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OUR OPINION: Open date for UND-NDSU football needs filling

"UND and NDSU could meet back on the football field in 2015," a Bismarck TV station reported in 2012.

The two rivals had the same open date on their calendars — Sept. 19, 2015. The two athletic directors were talking about contract terms.

And North Dakotans looked forward to the result. Because "most fans in the state can’t wait to get the rivalry renewed," the story reported.

Now, it’s two years later. And if you call up the 2015 schedules of UND and NDSU, you notice something right away:

For both schools, Sept. 19, 2015, remains open.

So, isn’t it time for the schools to shake hands and add each others’ names to the schedule at last?

Other alternatives for 9/19/15 must have been talked about over the past two years. Other would-be opponents may have been contacted, other scenarios may have been explored.

But none of those alternatives has come through. So, the two schools are left with what already was the best option: Playing each other, thereby renewing the famed rivalry that dates all the way back to 1894.

True, NDSU’s "threepeat" as Division I-FCS champion means a 2015 game might be a mismatch.

But UND already is competitive with NDSU in other sports, despite NDSU’s head start in moving to Division I. Eventually, that’ll happen in football, too; and when it does, all of North Dakota will enjoy the high-voltage result.

"In my professional career, I’ve been lucky enough to experience so many wonderful sporting events," wrote Dave St. Peter, a UND alum and the president of the Minnesota Twins, in a Herald column last year.

"Moreover, I’ve seen firsthand how those events have brought communities together — perhaps like nothing else can.

"Simply put, few of those events compare to the level of excitement and community impact that was generated each and every year" by the NDSU-UND football game.

Sept. 19, 2015, remains open. Here’s hoping UND and NDSU serve their own and North Dakota’s interests "like nothing else can" by agreeing to face each other on the gridiron that day.