North Dakota State is experiencing one of the best athletics years in FCS history
- by Zach Barnett 5 months ago
It's the year of the Bison, and we're just living in it.
North Dakota State is in the midst of one of the most successful athletic years for FCS programs in the 35 years since Division I split into two subdivisions.
First and foremost, the Bison stomped their way to a third straight FCS national championship in January with a 35-7 defeat of Towson. The third title had to be the sweetest for the Bison; it was the only one of the trifecta to come by way of an undefeated season, the only to feature a win over a bowl-bound FBS team (a 24-21 toppling of Kansas State to open the season) and the final championship under beloved head coach Craig Bohl.
Then, last night in Spokane, Wash.., came the cherry on top of this delicious sundae.
The 12th-seeded Bison upset fifth-seed Oklahoma, 80-75 in overtime, to give the school its first NCAA Tournament victory. The victory cemented North Dakota State as just the second FCS school to win a football national championship and an NCAA Tournament game in the same academic year since the Football Championship Subdivision (then known as Division I-AA) was founded in 1978. Only 2009-10 Villanova has matched the feat, and only three other schools have even managed to make the Big Dance after winning an FCS title, 1986-87 Georgia Southern, 2002-03 Montana and 2003-04 Western Kentucky.
If North Dakota State can keep the party going with a win over San Diego State on Saturday, they will become the only FCS school to claim a football national title and a Sweet 16 appearance in the same year. Those 2009-10 Wildcats, given a No. 2 seed by the NCAA selection committee, lost to St. Mary's in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
As if that's not enough, North Dakota State's men's wrestling squad finished first at the NCAA West Regional and is competing at the NCAA Championships right now, and the Bison's women's cross country team won the Summit League championship.
There are 122 schools that compete in FCS but, for this year, anyway, they have just one king, and he wears green and gold.