The non-conference part of the schedule is over and the UND football is set to embark on their first journey through a full conference schedule since the 2007 season when they were still in the NCC.
UND made it through the non-conference portion of the season with a 2-1 record, which was to be expected. The SD Mines game was a gimme and the Portland State game was supposed to be an even game and played out like it. UND was a heavy underdog out at San Diego State and ended up losing that game by 8 points. So 2-1 is about what most UND fans expected at this point. Now what?
There are eight conference games left and the program could essentially treat this like a new season. They control their own destiny, as a 6-2 record gets them in the playoffs but 5-3 would most likely leave them out due to the scheduling of SD Mines. The four home games are Cal-Poly, Montana, Northern Arizona, and Southern Utah. All have to be considered must-wins but are going to be extremely hard games. Cal-Poly just beat Wyoming and Montana is Montana. Oh, and Northern Arizona just beat UNLV. A plus for the fans is its probably the best home slate of games in the history of the UND program.
The biggest game of the season is coming up on Saturday out at Sacramento State. This is a must-win game for UND. Sac State is sitting at 2-1 on the year, with one of those wins being against Pac-12 member Colorado and the other being against Northern Colorado of the Big Sky (non-conference game). They also beat Pac-12 school Oregon State in Corvallis, OR in 2011. Those 2 wins show the type of talent that Sac St. has in their program. If UND wants to give itself a shot at the playoffs they need to beat Sacramento State. Without this win they would need an upset at Montana State or Eastern Washington – not easy. One other thing to consider: this will be back-to-back trips to California for UND. Both over three hour flights. Will it take a toll on them mentally or physically?
UND is 1-5 in in the state of California since 2008:
- 2008 – loss at UC-Davis 34-21
- 2009 – loss at UC-Davis 28-20
- 2010 – loss at Cal-Poly 22-21
- 2011 – loss at Fresno St. 27-22, win at UC-Davis 14-7
- 2012 – loss at San Diego St. 49-41
UND needs to start getting used to winning in California – they will be there a lot in the future. What better time to start than now.