Yes boys and girls, you read it right. The University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs have truly earned the right to be voted No. 1 in the AP poll. Now you may be asking yourself, “Is this guy crazy?” or you may be asking yourself “Irish, how can that be?” If you’ve asked yourself the first question, you may as well stop reading now, but if you asked yourself the second question, then free your mind and read on.
I’ve seen here lately that the University of Utah bandwagon is virtually overflowing with new riders, trying to make a case for why Utah should be voted number one in the AP poll. In response, I’ve built myself a UMD Bulldog bandwagon, and I’ve built it plenty big, so climb on board!
You’re probably already saying to yourself “I’m not very familiar with UMD’s body of work." So first, allow me to provide a little background to help you understand their achievements this season.
UMD plays in the always-formidable Northern Sun Conference. They are led by Head Coach Bob Nielson, who also serves as Athletic Director. He took over this year in his second stint with the Bulldogs, inheriting a 4-6 team from a year ago.
The mighty Bulldogs garnered several Northern Sun conference awards during the 2008 season, including Offensive Player of the Year (QB Ted Schlafke), Offensive Newcomer of the Year (WR D.J. Winfield) and Coach of the Year (Bob Nielson).
UMD’s 16 game winning streak is the longest active winning streak in collegiate football, a full two games longer than Utah.
The Bulldogs offense averaged 40.87 ppg, while the defense averaged giving up only 11.5 ppg. When you compare this to Utah’s numbers 36.92ppg/17.2ppg, Utah’s differential of 19.72 ppg pales in comparison to UMD’s 29.37 ppg differential.
According to NCAA statistics, UMD had the 10th toughest schedule while Utah’s schedule strength came in at 43rd. Still reading? Good.
Now there will be a few(or many) naysayers among you who will be thinking “But Irish, this is nonsense, UMD is a division II team, they don’t play the same quality of opponents that Utah plays.” To which I reply, “Yes, but they beat everyone that they had on the schedule. They took on all comers and came out on top.”
What more could they have done? I've heard this same argument used to support why Utah should be number one, so the same should hold true for UMD.
During the pre-game show of the Sugar Bowl, Fox’s Barry Switzer commented (erroneously, in my opinion) that Alabama wouldn’t even recruit the players from Utah’s team out of high school. Well I can say most assuredly that neither Alabama nor Utah would recruit any of UMD’s players out of high school.
If the argument is valid that a team who runs the gauntlet and finishes their season undefeated should be voted No. 1 because they were the only team to go undefeated, then I think that UMD is even more deserving of that honor than Utah.
No disrespect to the Utes and the fine season they had, but when you use the same measuring stick against Minnesota-Duluth’s accomplishments this year, I think you’ll see why the Bulldogs should be voted number one.
So everyone climb on board this big ol' UMD Bulldog bandwagon. Let’s toot some horns, blow some whistles, write congress, fly a banner around behind a plane, buy some infomercial time, petition the United Nations and force the AP writers to vote the UMD Bulldogs No. 1!!
Now for all of you who don't get the satire, I'm well aware that UMD can't be voted No. 1 in the AP poll, but unless you failed to free your mind after the first paragraph, I think you're picking up what I'm laying down.
...Toot toot heyyyyyy beep beep!
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are solely the views of the author and do not express the views of the University of Minnesota-Duluth. No animals were harmed in the forming of this opinion.<g>