So I-AA.org picks NDSU to win the Great West. The Sports Network puts NDSU in its top 25 poll. After an 8-3 Division I-AA debut last year, momentum is telling us the Bison are ready to equal that, or perhaps even better it.
Not so fast, Charlie.
Let me throw a little caution on all the optimism. The Bison are ripe for a sophomore slump based on the following two reasons: 1) last year’s seniors were a great class with great leadership and 2) season-ending injuries to Travis White and Tyler Roehl.
There is no coaching chemistry and last year’s seniors had it. Replacing guys like Essler, Hunt and Kittelson — guys who defined the word "leader" — is not done overnight. This year’s class is smaller and it already lost one of its most respected players on the team in White.
White’s injury, it says here, means one less victory for NDSU. He is that good and that important. Losing Roehl, it says here — although probably not measured in a victory or a loss — is significant in that he brings a fierce attitude to the field. Roehl was looking like an all-conference player last spring when he went down.
I was thinking 7-4 until last week. So, along the lines of my blog cohort Steve Hallstrom, the Bison will go 6-5.