« NDSU Bison

More Money More Problems

by Dan Gunderson

Something that many may have noticed this year is that quite a few Football Championship Subdivision teams scheduled 12 games. In the Missouri Valley Football Conference, only two of the 10 teams have an 11-game schedule. One of those two teams is the North Dakota State University Bison.

My question behind scheduling 12 games in a 13 week regular season is what is the advantage? I understand that not every team is NDSU. Not every team can fill up their home stadium in mere minutes. So, they need to find different avenues of making money for their football program.

For instance, Indiana State is playing a 12 game schedule that includes seven games on the road. Their first two games were against two in-state Football Bowl Subdivision schools in Indiana and Purdue.

The reason behind this is the money the Sycamores receive from both schools is money they wouldn’t get for having six home games. They don’t draw well enough to justify having a balanced schedule. There is also the element of traveling. Indiana itself has four FBS schools in the state. Low cost of travel plus high pay out.

The case would not be the same for the University of South Dakota. The Coyotes, who have a balanced 12-game schedule, went a different route to fill out their calendar. They scheduled one FBS school but three Big Sky schools, including one against Montana in the middle of the conference schedule.

So, while most Missouri Valley teams are enjoying their built in conference bye, the Coyotes will be playing a highly ranked Montana on November 9 in Vermillion. Sure, it is a juicy match-up between an up and coming ‘Yotes team with head coach Joe Glenn taking on his former team, but it is still a game that means little.

Indiana State’s high season hopes were dashed quickly with a 0-2 start and USD will be pleading for a breather while their MVFC cohorts take a rest. Money is an evil thing, especially when it is put in higher regard than the players and the overall performance of the team.

I get that NDSU is in a special situation but now they are going to look even better come November when their players are getting break number two in the season and other teams are either pressing on or getting their first break.

So, the question again is what is the advantage of a 12-game schedule? The answer off the field is money. The advantage on the field is one I am still trying to figure out.

You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.