Welcome to Point/Counterpoint! Our new FCS Debate Club will publish a new post every Friday for the remainder of the summer. Two of our three lead writers will take opposing viewpoints and argue about an issue of national significance in the realm of FCS Football. When it's all said and done, you can vote on who you think is right.
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FCS TEAM BY TEAM PREVIEW: The countdown
FCS PRESEASON TOP 25: The poll
FCS PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA: The teams
Question One: Will North Dakota State run the table as this season's undefeated No. 1 team?
Sam Herder: No, The Bison Won't:
The 2018 version of NDSU football is most certainly good enough to go 11-0 in the regular season en route to a No. 1 playoff seed and a national championship win. With seven home games (thanks to an average slate of home nonconference matchups) and just four Valley road contests, this is the best looking schedule NDSU has had in years. It’s also the most talented roster the Bison have had in years.
But this team is going to slip up one time, somewhere in the grind of conference play. It’s just going to happen. And it’s not going to derail the season by any means. It’s just going to be a hiccup in the season with a No. 1 or 2 seed still in reach.
For having such a great dynasty, a la winning six titles in the last seven seasons, the Bison have had some really bad regular season losses. The only undefeated season was in 2013, when NDSU was on cruise control. In 2011 and 2012, the lone losses were to teams who didn’t even make the playoffs. The 2015 team with Carson Wentz starting at quarterback lost to a South Dakota team that was still at the bottom of the MVFC.
The Valley is just too tough from top to bottom. There’s always that off-week where the Bison don’t look focused and get humbled. After that, it’s a wake-up call and they roll from there.
NDSU is going to lose once this season. And it’s going to be a loss where everyone goes, “wow, are the Bison really that good if they lost to this team?” And the answer is going to be yes, they’re still that good.
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Chase Kiddy: Yes, The Bison Will:
The staff at North Dakota State has been pretty clear — this could be one of the best teams Fargo has ever seen. The fact that this team's two-deep is stupid levels of good is only one reason why NDSU is going to go coast-to-coast and win its seventh national title in eight years.
Sure, NDSU has a knack for dropping a game here or there. But with the talent this team has, they'd have to literally fall asleep on the field in order to lose some of these games. North Dakota State plays seven home games, including four in a row to start the season. Its only truly challenging road game could be its first — a game in Cedar Falls against Northern Iowa. Sure, that's tough, but still extremely winnable when you're the best program of this century.
In the playoffs, we all seem to agree that only James Madison can offer a true challenge. But even JMU has way more question marks to answer — who's playing quarterback? Has the offensive line been put back together? — than NDSU. The Dukes are a worthy adversary who are capable of matching NDSU. But are you sure you want to bet on that particular outcome this season?
Tell me what the weakness is on this NDSU team. Tell me what you attack if you want to beat them. I'll wait.
Injuries can always happen, but this team is more equipped to deal with them than any other team in FCS Football (and probably a lot of FBS teams, too). Nothing in sports is ever a lock, but in 2018, if you're giving me NDSU or the field, I'm taking the Bison.
What do you think?
Will North Dakota State run the table as this season’s No. 1 undefeated team?
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