Every sports team comes to a fork in the road where it reflects upon themselves and figures out a path for its season.
There are two directions it can travel. It can set its eyes on the playoffs and make a push for a championship or wait for until next year.
Many teams will not decide this until they are fully out of playoff contention, but for Sacramento State football, it will make its decision this weekend when they play the University of North Dakota.
Since head coach Marshall Sperbeck took over the program in 2007, the Hornets have played mediocre football at best. The program has had some big wins against Oregon State, Colorado, and rival UC Davis but has never made the FCS playoffs and has only finished one season with a winning record.
This season, Sperbeck might have a team not only with the talent on the field but the maturity as well.
Coming off their Pac-12 win against Colorado, the Hornets took a step in the right direction last Saturday when they defeated Northern Colorado, 28-17.
However, this win is only baby steps. Sac State quarterback Garrett Safron finished with his worst game of the season against a Bears team that finished with one win in the last two seasons combined.
Sac State will need to continue proving themselves if its wants to be a contender in the Big Sky Conference.
Defeating two Pac-12 schools in two years is a big accomplishment but this year’s win could also be taken as overhyped. The Buffaloes were dismantled on the road last week by Fresno State, 69-14 and will struggle to find wins all season having to play five teams in the top 25 during the next nine weeks.
Upsetting an FBS school is also becoming a common trait. Already this season four Big Sky teams have defeated FBS teams with the most recent coming last week when Cal Poly knocked off Wyoming in Laramie.
The Hornets’ first true test will come from North Dakota.
Last season North Dakota finished 8-3 and will feature quarterback Marcus Hendrickson who is well on his way to lead the Big Sky in touchdown passes. He has 12 so far this season.
Sac State’s football team has the chance to be good in 2012 but it needs to prove that this Saturday. The Hornets have a brand new offense, young players that are eager to win and a coach that has shown his team what it takes to be successful.
Which way will the Hornets go just four weeks into the season?
Kickoff is at 6:05 p.m. this Saturday at Hornet Stadium.
Ryan Kuhn can be reached at @rskuhn