Last summer, as the WCHA was breaking up and being put back together again for what will be a radically different college hockey landscape come the summer of 2013, several upset fans in Mankato told me they weren't interested in seeing Minnesota State exchange conference games with Minnesota and North Dakota for games against Lake Superior and Ferris State.
"Who is Ferris State?" one person demanded me to answer. (There may have been a couple of other words between the 'who' and the 'is,' but this is family blog!)
Well, today, Ferris State is the No. 1 team in the nation.
In the latest USCHO.com poll, Ferris jumped up five places. The Bulldogs are the first team to hit the 20-win mark, and they're on an unbeaten streak of 12 games (9-0-3). They're also in first place in the CCHA, with a five-point lead over NCHC-bound Western Michigan and six points ahead of Big Ten-bound Michigan.
Here are this week's rankings:
1. Ferris State (27 first-place votes)
2. Boston University (6)
3. Boston College (13)
4. Minnesota Duluth (1)
5. Michigan (1)
6. UMass-Lowell (1)
7. Minnesota (1)
13. Notre Dame
14. North Dakota
15. Colorado College
16. Michigan State
17. Ohio State
18. Western Michigan
20. Northern Michigan
Others receiving votes: Colgate, Lake Superior, Air Force, Quinnipiac, Bemidji State, Nebraska Omaha, St. Cloud State
Besides the rise of Ferris State, I have to go back to December and the series MSU played against Colorado College.
The Tigers were ranked seventh in the country at the time, to date the best team to play in the Verizon Wireless Center (No. 4 Minnesota Duluth is coming this weekend). They're often among the teams considered to be national powers and one of the ones leaving for the NCHC.
Yet for all of last summer's talk about wanting to see the best teams and the best league, only 2,400 and 2,600 people showed up to those games. Now, the students were out of town, but those were still dreadfully low totals. It sure went against a lot of the "Who is Ferris State?" talk from a few months earlier.