Kickoff: 1 p.m. (et)
Site: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium (62,000) -- Memphis, Tennessee
Projected Payout Per Team: $1,500,000
Announcers: Gary Bender and Bill Curry
Home Record: Fresno State 5-1; Tulsa 3-2
Away Record: Fresno State 3-3; Tulsa 4-2
Neutral Record: Fresno State 0-0; Tulsa 1-0
Las Vegas Line: Fresno State 7 (Total, 61 1/2)
All-Time Series: Fresno State (4-0)
Last Meeting: November 9, 2002 (Fresno State, 31-12 at Fresno State)
Series Streak: Fresno State has won all four meetings.
Bowl Records: Fresno State (11-8) Tulsa (4-8)
Versus Opposing Conference: Fresno State vs. Conference USA (24-4-1)
Versus Opposing Conference: Tulsa vs. WAC (26-31)
2005 National Rankings: Fresno State - 29th Tulsa - 34th
Coaches: Fresno State - Pat Hill (72-42 at Fresno State) (Career Record, Same as above)
Tulsa - Steve Kragthorpe (20-17 at Tulsa) (Career Record, Same as above)
The wait is finally over. The anticipation might not have been as high as last year's MPC Computers Bowl versus Virginia, but the Liberty Bowl is far more prestigious. Of all of this year's bowl game's, the Liberty is the only one played on an early Saturday afternoon broadcasted on ESPN HD. Even with a lackluster matchup against Conference USA Champion Tulsa, the Bulldogs have a lot to prove and gain today. We will see just how many people across the country really love to watch the Bulldogs despite their three game losing streak.
A big win will be a huge spring board to next season. After today the Bulldogs will not tackle another opponent until next September. A win will give the Fresno State seniors four bowl wins. A feat no other senior class in Fresno State history has ever accomplished. A side note to that is Paul Pinegar's chance to become the first quarterback in NCAA history to win four consecutive bowl games as a starter.
If that is not motivation enough, Fresno State has not lost four straight games since 1984. If Pat Hill does not have his team ready to play today, than there could be a serious problem in Bulldog Land.
Fresno State - Cornerback Marcus McCauley (illness) and defensive tackle Louis Leonard (illness) are probable for the Liberty Bowl against Tulsa. Safeties Awan Diles (knee) and Vincent Mays (toe), linebacker Ahijah Lane (ankle) and running back Dwayne Wright (knee) are questionable for the Liberty Bowl. Fullback Roshon Vercher (knee) is doubtful for the Liberty Bowl. Place kicker Clint Stitser (hip) is expected to miss the Liberty Bowl.
Tulsa- no injuries to report.
NCAA 06 PREDICTION
According to Sony Playstation's NCAA 2006 Fresno State is unliked by the CPU today. After taking an early 13-0 lead to start the second quarter, the Bulldogs quickley fall apart. Tulsa would close the gap at the half, 13-10, then the rout began.
The Golden Hurricane would score the first 21 points of the second half for a commanding 31-13 lead in the 4th. Fresno State mounted a comeback behind Paul Pinegar's 393 yards passing but fell short 45-26 in the end.
I hope this is not an indication of what may happen today. I doubt it, but the CPU only predicted one other loss for Fresno State this year, at USC.