Tuesday night — or probably sometime during the day — the hashtag Gameday2YSU started popping up around the Twitterverse. Youngstown State University students — including football players — began tweeting at ESPN College Gameday, its hosts Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso and others. The goal is simple — to get ESPN’s College Gameday to come to Youngstown and Stambaugh Stadium for the game against North Dakota State University on Nov. 16.
Why would the premier college football pregame show come to The Ice Castle?
Because this is a big game. This is the biggest game YSU will play this season, with perhaps the exception of a playoff game that is visible on the horizon.
NDSU is currently ranked No. 1 in the Football Championship Subdivision and — barring a loss to an Illinois State University team that lost to YSU, 59-21, in October — will be in that same position a week from Saturday. NDSU beat Kansas State, 24-21, in Manhattan, Kan. to start the season. If you remove that game against Kansas State and a 24-23 squeaker against Northern Iowa, their average margin of victory is 33.16 points. That’s a lot. NDSU isn’t just winning. For the most part, they are dominating.
But this isn’t just about the NDSU Bison — or, as they like to pronounce it, “bye-zin.” This is about YSU football. This is about the Red and White waving over the field. This is about YSU looking at their first playoff spot since 2006. This is about Eric Wolford returning to his hometown to lead them to the Promised Land. This is about the best team Youngstown has seen in a good while.
Right now, YSU is ranked eighth in the FCS Coaches Poll. With a win over Northern Iowa and a loss or two by teams ahead of them, that could be transformed into a top five ranking. A top five matchup is a lucrative prospect that should turn even the most casual fan into a raving lunatic.
To top it all off, it’s YSU’s Hall of Fame induction. Jim Tressel, the former coach who led YSU to four national titles in the 90s, will be there. So will former football players Darnell Clark, Tom Harder and LeVar Greene.
That’s why College Gameday should come to Youngstown. A matchup between the defending national champions and a potentially top 5 team should be enough to get ESPN’s attention.
But we don’t care about NDSU’s defense of the title they earned a season ago, do we?
We care about making our own case for being national title contenders. We care about avenging last year’s “Failure in Fargo” and the heartbreak it brought to what was then the best shot YSU had at the playoffs in recent memory. We care about standing up to and beating the team that everyone has decided is the best in the land, from sea to shining sea.
This is your chance, YSU. Make your voices heard.
Tweet, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, email — whatever way you can tell ESPN that this game matters and is worthy of their coverage; Do it. #Gameday2YSU.
Do it now. Do it often. Grab ESPN by its metaphorical collar and tell it to its face that it should be at the Ice Castle on Nov. 16 to cover the YSU/NDSU game.
And if they don’t listen, so what?
This is our moment. Show up to Stambaugh Stadium anyway. Be loud. Be the loudest noise that North Dakota State has heard in their lives. Fill those 20,630 seats. And when those are filled, be outside the stadium making just as much noise as the people inside. Make this a hostile environment. Show, not just NDSU, but this team and this city that we are a force to be reckoned with. Make the Bison afraid of what this team can do.
This is our year. Go ‘Guins!