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Jeff Kolpack, Published August 29 2013

Like Appalachian State, Bison open three-peat bid against major-conference opponent

FARGO – The University of Michigan was ranked fifth in the country when a country school from Boone, N.C., played in the Big House. That was in 2007.

The ensuing Appalachian State upset had college football fans talking for months, some of them for years. Former Appalachian head coach Jerry Moore relived it for a few moments last spring when he took North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl up on a request to visit the Bison program for a couple of days.

The big picture, Moore said, was not the Michigan game that season.

“How does the Michigan game compare to winning a national championship?” Moore said. “When you start looking at it like that, there is no comparison. It was a great win, but to win three national championships in a row took a lot more stuff from all of us – coaches, players, trainers, everybody involved – than to go win one big ballgame.”

Like Appalachian that season, NDSU’s big picture is not playing Kansas State tonight. The Bison have a chance this season for three straight FCS titles, but it’s hard not to put playing on the K-State stage on that level.

It’s a nationally televised game on Fox Sports 1, the network’s new all-sports channel that has hopes of rivaling ESPN. The opener for both teams has been sold out for a while, and it’s part of a celebration for a renovation of Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Moore gave a word of caution on putting one game as a season-maker. The Mountaineers went on to lose two games in 2007, but rebounded to win four straight playoff games to secure their three-peat.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to play Michigan two more times, put it that way,” Moore said.

Despite title, KSU not in top 25

Kansas State went 11-2 last season, including a Big 12 Conference title and a Fiesta Bowl game against Oregon. But preseason rankings this month haven’t treated the Wildcats as kind.

They were tabbed to finish sixth out of 10 teams in the Big 12 media poll and didn’t even make the USA Today coaches top 25 poll, ending just outside at No. 26. The Associated Press media poll had them even lower.

Why?

“I don’t know what the reason is,” said K-State head coach Bill Snyder. “They probably think I’m too old to coach the game maybe. You have to ask people who make those predictions. In many cases, we probably deserve to be selected lower than what we were fortunate enough to finish at (last year).”

The biggest reason is probably defense, where the Wildcats lost eight starters. The Big 12 as a whole didn’t get much love in both top 25 polls. Oklahoma State was the highest in the coaches and AP polls at 14 and 13, respectively.

“I do think our league has not gotten near the credit nationally that it deserves,” Texas head coach Mack Brown said on this week’s Big 12 conference call. “As you keep looking at it over the next couple of years, the Big 12 will gain that respect.”


Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia