Until UND comes around, NDSU has itself another rivalryPoor Northern Iowa. The Panthers have no football-playing school they can call a true rival, that one team that causes the 8-to-5 businessmen to lose his cool between 5:30 and midnight.
By: Jeff Kolpack, Associated Press
Poor Northern Iowa. The Panthers have no football-playing school they can call a true rival, that one team that causes the 8-to-5 businessmen to lose his cool between 5:30 and midnight.
There are no opposing school colors that automatically raise the blood pressure. But fear no more Panther fans, help is on the way.
There are signs that this North Dakota State and UNI football series is gaining steam. For starters, they got into a sort-of-fight last year in Fargo and there’s nothing like jawing and clawing to get things going.
Still, it’s not at the rivalry stage yet in the eyes of UNI head coach Mark Farley.
“There is so much parity in this league and so much strength in the league that I can’t say there’s one game fans and players look to more than the others,” he said.
Iowa State and Iowa are in-state Division I schools, but they’re both in major conferences. UNI is considered a mid-major.
Having no rival is sad, really. That means there is no Dakota Marker or no Nickel Trophy to play for. There is nothing for the winning team to parade off the field and keep it under lock and key somewhere in the football office, waiting for a student from the other school to steal it.
So that’s it; that’s what’s missing in this game. If NDSU vs. UNI is going to be a true rivalry, let’s give these schools some options. They could play for:
- The Ceiling Fan. Both teams play in a dome stadium, so the connection is obvious.
- The Mudra Head. Darrell Mudra was the head coach who led Bison football out of the dark ages in the early 1960s. He later became the UNI coach from 1983-87 so why not play for his allegiance?
- The Blue Chip. The hot recruiting battle for both programs is in the Twin Cities, where they often go head-to-head for the best Minneapolis-St. Paul area players.
- The Corn Belt. Both schools are located in fertile agricultural areas so putting together a belt with crops on it can’t be too tough. Like a heavyweight boxing match, the reigning champ can come out on the field holding it high.
NDSU, on the other hand, could suffer from Rival Overload Syndrome if and when UND comes back into the picture now. Although not at the level of the Nickel – nor will it ever come close – the battle for the Dakota Marker still means a lot to the players.
Maybe I’ve watched too much boxing over the years, but just think of the battle for the Corn Belt. The reigning team can take the field to the song “Final Countdown” by the group Europe.
Makes your blood pressure go up, doesn’t it?
Kolpack is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Mooorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found