Bison turn a couple heads: 2 writers vote for NDSU in final AP Top 25 pollFARGO — North Dakota State got some love in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll — in Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.
By: Jeff Kolpack and Kevin Schnepf, Forum Communications Co.
FARGO — North Dakota State got some love in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll — in Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.
Voters Mike Hlas, a sports columnist from the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette newspaper, and Ray Ratto, a sports writer in the San Francisco area since the 1970s, each put the Football Championship Subdivision Bison on their ballot. NDSU, 14-1, and Penn State each received two votes, one behind Rutgers and one ahead of Virginia.
Nine teams that didn’t make the top 25 received votes. Hlas and Ratto are two of 65 sports writers across the country who vote in the AP poll.
Ratto, who writes for Comcast Sports Net website in San Francisco, said Georgia Southern’s showing against eventual national champion Alabama this past season is a big reason he voted for NDSU. After Georgia Southern piled up more than 300 yards rushing in its loss to Alabama, the Bison shut down Georgia Southern in a 35-7 FCS semifinal win at the Fargodome.
“We’ve seen enough examples of good FCS teams beating FBS teams over the years,” Ratto said. “And even those who don’t, like Georgia Southern, can give a team like Alabama a run for its money – certainly as much as LSU did Monday.”
“Thus, why not go to the best FCS team in the country rather than try to parse out which four-loss ACC team to pick over which four-loss MAC team? Makes perfect sense to me, anyway.”
Ratto said he has voted for an FCS team once before, two years ago when FCS Appalachian State upset FBS Michigan.
Hlas said living an hour away from NDSU opponent and fellow Missouri Valley Football Conference team Northern Iowa gave him some perspective on the FCS.
“The way the Bison powered their way through the playoffs was impressive,” he said.
He cited two other examples: NDSU’s 37-24 win over Minnesota and the semifinal victory over Georgia Southern.
“NDSU smothered Georgia Southern, a team that ran the ball with great effectiveness against Alabama,” he said, referring to an Alabama team that finished first in the final poll. “And the Bison handled Minnesota a lot easier than USC did, and USC’s a pretty fair team.”
Kolpack and Schnepf are reporters for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is
owned by Forum Communications Co.