one hell of a hostile environment. This isn’t like NDSU’s 2010 win over Kansas. These are REAL football fans with a REAL football team, a REAL tradition, and a REAL coach.

Whats more impressive, however, was the Bison faithful presence in that stadium! There had to have been at least 7,000 yellow clad Bison fans in that stadium! Simply amazing! But I digress.

Lets touch back at that stadium for a moment. Bill Snyder Stadium. As in Bill Snyder the current coach at Kansas State. The guy is literally a living legend! (although living may be a stretch. he appears be taking a page out of the Rick Pitino crypt keeper book)

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“Well he DOES have a point. I am in fact QUITE aged”

But in any case this guy is in Joe Paterno (pre Sandusky) territory here. He’s 4 time coach of the year in the big 12 and simply a damn good coach. He’s in his 70s and STILL a damn good coach. AND he’s got the stadium where he coaches NAMED after him and not only is he not even dead yet BUT HE’S STILL COACHING!  And shit, they just unveiled a statue of the guy out front!  Like JUST did it! Today! Before the game! Which NDSU won!!!

NDSU and Bison fans treked down into the house that Bill built himself and Brock Jensen manhandled his team into submission like a rampaging bull!

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“Let me in that endzone small purple children!!!”

We’ve seen FCS Cinderellas knock off BCS teams before and we’ve seen it happen to bigger schools than Kansas state. Specifically I’m thinking of Appalachian State’s 2007 upset of Michigan in The Big House.

This win was perhaps more impactful for a few reasons. Kansas state has never been perceived to be a historical football power. Michigan, however is one of the largest, proudest football schools around. Their stadium fits the most people, they’ve been playing since 1879, they have 11 national titles (metrics may vary) and historically they’re just kindof good at this shit.

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Hmm… Where do I know that pose from?…

However, this was a Michigan program already clearly in decline. They hadn’t won a national title since 1997 and they  hadn’t even had a share of the Big 10 title since 2004. In fact this loss would help propel Lloyd car out of a job.

Contrasting that with the Bison win, then, we have a Kansas State team which was not only defending Big 12 champions, and a team that came within 1 regular season loss of playing for a BCS championship last season!  (although in the Fiesta bowl we saw what would have happened if everything had stood pat last season with the November 15th status quo)

Now obviously this is all getting a little over the top. Kansas state is probably rebuilding and they certainly aren’t the monster they were last year with Heisman candidate Colin Klein at quarterback, but they are still probably one of the 3 best teams in the Big 12, a BCS power conference and a team that by all accounts should have beaten NDSU. However, even through mistakes, crowd disadvantages, and obvious talent disparities (every time the camera came in tight to the players on the field I swear I never saw a K State player less than 6 inches taller than ever single Bison player in the shot) NDSU came out with an enormous win. A lot will depend on how both K State and NDSU finish their respective seasons but for the mentality of a fan-base and the creating of their own identity this win means the world to Bison fans.

NDSU and Craig Bohl have done this before. They did it to Kansas. They did it to Minnesota (almost twice but the 2006 game barely got away from them) but this one just felt truly special. I can’t wait for this title defense. The March is on Bison fans. 3peat.

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