In our weekly FCS playoff predictions, it's been an up-and-down season for North Dakota. UND fans wanted the Fighting Hawks in the playoff discussion right away after the season-opening win against a bad Mississippi Valley State team, which I now infamously tweeted some sarcasm back. After all, UND needed to prove much more than that to jump into Top 24 talk after a 3-8 injury-riddled 2017 season and with some new pieces in place.
I cleared the air on the Fighting Hawks Tailgate Show Podcast shortly after and said I actually think UND has an average chance to make the postseason, I just needed to see more.
After Week 1, it was an FBS loss and then a big win against then No. 5 Sam Houston State. That put the Hawks in the playoff picture. A Homecoming loss against Idaho State dropped them, and then a big road win at Northern Colorado put them on the bubble.
Well, there's no more lollygagging around for the Hawks. After a 41-14 dismantling of No. 22 Montana to improve to 4-2, UND doesn't have an average chance to make the playoffs, it has a very good chance.
So in that regard, I admit I was wrong on my UND outlook.
The resume is solid with a throw-it-in-the-garbage loss to a Top 10 FBS Washington team. The Idaho State loss turns out to be a "quality loss" against a much-improved team that entered this week 4-1. And now there are two ranked wins to catch the eye of the playoff committee.
I said on this week's Tailgate Show Podcast with Shannon Schweigert that these next three games will determine UND's season. Montana, then Sacramento State and Weber State are all in playoff contention. The remaining three games against Idaho, Portland State and Northern Arizona are a little less daunting.
A 1-0 start to that stretch of three games puts the Fighting Hawks in a great position, especially after the performance today. What we saw is a playoff team. No doubt about that.