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Bison notebook: New Valley schedule for '23 and '24 has newbie Murray coming to Fargo

NCAA Football: Murray State at Cincinnati
Murray State Racers linebacker Eric Samuta (34) reacts after a missed field goal attempt by the Cincinnati Bearcats in the first half at Nippert Stadium last fall.
Katie Stratman/USA TODAY Sports
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FARGO — North Dakota State fans won't have to wait long to see new Missouri Valley Football Conference member Murray State (Ky.). The Valley released schedules for 2023 and '24 and the Racers will be coming to Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome in '23.

With 12 league members beginning next year, the conference will still be maintaining eight league games, meaning NDSU won't see three Valley teams — Illinois State, Indiana State and Youngstown State — in that two-year period. In addition to Murray, NDSU is hosting South Dakota, Western Illinois and Southern Illinois in 2023.

The league considered a few scheduling options with the addition of Murray, including divisional play, four-team pods and a true rotation before opting for the current model. The aim is to take advantage of maximizing bus trips and protecting rivalries, the league said in a release.

Every MVFC school will play every other league member at least four times in a six-year cycle.

Bison No. 1 in coaches poll

NDSU got 24 out of 25 possible first place votes and will open the season as the No. 1-ranked team in the American Football Coaches Association top 25 poll. South Dakota State, which is third in the poll, got the other first place vote.

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The University of Montana is ranked second, Montana State fourth and Villanova fifth. The Valley put five teams in the poll with Missouri State No. 8, Southern Illinois No. 9 and Northern Iowa at No. 21.

Radio network reaches 25 stations

NDSU announced Monday its "Pioneer Seeds Radio Network" will consist of 25 radio stations throughout North Dakota and Minnesota with football games having extensive pregame and postgame shows.

The flagship is 1660-AM and 92.7-FM in Fargo with streaming options for those outside of a radio station signal available on gobison.com, NDSU Athletics' mobile app or The Varsity Network app.

Football game days start with a tailgate show beginning four hours before kickoff on 1660-AM. Coverage continues on 1660 and 107.9-FM three hours before kickoff. A one-hour show with new play-by-play voice Rob Hipp, analyst Phil Hansen and sideline reporter Cole Jirik will take it to kickoff.

Those three will be part of a 30-minute postgame show followed by a two-hour fan call-in show.

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Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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