After speaking with ESPN college football analyst Cole Cubelic, I’m moving a North Dakota State Bison game at the Fargodome to the top of my bucket list.
I’ve been lucky to cross some major college football venues off of my bucket list so far in my life. Iron Bowl at both Auburn and Alabama. The Big House and Ohio Stadium. A Saturday night game in Baton Rouge. The Rose Bowl and Between the Hedges in Athens, among others.
According to ESPN college football analyst Cole Cubelic, there’s a certain spot in the upper Midwest that should get top priority for any college football fan: the Fargodome, home of the North Dakota State Bison.
“It’s very different than what today’s big boy college football is like, and that’s a good thing.”
The 19,000-seat dome has become a torturous place for opponents. The Bison rolled off five straight FCS National Championships from 2011-15 in a run that included 45 consecutive non-conference home wins. Cubelic, who was an offensive lineman at Auburn from 1996-01, compared the home-field advantage to some other well-known atmospheres after he covered the Bison’s semifinal loss to James Madison in December.
“Being down on the field, there wasn’t much difference than playing in Baton Rouge, or playing in Gainesville or Knoxville. You saw the communication issues that James Madison was having, and it was very real. It was 19,000 [screaming fans] right on top of you, and it’s very compact so [the noise] continues to build.”
For Cubelic, there was another factor that made his first trip to the city lying right across the border from Minnesota so special: the people.
“There’s the nicest people on the planet [in Fargo]. The coaches were great. The people in the town treated us great. The whole trip was really incredible. The whole thing, in a very positive and good way, was like going back in time. The town sort of revolved around that team. They have very positive fans, very intelligent fans. It’s a fun atmosphere, and they were into the game.”
I was already sold and looking up the 2017 Bison home schedule, and then Cubelic added this kicker:
“Any college football fan should do it, if you ever get a chance to. It’s a bucket list item. Go out, have dinner, have some drinks with friends, meet some of the people and go to a game to see what it’s like.”
Count me in. Now, where can I buy a green-and-gold NDSU shirt?