Blog Entry

Fresno State's Big Chance

Posted on: August 16, 2008 8:40 pm

Many are predicting, myself included, that in 2008 Pat Hill will field the greatest team he has ever coached, or even that has ever represented Fresno State.  With the returning personnel, a schedule that includes three BCS OOC opponents each expected to finish in the top half of their conferences, and Wisconsin coming to Fresno - I can optimistically, yet honestly say there is a very good chance that Fresno State will be the third WAC team to crash the BCS bowl party in as many years.

I think the two most challenging hurdles that Fresno must clear to reach that goal will be:  1.  Limiting Wisconsin's rushing game; and 2. Overcoming the Boise State curse.  There will be other challenges, but if these two are overcome the others surely will have already proven to be non-factors.

Wisconsin's strength coming into this season will be their rushing game, while the weak spot in Fresno at the end of last season was - rushing defense.  Fresno's offense will provide more than enough opportunities to stack up points on Wisconsin - shoot Citadel was able to squeeze 31 points out of a not-so-stingy Wisconsin defense last year - but will the rush defense hold Wisconsin back enough to keep them from answering score with score?  I think we'll have to wait until halftime on game day to see.

Boise State, Boise State, Boise State.  If Fresno State proves that this season's OOC slate has been, in fact, winnable, and Boise State manages to return from Eugene with a W, we may get to kick back the day after Turkey Day and see quite a game on the blue field between an undefeated Boise State and an also undefeated - and highly ranked - Fresno State.  If that's the case, is there any doubt that the winner of this game will not only be walking away with the WAC conference championship, but yet another berth in a BCS bowl for the conference?  The big question for me in that scenario is:  Will Fresno State finally be able to get over the hurdle that has been Boise State and do so on the road?  If the Bulldogs can't do it this year, I don't know if I'll ever be able to be view Fresno's chances against the Broncos optimistically ever again.

The season still has much to reveal, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


Since: Dec 13, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2008 10:21 pm

Fresno State's Big Chance

Fresno & Boise have taken different routes in building their respective programs.  Sadovin & I could discuss which is better, but we'd probably disagree.

Fresno is the ultimate road warrior.  Pat Hill recruits tough, no nonsense kids.  We'll play anyone anywhere, say the Bulldogs.  He has had some great results, a big win over Rutgers, victories over UCLA and taking other PAC 10, Big 10, and Big 12 powers to the wire.  They've had impressive strings and national rankings.

But here is the problem.  NonBCS schools must fight low budgets, limited exposure, and "experts" who repeatedly tell us that we can't win.  The high school recruits hear this talk.  Fresno can't compete with USC for that 5 star kid, at least not time after time.  But the Bulldogs can get a lot of kids with potential.  Pat Hill can get the most out of them.  FSU has enough talent to take anyone to the wire.  But no mid major can have the depth in every position that an Oklahoma, Florida or Michigan enjoys.  So as the season wears on, the players get dinged up.  Nagging injuries mount when a player must play four quarters week after week.  Now at the end of the year, they must play Boise or Hawai'i or another WAC school who has been laying for them.  The results are self evident. 

Then Fresno's lack of depth and the emotional toll of getting up for 4 or 5 huge games gets it when Boise comes to town.  A 250 lb lineman can beat a 300 lb All-American on a given play, but not every play.  And week after week is going to wear the lighter player down.  A coach can say, "this is THE game" only so many times.

Boise chooses differently.  They schedule one or two powers each year, but work hard to get home & home commitments.  When we've tried to head to Georgia, for example, we got thumped.  You can only win so many sucker bets.  The elites insist that we play as visitors in a hostile stadium in unfamiliar surroundings.  They count on an intimidation factor and use tons of psychology to reenforce physical superiority.  It usually works.  Fortunately, a number of mid majors have discovered that "BCS" conference doesn't mean invincible.  Boise also uses a complex offense and substitutes liberally on every series.  Even on defense, 16 0r 17 players see regular action, only 5 or 6 players play every down.  A fresh 250 pounder beats a tired 300 pounder.

