Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Lost Rivalry

There was a time when San Jose State vs Fresno State sent tingles down my spine.

Unfortunately, San Jose State has not been able to keep up its end of the rivalry. The Spartans have lost 11 straight to the Bulldogs.

I have never experienced a Fresno State loss to San Jose State as an adult. The last time the Bulldogs lost to the Spartans, I was in junior high and I took it hard.

That year Fresno State entered the game 8-1-1 and needing a victory to clinch it third straight Big West title and Cal Bowl berth. I remember having a dream the night before. In my dream Sporting News preseason first team All-American running back Aaron Craver ran all over the Spartans. My dream soon became a nightmare as SJSU beat the living daylights out the Bulldogs, 42-7, and it was not even that close.

The following year was the last game when both schools were members of the Big West and a conference title was on the line. Trent Dilfer battled Jeff Garcia is a classic quarterback duel which Dilfer and the Bulldogs won, 31-28. That victory started the current 11 game win streak.

The schools met once as a non-conference game in 1994. That was after Fresno State left for the Western Athletic Conference in 1992 and before the annual showdown was reborn in 1996 when SJSU became a WAC member.

Only twice since 1996 have both teams entered the contest above .500, 2000 and 2002. In those years a Spartan win would have kept Fresno State home for the Holidays and given SJSU a trip their hometown bowl, which is now defunct.

The Spartans hope to rekindle the rivalry this weekend, while Fresno State looks to become bowl eligible for a 7th year in a row. My, how times have changed.

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