Bison get first look at CAAFARGO — North Dakota State has heard plenty about the Colonial Athletic Association since it became a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2008. The Bison will get their first up-close-and-personal look at the league today.
By: Jeff Kolpack, Forum Communications Co.
FARGO — North Dakota State has heard plenty about the Colonial Athletic Association since it became a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2008. The Bison will get their first up-close-and-personal look at the league today.
The CAA has dominated the Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs this decade, getting a league team in the championship game seven of the last eight years and crowning a national champion in four of the last nine years. A popular slogan has the league at its level compared to the Southeastern Conference.
The FCS playoff committee has agreed in recent years putting several league teams in the tournament every year. This year, five of the 20 teams are from the CAA.
“We’ve heard stuff on how they’re the SEC of the FCS,” said Bison offensive guard Austin Richard. “I think we’re looking forward to seeing the brand of football they play out there.”
A big part of it, said Bison head coach Craig Bohl, is the location of the CAA teams. There are plenty of metro cities on the East Cost.
“You see an abundance of speed and skill and a lot of that can be attributed to the population base,” Bohl said.
JMU coach worked for ex-Bison coach Wacker
James Madison head coach Mickey Matthews is in his 13th year as the Dukes head coach, and has one connection to North Dakota State: former Bison head coach Jim Wacker.
Matthews was the defensive backs coach at Texas Christian in 1987 when Wacker was the head coach.
“Coach Wacker used to talk about (NDSU) all the time, what a great football situation it was,” Matthews said. “It was just a little cold. And he was a northern guy so if he said it was cold, it must have been cold.”
NDSU trip the longest ever for JMU program
The Dukes went on the road for every game of the 2004 FCS playoffs culminating in a national title win over Montana in Chattanooga, Tenn. But the game today represents the longest trip in school history.
The 1,079 miles between Harrisonburg, Va., and Fargo is the first of more than 1,000 miles for the football team.
Kolpack is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.