Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Bayou, ESPN and Death Valley: 'Dogs vs Tigers

Fresno State at LSU could become a reality in mid-October from Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA. LSU and ESPN are trying to work out the details. Two other possible teams fell through, Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee State. LSU needs ESPN to help kick in some money to pay the Bulldogs. LSU knows it must pay Fresno State more than the other two schools.

The Bulldogs needs to fill another out of conference game. They were looking at a possible home game against a Division I-AA or a road game at a BCS school on September 2. If Fresno State fills out the schedule with a game in October then the September 9 game at home Oregon will be the season opener. The last time Fresno State opened the season at home against a IA opponent was Jim Sweeney's last year as head coach, 1996, the opponent Oregon. Ironically, Oregon was the opponent when Fresno State dedicated Bulldog Stadium in 1981. 15 years later they came back for a game, and now 25 years later they return for anther huge season opener.

Fresno State has only played two other SEC schools, both on the road, at Auburn in 1996 and at Tennessee in 2003. LSU's Tiger Stadium is known as Death Valley, the Tigers are nearly unbeatable at home in night games. LSU is one of the few teams that wears white jerseys at home, thus Fresno State could wear their Bulldog Red.


bdogpridevalleywide said...

i would love to see this happen. it seems that there were more high rated recruits from the valley giving fresno state a serious look than previous years and a win at lsu would have alot of next years crop probably commiting to us.

mdg said...

Since ESPN is working the deal, more than likely it will be ESPN's prime time game if the Dogs have a decent record. If Fresno State falls on its face in its first 3 games against UO, at UW and CSU, then the game will proabably be on ESPN2. Either way it is a win, win situation.

Gofsudogs2006 said...

You really think it is a win-win situation? Hmm let me remember another game on the road against an SEC team - Auburn. I remember losing that one 62-0. I can't believe people think this is a good idea. We are not going to win, nor are we going to play close. Our qb is a rookie, he has no game experience. Both of our rb's were injured last year. We lost our best defensive lineman and don't know if our kicker is going to be healthy. How the hell do we have any chance against LSU (a tope five team if you ask me)? I am sorry but this game is going to be the season breaker for us, I know it.

mdg said...

Win-win situation in regards to playing a Sat prime time game on either ESPN or ESPN2.

About the game at Auburn in 1996. It was simple, Fresno State sucked that year. It was the worst FS team easily in the last 20+ years. There was some NFL talent on the team, but it never messed, and the team speed on defense was awful. I guess you forgot about Fresno State playing USC decent last year in the Coliseum? LSU will be a legit top 5 team, and their defense will be very tough, but no different than the Oklahoma defense of 2003. Hill have his team ready and the game will be a good barometer in the middle of the season.

No one knows about Wright and Smiths rehab. But Norton and Brandstater are both better thatn Pinegar physically. By mid-season they will have their kinks worked. LSU's offense is not as complex as USC's. The Fresno State-LSU game should be similar to the FS at Tenn game in 2003. But FS will have a better offense than 03.

USC was a juggernaunt, LSU will be no different. Fresno State has not been emabarrassed against a BCS opponent since at Oregon State in 02, 59-19. Tenn and Okla in 03 were ugly but can be forgiven, everyone got emabarrassed by Okla in 03 until they played KSU. The FS offense was abysmal under Grady in 03.

06 will be a season reloading. 18 starters return. No need to worry unless Wright and Smith don't play, but Miller could be a star as a true freshman. Riley's return should shore up the LBs, and there is a shitload of defensive speed that was recruited this year.

Gofsudogs2006 said...

I understand your point about USC being a powerhouse, but you have to remember one thing about that game: Although it was at the colliseum Fresno had at least 20,000 fans in that stadium. You know as well as I do that we were as loud, if not louder than we are at home during the USC game. USC really did not enjoy the homefield advantage that they do against other schools in that amazing football structure against FSU this past season. In LSU we will not have 20,000 fans nor will we have any edge over them. They are going to be fast, strong, and fierce as they usually are on defense. I don't think our qb will have time to throw and I don't think we will have a run game that will produce anything against an LSU type team, we just don't match up well with them.
I agree that in the year we played Auburn we had no business being there. I just feel like giving ourselves up to go out to LSU and not getitng anything in return is crap. Schedule someone else and wait for a game like that down the line, don't risk the entire season just because it seems like a great game to go play. Sometimes hindsight needs to be used and I dont think that Fresno State always makes the right choices with respect to who they choose to play.
With that being said we may have a crap load of speed coming back but until we stop the run i dont think it will matter. The dogs can be sliced apart quite easily because of the lack of a pass rush and now that we don't have McKintyre who do you suppose is going to get to the qb? Honestly I don't think anyone is going to be able to create the havoc that Mac did, and if I worried about anything that would be the one area that scares the crap out of about the 2006 dogs. You know what I mean?

mdg said...

McIntyre is a that special sort of player that is irreplacable, but his departure is somewhat a blessing in disguise. Mac was a better DT than DE. But by lining him up at DT it elimated the size of Shirley and Leonard to stuff the run. Clutts is emerging as decent DE. Brisco was brilliant along Mac in certain formations. Ricky Miller will be much improved and should have a good senior year. Jason Roberts is a 6-5 230 lb DE that is ready to go after sitting out last after transferring from WSU. Taylor Smith is the 37th best DE according to rivals and could play as true if needed, Mac did and he was a walk on.