So Boise limits its risks and refuses sucker bets for the most part.  It builds on success and saves something for the end of the season.  When the big opportunity comes, Boise is usually ready.

Since: May 4, 2007
Posted on: August 22, 2008 9:14 pm

Fresno State's Big Chance

For sure, this year is a big chance for the Dawgs, a great team coming back with a great coach, a great OOC which if they can finish it --going BCS (if they win in Boise) for sure I think.

Someone else asked 'is the blue turf a curse or what?" It might still be if you look at it this way -- BSU will be either pi$$ed off or pumped up on the blue after the OSU game regardless of that game outcome and going for the WAC champ at the minimum.

Obviously I'm a BSU fan but one with a great respect for FSU and especially Pat Hill.  Rooting for the dawgs all the way......well except for that one last conference game.

Go Broncos!  Go Dawgs!



Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: August 19, 2008 3:06 pm

Fresno State's Big Chance

Hey ATLDawg, good to hear from you.  Craniallobe covered this, but I'll just add that I think the biggest thing Fresno's going to have to overcome in Boise is psychological.  Well, that and the fact Boise's loverboy/RB decided to come back for one more year, and unless Fresno's D-Line had an epiphany (sp?) regarding defending the rush, well, that's trouble.....

Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2008 10:30 pm

Fresno State's Big Chance

I think Fresno St. will have a great year and I think they will beat Wisconsin.  Vegas currently has Boise St at -9.5 over Fresno St.  Is Boise supposed to be that good or does FS not play very well there, historically?

Both actually.  Boise State is a team chemistry program and this game it taking place at the very end of the season.  Throw in the fact that Boise State has a 41 regular home game win streak (undefeated in the WAC at home) and you have a formula for another tough loss for the Bullpuppies.

I do agree that if Fresno State doesn't take advantage of this season, they may never beat Boise State at home in WAC play.  Unfortunately for the Bullpuppies, I don't see them winning this season either.  They are going to be good, just not good enough to beat Boise State at home that late in the season.

That being said, GO BULLDOGS! (until 11/28!!!)

Since: Aug 14, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2008 10:21 pm

Fresno State's Big Chance

Hopefully, Fresno won't be able our running game.


Sorry the reply post a few minutes ago was in response this cooment.

Since: Aug 14, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2008 10:14 pm

Fresno State's Big Chance

Fresno's D-front line last year was awsome and may even be better this year even with losing a great player. The line is bigger in the middle then ever and some of the players were first year starters or even fill in starters part way through the year due to injuries. Our weakness may be the miidle linebacker position in replacing Riley. The corner and safety positions are going to be the true power with basically all fast starters returning. This has the potional to be one of the best defences in Fresno in years. The Game should be great.

Since: Dec 11, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2008 7:38 pm

Fresno State's Big Chance

Good luck this year, Sad.  I think Fresno St. will have a great year and I think they will beat Wisconsin.  Vegas currently has Boise St at -9.5 over Fresno St.  Is Boise supposed to be that good or does FS not play very well there, historically?

Since: Oct 8, 2006
Posted on: August 17, 2008 1:23 pm

Fresno State's Big Chance

You are going to be really shocked by how many Badger fans are at that Fresno game.  I'll be in the house with 6 others.  Wisconsin had a hard time with UNLV last year but if the defense looks more like '06 (12.4 points per game allowed) than '07 it will be a long day for the Bulldogs.  If it is a repete of the '07  D, Fresno will win.  I expect a tight one myself.  Hill loves to disrespect the Badgers every time he votes in the polls (he usually has them ranked worse than all but 1 or 2 other coaches) and that will not be ignored.  The question is will they have the talent to prove him wrong?

Since: Aug 16, 2008
Posted on: August 16, 2008 9:08 pm

Fresno State's Big Chance

Hopefully, Fresno won't be able our running game.


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