Kevin Schnepf, Published August 29 2013
Schnepf: Frisco mayor's daughter knows Bison will be tough for her school to beatManhattan, Kan. - Alisa Maso, a senior majoring in political science at Kansas State, will be one of 50,000 cheering for their Wildcats football team to beat North Dakota State tonight.
The question posed to Alisa in downtown Manhattan on Thursday afternoon was: Who will her father cheer for?
“He never really told me who he’s cheering for, but he probably wants you guys to win,” said Alisa, whose “you guys” meant the Bison. “But he can’t go against his own daughter’s school, can he?”
He certainly can when he’s Maher Maso, the mayor of Frisco, Texas – where NDSU has won the last two FCS national championships. With a following of 10,000-plus fans each of the last two years, NDSU has helped bring $3 million to Maso’s thriving Dallas suburb.
Putting it simply, Maso’s dad would love to see his town overrun with all that Bison green once again.
“I can’t wait to see how many fans show up from North Dakota,” said Alisa, who first realized last spring that her beloved Wildcats would be playing the Bison. “I couldn’t believe it. I thought, ‘Oh my God, North Dakota is coming to Kansas.’ ”
Alisa knows first-hand all about the last two North Dakota invasions to her hometown of Frisco. During both FCS championship games, she was home on Christmas break and got to meet Bison head coach Craig Bohl and some of his players.
Tonight, she will be part of the sea of purple in the student-body section at Bill Snyder Family Stadium cheering against them.
“It’s weird,” Alisa said. “I know North Dakota State has such great fans. But we are known for our fans, too.”
Today, those fans will be swarming to Aggieville – Manhattan’s version of the University of Minnesota’s Dinkytown. Let Seth Stone, the manager of the “So Long Saloon” located in the heart of Aggieville, explain what most of those fans may be thinking.
“As a fan base, we’re always excited to enjoy things after the fact instead of the buildup,” Stone said Thursday while serving burgers over the noon hour. “Our fans are always asking, ‘When is the next shoe going to drop? When is something bad going to happen?’ “
Something bad usually doesn’t in season-opening games. During the Bill Snyder era, the Wildcats have a 20-1 record in season openers – the only loss coming during Snyder’s first year back in 1989.
Although Stone claims most of the Wildcats fans are well aware of NDSU’s two national championships, they certainly don’t expect anything bad to happen tonight.
Not like last year anyway when their Wildcats flirted with a national championship before losing a late-season game to Baylor. Not like 1998 when their top-ranked Wildcats saw their national title hopes disappear with a double-overtime loss in the Big 12 championship game to Texas A&M.
“Cautiously optimistic is usually the feeling,” Stone said. “It’s like, ‘Yeah, something great could happen, but when will the bottom fall out?’”
NDSU, which has knocked off major programs like Minnesota, Kansas and Colorado State in recent years, is hoping the bottom falls out for K-State tonight. Stone, who has seen smaller schools like UMass and Eastern Kentucky give his Wildcats a scare in season openers, admits it’s possible his Cats could lose to the Bison.
He’s well aware of NDSU. His brother was recruited by the Bison a few years ago before opting to play at Indiana.
“I remember going home for Christmas and seeing that NDSU recruiting packet … for some reason, that always stood out to me,” said Stone, who grew up in western Kansas. “I do know they have a very good football program.”
So does Alisa Maso – thanks to her dad.
“My dad has constantly reminded me that Kansas State won’t easily beat them,” Alisa said. “I’m certainly hoping we will win.”
By “we,” she meant Kansas State. And if her teams loses?
“It wouldn’t be so bad losing to them,” Alisa said. “It wouldn’t be as bad as losing to Baylor.”
Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Schnepf’s NDSU media blog can be found