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Sports >  EWU football

John Blanchette: Please dig into your pockets to relocate these Bison

FRISCO, Texas – Many fine causes are there for support on GoFundMe, and a few frivolous ones.

This one falls somewhere between LSU fans panhandling to pay the school’s $100,000 fine for field-storming after the Tigers beat Georgia and the earnest newlyweds who want $25,000 to live their dream life in a yurt in Hawaii.

So here it is:

Please consider funding a budget bump that will entice North Dakota State into battle with the Alabamas and Washington States of the college universe, and save the rest of the Football Championship Subdivision teams from their yearly wedgie.

A few million or 20 should do it. Give what you can. Dive deep into your sofa cushions for some loose change. Skip today’s mochachino.

Break up the Bison.

This is by no means an early concession speech on behalf of the Eastern Washington Eagles, who surely have no worse than a puncher’s chance against the Red River bullies in Saturday’s title game at Toyota Stadium. The Eags could catch lightning in a bottle – or Eric Barriere, same thing – or ride the law of averages. Or just line up and beat ’em. It’s been done, if not so far this year.

But what about next year? And the next?

History tells us that since EWU’s thrilling victory in the 2010 FCS title game, the Bison have steamrolled their way to Frisco and won it all six times – the lone miss coming in 2016 when, presumably, all their players were drafted temporarily into the state militia to turn back marauding Manitobans at the border.

Six titles in seven years. Even those of you who used your slide rules for sword fights in school can extrapolate the soul-sapping probabilities.

An Eastern victory on Saturday would strike a blow for underdogs everywhere, yes. But it won’t matter much if NDSU just shrugs and reserves the same block of rooms in Frisco for next January.

So it’s time to nudge the party-hearty Bison out the door, since they don’t seem to have any intention of calling it a night.


Because this numbing constancy is Bad For FCS Football.

There. Those capital letters ought to wake you up.

Perhaps you’ve heard this alarm sounded before, as when UConn was siphoning the casual fan’s interest out of women’s basketball with triple-digit winning streaks and tournament blowouts on a loop. The Huskies’ ruthless excellence was dazzling to behold – for a few minutes, until the eyes started to bleed and the remote was commandeered to search out Wile E. Coyote and a less one-sided matchup.

Naturally, those who felt that way were roundly scolded for looking for an excuse to dismiss or ignore the women’s game – and for a damnable double standard. Where were the complaints about male dynasties?

Actually, some of us complain all the time.

The golden age of baseball? Try the years after 1964 when the Yankees went into the toilet. The NFL will be infinitely more fun once Bill Belichick’s hoody swallows him whole. Men’s college basketball didn’t find its mass audience until the post-Wooden era. There are even pockets of blasphemers who don’t thrill to the Warriors turning the NBA into a 3-point H-O-R-S-E contest.

Rivalries are fun – the Magic-Bird Lakers and Celtics, Evert-Navratilova, Pearson and Petty.

Routine is not. Look what the Klitschkos did to boxing.

“When Tiger (Woods) was winning every major, nobody said he was bad for golf,” sniffed UConn coach Geno Auriemma when he was getting the bad-for-the-game broadsides. “He made everybody have to be a better golfer.”

Except that at his peak, Tiger won his 14 majors in 12 years. Somebody else won 34. There were already lots of good golfers.

Now, at the Big Boy football level, there’s lots of grousing about Alabama and Clemson being rematched yet again in Monday’s national championship game – never mind that the first two meetings were sensational – and how the field must grow to revive the playoff concept.

You know, the way a 20-team bracket has made for such a great mix in the FCS title game. After all, the Bison do have to have an opponent every year.

There is a notion that a dominant force makes everybody else have to elevate their play – and, yes, UConn’s women have met their match in the semis the last two years. So maybe there’s relief ahead for the FCS beleaguered. The Eags seem to have been able to keep breathing even with that elephant sitting on top of the pile.

Plus, NDSU is losing its coach (to Kansas State), its quarterback and a gazillion seniors.

Maybe the Bison will get a change of scenery next January.

Otherwise, we’ll have to GoFund one. Would they settle for a yurt in Hawaii?

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