College Football Predictions: Breakdown of Fresno State's 2010 Schedule
Fresno State is just over two weeks away from their season, and home, opener on September 4th.
After a disappointing end to their season, an embarrassing bowl game loss to Wyoming, Fresno State wants to prove they are a different team than the one that ended the 2009 season. The Bulldogs and head coach Pat Hill look to get off to a good start and have a successful season in what will be their final year as a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
There's no doubt that the game against Boise State, in Boise, will be circled, but their focus needs to be on the game and task at hand.
If they can stop looking ahead and stop playing up or down to their respective competition, they will finish stronger than they did last year.
What follows is a game-by-game breakdown of Fresno State's 2010 schedule complete with the predicted outcome of each.
At the end of the season, the Bulldogs will look back at just how far they've come as well as look forward to the bright future ahead of them.
September 4 Vs. Cincinnati
This was a game Fresno State had. The win was within their grasp. But, just like they did against Wisconsin a few weeks earlier, they let the game and the win slip away.
This season could be a very different story, especially with the game being played at Fresno State's Bulldog Stadium in front of what should be a raucous Red Wave crowd.
Tony Pike, Cincinnati's quarterback last season, has moved on to the NFL, as has Fresno State's star running back Ryan Mathews.
Lessen the mistakes from last season, tighten up on defense, and this game could easily go the opposite direction.
Prediction: Fresno State 27 Cincinnati 24
September 18 at Utah State
The Bulldogs were able to just get past Utah State last season with a 31-27 victory last year at Bulldog Stadium behind 185 rushing yards from their star running back, Ryan Mathews.
This season, with a new running back in Robbie Rouse taking over for Mathews, they'll need a big effort from not just him but everybody on that field. The Bulldogs have had tough times against the Aggies in each of the last two seasons, winning both games by a total of six points.
Quarterback Ryan Colburn is one year smarter and that will have to show on the field.
Prediction: Fresno State 31 Utah State 21
September 25 at Ole Miss
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The Bulldogs will face arguably their toughest test thus far in the season as they'll travel to Hattisburg, Mississippi to take on the Rebels of Ole Miss.
The Rebels are coming off a 9-4 season, picking up wins against Arkansas, Tennessee, and LSU, not to mention a bowl game win over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.
This is Fresno State's first game against an SEC opponent in quite some time. They're not completely outmatched but this will be a tell tale sign at just how ready this team is for a big time challenge and not just the one called "Boise State."
Prediction: Ole Miss 34 Fresno State 21
October 2 Vs. Cal Poly
After a tough three game stretch that sees them take on two solid opponents in Cincinnati and Ole Miss, coming home with a 2-1 record is not something to scoff at, especially not against the opponest they have coming up.
Call it a "breather" game or call it whatever you want, Cal Poly isn't in Fresno State's league and won't hang around in this one for long.
Prediction: Fresno State 35 Cal Poly 17
October 9 Vs. Hawaii
If this game didn't need any more drama added to it, unfortunately it's got just that after this article from Ferd Lewis of the Star Advertiser calling Fresno State's departure from the WAC a "painful and egregious betrayal."
Lewis wasn't done lashing out at both Fresno State and Nevada in this article, calling it "a mutiny" and "weaseling out" of the pledge to keep the conference together.
The Bulldogs went to Hawaii and deposited a 42-17 beatdown last year and they should have the bulletin board material to do it again this year.
Prediction: Fresno State 38 Hawaii 10
October 16 Vs. New Mexico State
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These are the kind of games that Fresno State would usually suffer a letdown against. It's happened in the past, in fact, it may as well be part of their history as far as the football program is concerned.
Last season, there was no letdown against the Aggies, putting the game away early in what was a 34-3 trouncing of the Aggies at their home stadium.
Prediction: Fresno State 31 New Mexico State 14
October 23 at San Jose State
San Jose State has traditionally been Fresno State's whipping boy. While they have had their up and down years, at least in basketball, the Bulldogs have normally had the upper hand. They've won the last two contests by a combined 34 points.
While the Spartans may finally have the right guy at head coach, Fresno State is still more talented on both sides of the ball.
Prediction: Fresno State 27 San Jose State 7
November 6 at Louisiana Tech
The battle of the Bulldogs may not have the luster it once did, especially after the departure of head coach Derek Dooley who left to take over the head coaching gig at the University of Tennesee.
This is a game that, in the past two years, has gone back and forth until the later moments of the game. But, Fresno State has found a way to pull out wins in both of the games but only by a combined five points.
This game on the road could trip up Fresno State, especially if they come in full of themselves.
Prediction: Louisiana Tech 28 Fresno State 27
November 13 Vs. Nevada
The bottom half of Fresno State's schedule could make or break their bowl chances. At least for them to get into a better bowl game than they have over the past few seasons.
The battle between Fresno State and Nevada has always been a good one, especially with the emergence of Wolfpack quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has given the Bulldogs fits, not only with his arm but also with his legs.
After Ryan Mathews went down with a concussion in last year's game, the Wolfpack ran all over Fresno State to the tune of a 52-14 win in Reno. The year before, same story. A 41-28 Nevada win.
With both teams headed to the Mountain West after the 2010 season, Fresno State wants to be able to leave with a good taste in their mouth.
Prediction: Nevada 37 Fresno State 21
November 19 at Boise State
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This epic battle will take place between these two teams one last time on the smurf turf before both teams leave the WAC for the Mountain West.
The Bulldogs, not to mention just about every other team that's visited there, hasn't had much success playing Boise on their home turf. This is a team that a lot of people are talking about as national championship contenders.
The Bulldogs will come in trying to burst that bubble and the question that will come into the stadium with them is, are they talented enough to get it done.
Prediction: Boise State 41 Fresno State 35
November 27 Vs. Idaho
The Idaho Vandals got off to a start that no one saw coming, winning six of their first seven games. Unfortunately, they couldn't finish strong as they lost three of their final five games.
This season, they'll have a big time test as they go to Lincoln, Nebreska to face a Nebraska team that is starting to get themselves back in the limelight.
Not only that, but they'll face a gauntlet at the end of the season with four of their last five games against Nevada, Boise State, Utah State, and then Fresno State. That's a tough stretch for this young Vandals squad.
Prediction: Fresno State 31 Idaho 14
December 3 Vs. Illinois
In the season finale, the Bulldogs will welcome in the Illinois Fighting Illini. This is the team they faced, and beat, in last year's finale.
Both teams combined for 105 points but it was Fresno State that came out on top with a last second touchdown to take a 53-52 win.
This will be the culmination of a long season and a win would go a long way to get them into the bowl game against a solid opponent.
Prediction: Fresno State 41 Illinois 35