Anticipation is building to quite the crescendo that will take place inside the Fargodome this week as UND and NDSU meet on the gridiron for the first time since 2003. Yes, after 12 years the two schools have FINALLY put aside their differences from the bitter Division 2 vs. Division 1 divorce and will play again this Saturday, and again in 2019. But why isn't the series locked and loaded beyond that? There's several reasons both schools have, but in actuality - there's no real reason the series can't go on past 2019 and there's no real reason it can't continue as a home-and-home every other year for each school.
One myth lies in the difficutly to schedule the game annually because the two squads don't compete in the same conference (Big Sky vs. Missouri Valley). Categorize this under "Things that make you go hmmmm..." - someone tell me how these in-state, but non-conference rivalries continue to thrive?:
* Iowa (B1G) vs. Iowa State (Big 12) - played annually since 1977
* Georgia (SEC) vs. Georgia Tech (ACC) - played annually since 1925
* Clemson (ACC) vs. South Carolina (SEC) - played annually since 1909
* Florida (SEC) vs. Florida State (ACC) - played since 1958
Another primary excuse I've heard is that if the series shifts to a home-and-home every year it will hinder the schools from having the possibility of 6 home games each year and take away a potential FBS opponent from the docket. I see a simple solution: Use all 12 games you're allowed to schedule each year. As long as the MVFC and Big Sky schedule 8 conference games (4 at home) then you can divide up your 4 non-conference games into 2 home games and 2 road games (with one FBS school if you desire). Now, maybe it throws a wrench into your bye week structure, but both teams scheduled 12 games last year and I don't think it hindered either school's seasons (UND surpassed some expecations with 5 wins and NDSU won its 4th straight national championship) - so, c'mon - I need a better reason than that.
There's just not a legitimate reason this series can't be scheduled from 2020 and beyond - and it should be. We keep hearing from both sides how good and important this is for the state, the programs, and the institutions - so put pen to paper and get a long-term deal done. There's already an entire generation that has never witnessed what was once the greatest rivalry in all of college football - it's time to make sure that doesn't happen again.