Thursday, August 24, 2006

Our Biggest Rivalry Is???

Since I joined the BarkBoard I have noticed that one of the most debated issues is who Fresno State's biggest rivalry is. Many people argue that their number one rival is Boise State. Others feel it is San Jose State because of the long history we have with the Spartans. Still others feel as if it is San Diego State for historical reasons as well. This rivalry issue is one I have always wanted to write about because I have always thought the Bulldogs greatest rivalry is different than most other Bulldog fans believe it to be. However, before I get to who I believe the Dogs biggest rival is let's look at the other options that fans generally mention.

1) San Jose State - I believe those who argue San Jose State to be our biggest rival have a valid point. We have played San Jose more times than just about anyone else in our history. We have had some truly outstanding games with San Jose State. However, the last 13 years San Jose has not beaten Fresno State one time. For me that takes the rivalry idea away from our games with San Jose State.

2) San Diego State - Fresno State used to play San Diego State yearly. At that time San Diego State was a great rival for Fresno, but what people need to remember is we don't play San Diego yearly anymore. They are not part of our conference. This could become a rivalry for us once again but only if we renew our contract with San Diego State and the games are exciting like they were in the days of the early WAC.

3) Boise State - Many Bulldog fans feel as if Boise State has become our new biggest rivalry. I want to agree with everyone about this but I just don't think there is a big enough history with this team. Not to mention we have only played one close game with Boise since the Dogs began playing them yearly in 2001.

4) Hawaii - In my opinion we do not have a better rivalry in our history than Hawaii. I have experienced four home games against Hawaii and I don't feel like the crowd gets up for any other game quite like they do for Hawaii. Two years ago Hawaii ran through our Dog House at the beginning of the game and the Bulldogs pummeled Hawaii 70-14. Aside that game the bulk of our series have been nailbiters that have left the crowd with heartache or pleasure. Hawaii upset the Dogs in 2001 on the last play of the game. The following year they came into Bulldogs stadium and shut us down in the fourth quarter winning 31-21. However, the Dogs last season finally knocked off Hawaii at the Island but as usual it was a close down to the wire contest. My point is these games are always great games, and our fans dislike one another more than any other team I can think of. The home team generally wins the games but they are not blowouts for the most part. To me Hawaii is exactly what a rival should be and in 2006 I expect another close contest with Hawaii.

Now let's take a look at these three teams with respect to record comparison against Fresno State over the years:

Team Wins Losses Ties
vs. Boise State 4 4 0
vs. San Jose State 35 32 3
vs. San Diego State 20 26 4
vs. Hawaii 20 17 1

With respect to the amount of times we have played an opponent, this should take Boise out of the Rivalry question right off the bat. However the other three teams all make sense as a rival to Fresno State. Remember though, I am asking who is our greatest rivalry. In the end the best rivalry for the Dogs is up to each fan themself. I would like to know what you as fans think our biggest rival of Fresno State is. It's fine if you don't agree, we don't as fans always share the same opinions. I know for me it's Hawaii but for others it may be different and I am just interested in everyone's opinion.


Morgan said...

I think Our Biggest Rivalry is none of the WAC schools at all i Would say in the last couple of years it has to be Organ hands down

Anonymous said...

One has to love the Oregon games. All exciting and down to the wire. Mostly satisfying considering we are usually big underdogs. And we play them even despite the supposed better talent and Autzen crowds.

I also really liked the Oregon State games. Two teams with big chips on their shoulders smacking one another around.

But overall I really hate Boise. The sorry ripoff logo, the silly blue turf and the sissy schedule. They get way more press than they deserve and they had our number for a while but could never out-tough the dogs.

Anonymous said...

I think Oregon is a good rivalry...or it will be after we thrash them in 2 weeks.

mdg said...

I vote Hawaii. The rivalry extends into other sports even to the women's side. They love to hate Fresno, and the feeling is mutual in the Valley.

nsc said...

You all make good points, but the Oregon games are with a team out of conference that we will play from time to time at best. Yes a rivalry at the moment but the greatest rivalry? You think Oregon fans hate us like Hawaii fans do? I mean when I think Hawaii it pisses me off to think about Timmy Chang and Rolovich.

MDG makes a good point. We battle with Hawaii for softball, baseball, football, and other championships. I can't think of a team we tend to boo and hate more than the Rainbows, and most of the games are phenominal. This years should be a great one as well.

Anonymous said...

It's gotta be Boise, the perverbial thorn in the bulldogs side.

el perro chato said...

I also vote for Hawaii. I was at the game on the island last year and the Fresno fans and Hawaii fans were jawing back and forth all game. A couple of fans almost got into fights and some Hawaii fans had to be removed by police. Hawaii fans love to hate Fresno. They are very proud of their Polynesian culture and think of us as a bunch of rednecks from the valley. My friends and I were going at it with theirs fans all game but at the end of the game we shook hands and said "we'll you next year".
This also extends into basketball when the Tarkanian players were getting in trouble. Remember the Samurai sword incident? The Hawaii fans were all over the basketball team for that.

Anonymous said...

A huge long time Fresno State fan who grew up in Bakersfield, this question of Rivalry has long interested me. Teams like Hawai'i, San Jose State, and San Diego State have been long time rivals, but what is disappointing is how some of our longest rivalries have been ended by schools closing their football programs. The best rivalry example is Pacific, with whom we have played 69 games between 1921 and 1995 when they cancelled their football program. This was in my opinion our greatest rivalry until it was shut down.

One of the other big problems we have in terms of rivalries is that there is no 'object' to fight for, the way so many other rivalries do in the Axe, the Little Brown Jug, the Worlds Largest Cocktail Party, etc. There is no moniker that we have for our rivalries, even ones like San Jose St. who we have played consistently since 1921.

The other major fear is that, especially with a team like San Jose St., there might be another in-state football rival close down or fall to I-AA the way Pacific (who we played 69 times), CSU-LB (34 times), and Cal Poly-SLO (40 times) have. Between 1990 and 2004, California lost ten college football programs, including schools with long traditions like CSU-LB, SF State, Santa Clara, and St. Mary’s.

Another observation is that during the late-90’s, the WAC was a combination of the best teams now in the C-USA, Mountain West, and the WAC, minus a few like Boise State who only recently became Div I-A. The breakup of the WAC into the WAC and Mountain West caused us to loose the credibility we once had, especially after the Big East teams split off a few years later. Had that old WAC stayed together with teams like BYU, Utah, and TCU still in the WAC, it could easily have contended to become a seventh BCS conference. Think about if the best teams in the old WAC plus Boise State are better than the current teams in the Big East. I think Fresno St., Boise St., TCU, Utah, and BYU are better than Louisville, West Virginia, Pitt, and Syracuse. And in terms of rivalries, the Fresno State- BYU and Fresno State- Utah rivalries were only just becoming big when the WAC split and the Mountain West was formed.

Anonymous said...

Yes I remember enjoying games with UOP, though I don’t know if it was really a ‘rivalry’ and if both teams really got up to play each other. One thing about a rivalry with the Tigers that was good was the symmetry between the regional private school against the regional public school, along the same lines as Cal-Stanford and UCLA-USC.

But for the last several years, Hawaii has been Fresno’s best rival, and we theirs. An interesting article by a Hawaiian says it all.
This guy has come up with all sorts of reasons for UH to hate FSU, and some of them work both ways. As far as rivalries go, this is certainly the most passionate for both parties.