Virg Foss commentary: UND-NDSU rivalry still strikes passion
I walked into the gas station the other day and the first question from the clerk wasn't "cash or credit card?" His question was what type of response I had received to a column of a week ago suggesting that the state of North Dakota might need t...
I walked into the gas station the other day and the first question from the clerk wasn't "cash or credit card?"
His question was what type of response I had received to a column of a week ago suggesting that the state of North Dakota might need to get involved to bring about a rekindling of the Sioux-Bison football series.
They haven't played each other since NDSU moved up to the Football Championship Subdivision and the Sioux remained at the NCAA Division II level. Now that UND has followed NDSU to that classification, you'd think the storied rivalry would be a natural to renew.
Maybe not, judging by some e-mails received from Bison fans.
Take Cris Carter, for example, whom I assume is not the ex-Viking receiver.
"You are an old man . . . retire," Carter wrote. "No one in Bison nation gives a flying &%*@ about your sorry-ass team up there."
Ah, nice to see that even though the Sioux and Bison don't play anymore, at least some Bison fans still have warm and fuzzy feelings for UND athletics.
"We don't need UND. We don't care about UND," Carter wrote. "You are irrelevant."
I needed to sanitize the language a bit in Carter's e-mail and correct some spelling errors. But his words are not unusual for a diehard fan who speaks from his heart or some other part of his anatomy behind and below the heart.
John Bjornson is a Bison fan who at least carries on an intelligent discussion via e-mails over the issue.
In one of his e-mails, he writes: "I don't put much stock in your column. The state's greatest sports rivalry has been eclipsed by the Border Marker (the trophy that goes to the winner of the NDSU-South Dakota State football game)."
Adds Bjornson: "The only fans that need it back (Sioux-Bison football game) are UND fans."
There are many fans who'll disagree with that viewpoint both in Fargo and Grand Forks, but it's easy for some to forget how great that rivalry was, and could be again.
Bjornson also wrote a piece on bisonsports.net under the title "Is Virg Foss Nutz?" Check it out, if interested.
n Nutz to think that two state schools with educated and wise leaders can and should put past differences aside?
n Nutz to think that petty jealousies and anger won't give way in time to reasoned thinking and a clear course of action?
n Nutz to think that there's fault to be found on both sides for the hiatus in the rivalry? UND didn't think it was wise to continue to play the Bison in football when NDSU moved up a classification and acquired nearly double the scholarships permitted on the Division II level. Would the Bison have done any differently if the situation had been reversed? That we can argue all day.
There might be a growing apathy in Fargo for renewing the Sioux-Bison rivalry as the Bison find success on their own. I don't doubt that.
But the bottom line is that the game is good for the state, good for the fans, good for the schools and good for the players.
It should be brought back, as soon as possible.
Virg Foss, who is retired from full-time sportswriting for the Herald, writes a weekly column from October through April. He can be reached at email@example.com or at (701) 772-9272.