Welcome to week whatever-it-is of the football picks column.
There’s only one game that matters this week — Georgia Southern (10-3) at North Dakota State (12-1).
The game will be televised on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. Friday night. Hot diggity.
I pick GSU in this semifinal matchup largely because A) I’m biased, and B) The Eagles saw their 2011 season end at the Fargo Dome when the Bison won 35-7. I get the sense GSU would like nothing better than to avenge the loss.
The 2011 game was a semifinal matchup and NDSU went on to win its first FCS title. The Bison have about 300 Division II crowns. Or maybe it’s only eight. Either way, it’s an impressive history up there in the land where snow blowers outnumber people and you have to cut through the ice and fight mooses to catch fish.
But as Eagle fans never tire of pointing out, Georgia Southern has six I-AA championships. I-AA is what we used to call the FCS before the NCAA decided it was demeaning.
Onward: If you plan on going to watch the game with fellow Eagles fans, there are a number of “TV viewing parties” set up at area establishments, according to Georgia Southern’s alumni honchos.
To find out if there’s one you might want to check out, go to http://alumni.georgiasouthern.edu/watch/.
In the meantime, and thanks to the internet, it’s not hard to come by some interesting information about North Dakota. It may not be relevant or mean anything, but it’s interesting.
For example, the largest city is Fargo, population 105,549. “Fargo” is also the name of one of the greatest movies ever made.
Best lines from that movie:
Police officer: “What’d this guy look like anyway?”
“Oh, he was a little guy. Kinda funny lookin.’ “
“Uh-huh. Funny lookin’ in what way?”
“Oh, in just a general kind of way.”
By contrast, Statesboro was inspiration for “Statesboro Blues” by Blind Willie McTell.
Most folks have probably heard the Allman Brother’s cover of that song, and I do believe Richmond Hill resident Gregg Allman once sang “Statesboro Blues” in Statesboro. I base that on memory. It could be faulty.
More: If North Dakota is practically empty, Georgia is filling up.
The largest city in Georgia is Atlanta, with at least 40 million inhabitants, 39 million of whom moved to Georgia in the past decade from somewhere up north.
That’s not counting a large influx of kangaroos, either.
North Dakota only has one congressman. Georgia has far too many.
North Dakota’s state fish is the northern pike. Its state beverage is milk.
Georgia’s state fish is the largemouth bass. Georgia doesn’t have an official state beverage – but judging solely by trash I see on the side of the road at any given time, Bud Lite would seem to be a popular choice.
Among the famous North Dakotans you may have heard of are legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson, baseball icon Roger Maris, western writer Louis L’Amour and underrated bandleader Lawrence Welk.
Georgia’s list of famous sons and daughters is a mile long and includes everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Julia Roberts to Doc Holliday and Johnny Mercer.
Notable North Dakota State University alumni include Alf Clausen, who composes “The Simpsons” music, and David Bernauer, chairman of Walgreens. Those are the ones I have heard of.
Notable Georgia Southern alumni include James Kennedy, director of the John F. Kennedy Space Center, and award-winning country singer Luke Bryan. Of course, far as I’m concerned, they stopped making good country music about the same time George Jones quit driving his riding lawnmower down to the local liquor store.
Chic-Fil-A president Dan Cathy and Zaxby’s founders Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley are also GSU grads.
Mr. Football, Tony Barnhart, got his start at Georgia Southern. So did I, but I’m not famous.
Little known facts about North Dakota: It has the world’s largest Holstein cow statue, Salem Sue. It is 38 feet tall, 50 feet long and weighs around six tons.
North Dakota also produces approximately 50 percent of all sunflowers in the U.S. And it is a state. Not many people know that.
Little known facts about Georgia, from a story by Kat Oliver I found on the internet. It’s too good not to be true:
When Georgia was founded as a colony in 1733, lawyers, hard liquor and Catholics were banned.
It is supposedly illegal to eat chicken with a fork in Gainesville.
The largest kangaroo herd outside of Australia reportedly hops around in Dawsonville, also home to NASCAR legend Bill Elliott.
And Statesboro, which is home to the Eagles, also houses the U.S. National Tick Collection at Georgia Southern University. It is the biggest tick collection in the world.
Finally, it’s also important to note the Bison play in the Fargo Dome, which I’ve heard described as a glorified National Guard armory filled with people dressed up like Green Bay Packers fans. It’s also the noisiest place on the planet, which is why GSU sports information director Barrett Gilham included this note in a press release Tuesday:
“Also for those in the Statesboro market, if you can help get the word out to the public to expect loud simulated crowd noise during practice this week it would be appreciated.”
In other words, this is important.