Sports dynasties are always fascinating to watch, even if you are not necessarily a die-hard fan of the team.
In every sport at every level, there have been memorable dynasties. From the New York Yankees in Major League Baseball to the Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association, to the New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers in the National Football League, championship seasons covering an extended number of seasons demands respect.
Dynasties are not just limited to professional sports. Alabama has been a football dynasty during two occasions under Bear Bryant and now Nick Saban.
One current college football program, however, has been on a run as impressive as any. The North Dakota State Bison program has won seven of the last eight FCS (formerly I-AA) championships. NDSU will go for another national title on Jan. 11 when it plays James Madison, the only team to prevent it from already being on an eight-year title streak.
The FCS titles began in 2011 under coach Craig Bohl, who won three national title trophies. After Bohl was hired by Wyoming, defensive coordinator Chris Klieman was promoted to head coach. Klieman then won four national titles in five seasons leading the Bison.
The only time NDSU fell short of winning it all came in 2016 when the Bison fell to James Madison in the semifinals. The two programs are set to meet again this weekend in the championship game for the second season in a row.
Klieman, now the head coach at Kansas State, was succeeded by Matt Entz who has compiled a 15-0 record with one game left for the 2019 season.
When you consider the location of this college football sports dynasty you have to admire it even more. It’s one thing to build a successful football program at any level. Try doing it where young student-athletes have to live in a freezer for eight or nine months out of the year.
Often it’s difficult to continue a winning tradition when your team’s head coach keeps getting hired by larger schools. However, both times when Bohl and Klieman moved on the winning has continued to roll along.
It’s unlikely this type of run will ever be duplicated at the FCS level. It’s really only a question of how long this streak can continue. James Madison is a solid program and will certainly present a challenge to NDSU in the championship game just as it did for 2018.
The FCS national championship game will not get the attention nationally as the LSU-Clemson matchup, but make no mistake there will be plenty of quality athletes on the field for both games.
An eighth national title in nine seasons would certainly qualify as a unique sports dynasty. It would also set up an intriguing opening game for NDSU in 2020.
The Bison offered a challenge a few years ago to play any school in the Southeastern Conference but there have been no takers. In its last six games against higher-level opponents, NDSU has gone 6-0.
For the 2020 season opener, the Bison will once again play up, this time against Oregon. It will be another chance for the most successful FCS program of all time to show it can compete with the big boys of the college football gridiron.
POSSIBLE END OF AN ERA
The New England Patriots’ loss in the opening round of the playoffs has created a good deal of talk about the Tom Brady era coming to an end, at least with the only team he has ever played for at the professional level.
Brady had led the Patriots to six Super Bowl wins (nine overall appearances) and is considered by many, even those who hate New England, as the greatest to ever play the game.
Many legendary professional football players have played for other teams toward the end of their careers. Joe Namath and Joe Montana are two who immediately come to mind.
Brady probably has two more years before retirement although it would not be completely shocking if he decided to call it a career. He has nothing left to prove and a professional football season is such a grind that he may not think it is worth it to continue.
If nothing else, we have been able to witness the career of a player who has set a standard (similar to Michael Jordan in basketball) that will be all but impossible to top.