The DL was good last year but will even better this year. The scary part of the defense is the LBs. Riley's injury killed the Dogs down the stretch. Sanchez did not have the speed or the technique to stop the run. Lane was also injured and Brown was just an inexperienced true freshman. Riley, Brown, and Lane were all HS running backs and have the speed to improve the LB corp. Robert Schenck is stud and if he signs he will back up Dwayne Andrews in the middle and good play a lot in certain formations. Marshall' loss hurts, but McCauley will cover the opposing team's best WR, and Jenkins and Mays should finally live up the blue chip hype out of HS.

LSU is a good team, but in order to be the best you have to beat the best. I would not agree with starting at LSU to start the season, that would be suicide with a rookie qb. But by mid-Oct this team will be at full strength. If the WAC and Karl Benson schedule NMSU for Sept 2 that would help FS immensly. Otherwise Oregon on Sept 9 will be a loss. If FS gets by UO and at UW and sits unbeaten at mid-season everyone will want to know how good this team really is.

On the flip side FS could enter LSU with 2 or 3 losses. FS would have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. FS played as bad as they could at Okla in 03, down 38-0 at the half. LSU of 06 will not be as good as that Oklahoma team(I know LSU beat OU that year).

No one gave Oregon State a shot back in 04 to beat LSU. OSU had to replace record breaking tailback Steven Jackson, but had LSU down and out only lose on some missed PAT's.

This year's seniors have played at Tennessee, at Oklahoma, at Oregon, at Washington, at Kansas State, and at USC. Death Valley is a venue all its own, but should not be anything different that Neyland or Memorial Stadium in Norman.

Plain and simple Pinegar never recovered from his pectoral injury obtained in 03, and sucked because of it. Norton is a natural leader, think Ryan Dinwiddie. Brandstater is Pinegar but with a stronger arm and little more field smarts.

My biggest concern is running back. Dorsey and Miller can carry the load, but having Wright and Smith will make this team very dangerous.

Fresno State is remembered in 05 for their game at USC not for losing 4 in a row and finishing 3rd in the WAC. The UO game was good, but who really gave it much thought outside of the West Coast. Many will pick FS to beat UO to start 06 because the Ducks don't play well on the road, and Fresno is not the easiest place to play. Based on the Bulldogs talent and schedule FS could be favored by some power ratings to run the table. UO, at UW and at Boise State are the only games that "tough". Nevada, Hawaii and at La Tech are other games that Hill tends to lose when he wins the big ones.

I was optomistic about 06, but I am really impressed with the incoming class it will fill a lot of needs. IMO, Hill will not sign the game with LSU unless the WAC gives the Dogs NMSU to start 06. I think that is why the game with LSU has not been signed. Come on Hill never turns down an opportunity to play a BCS team. NMSU is new to the WAC, so Benson should tell them how the water runs. FS is the bread and butter of this conference, so they get scheduling preference, tough shit!

bdogpridevalleywide said...

QB with no experience can somewhat be over come with accurate passing and/or an audible at the line of scrimmage (see Rothlisberger) unlike pinegar who knew the play but would still under/over throw our WR's. as for the RB situation; look at the mpc comp. bowl against VA. they were loaded with one of the most talented defenses i've seen in awhile and we still ran the ball succesfully. we consistently have a great o-line and just because we have a redshirt fresh. QB doesnt mean they stop blocking does it? lol, gofsudogs2006 u kinda sould like kirk herbstreight (however its spelled) when he said we didnt have a chance against usc (yes,yes, we wont have 20k fans but we didnt have that many any place else exept usc). going down to the bayou to play one of the best teams in America would be very Bulldog-like. regardless if it happens or not, we really need to keep our focus on the WAC.

gofsudogs2006 said...

Well I may sound like Herbstreet from ESPN with respect to saying we don't need a game like the one at LSU but you have to know I thought Fresno could beat USC this year. If you talk to MDG i had told him if we made a few plays here and there we would have a chance in that game. I usually judge the Dogs well only because I do pay a lot of attention to them.
I usually dont say Fresno has no chance, but I am just worried with the team makeup and when the game is coming along that it could be damaging to the players that is all. I agree that the focus should be on the WAC. If the dogs could pull some miracle and beat Boise there and win at La. Tech then this would be a great season to me. However, I am starting to see how everyone wants the LSU game and if they can make it in October then I to will be all for it, but it has to be in october. We cannot open the season against LSU with the inexperience we have, we just cannot afford to do that this season.

mdg said...

LSU is still trying to work out the details, but the game looks like it will be a go on October 21 if 2 things happen:

1. ESPN gets the TV rights from CBS and televises the game with FS getting some $$ from ESPN to make the deal worthwhile. Supposedly, LSU can/does not pay the amount of $$ FS wants.

2. The WAC has to schedule New Mexico State on Sept 2 for FS's season opener. Idahoa already is opening at Mich State, so NMSU is the only WAC pasty that can open in Fresno on Sept 2.

If both of these things don't happen, then Middle Tenn State will play at LSU in OCt, and Fresno State will probably host a iAA school on Sept 2 or play at Toledo on Sept 23.