This season, the University of North Dakota football team has had a brutal schedule. In the first nine weeks of the season, they’ve played one of the toughest schedules in FCS football. The Fighting Hawks resume includes wins over Sam Houston State, California Davis. On Saturday, the Fighting Hawks beat the ninth-ranked Montana State Bobcats to stay perfect in the Alerus Center, 4-0.
With the win, UND improves to 5-3 (.625) overall. The Hawks have three games remaining. Their schedule includes games against Weber State 6-2, Northern Colorado 1-7, and Southern Utah 2-7.
An 8-3 or 7-4 record remains a strong possibility and would probably land the Hawks in the FCS playoffs. Lose two of the three remaining games and they’d end at up home again for the FCS Playoffs.
And with each UND victory over a top-25 opponent, the goalposts get moved further back. See the tweet below.
With UND’s fifth win, they’ve exceeded the expectations of the Fargo sports media. Make no mistake about it, the UND coaching staff isn’t going to rest on their laurels. There won’t be a banner hanging ceremony in the Alerus Center, either. They’re moving forward with a well-deserved bye week.
My prediction: if UND makes the FCS playoffs Izzo’s 4-7 prediction won’t age very well.
I am surprised that the Fargo media has any amount of time worrying about the status of the UND head football coach. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a legitimate story, but couldn’t that time be better spent covering the seven-time FCS champion. Aren’t there more important, newsworthy things to worry about in Fargo, ND? There’s a lot of good storylines surrounding the NDSU Bison to report on. I also not minimizing their accomplishment, they’re a very good football team and deserve all of the bandwidth they suck up.
I know some in Hawks Nation are getting antsy. That bar has been set very high 75 miles to the south. Being an alum of UND, I want to see the UND football team be successful. I want to see them get to the level of SDSU and NDSU. They’re not there yet. They’re probably miles apart. However, they’re at least equal if not better to a fair number of teams that are ahead of them in the FCS polls. Davis, Sam Houston State, and Montana State come to mind. UND beating those teams is also significant.
Instead, the same smug suspects tweet tripe to the fans telling them that their favorite team’s two bad losses, to two sub-par BSC teams will define their whole season and nothing else matters. Minimization, yet again.
One day it will shake out in UND’s favor. While the prognosticators will continue to minimize UND’s accomplishments on the gridiron, eventually their smugness will come back to bite them in the derriere.
From what I’ve seen this season, I think Bubba Schweigert has the program going in the right direction. UND has suffered significant injuries on defense, and in some cases used true freshmen in their place. This past weekend, the Hawks held the ninth-ranked team to 12 points with banged-up defense. In years past they may have folded. This time they didn’t. The Hawks embraced the next man up. I think coach Schweigert has already earned the right to coach for another season no matter what the so-called flat belly experts have to say.
Here are some of my images from Saturday’s game against Montana State.