Wednesday, October 11, 2006

BCS Smoke Screen: Would You Rather Have Skippy? I Prefer Jif

First and foremost Fresno State (10 wins) does not hold the top spot among non-BCS schools when it comes to beating BCS schools since 2000. That honor belongs to Utah (11 wins), after the Utes blew-out No. 24 Georgia Tech in the Emerald Bowl last season.

Second, the BCS started in 1998, Pat Hill's second season and Fresno State has just beaten the 10 teams from the BCS, all from 2000-2004. The Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime mantra is a smoke screen that give Fresno State unbelievable amount of national exposure. Hill knows what he is doing; he is the face of the program and the media eats that stuff up.

If you want to dig deeper and compare Hill's "impressive" record of BCS wins to other programs, take a look at East Carolina.

The Pirates have beaten 10 BCS teams (that's right the same amount) from 1998 to the present, including wins over No. 9 Miami, West Virginia, Syracuse, NC State and Texas Tech in a bowl game. What makes is somewhat puzzling, and in a weird way impressive, is the ECU has not had a winning season since 2000. The Pirates won eight of those games over the span of two seasons, 1999 and 2000. Was ECU known as the "giant killer" those years? No!

In fact ECU started the 1999 season beating four BCS teams in row, sound familiar? Granted one was at home against lowly Duke, and two were at neutral sites in North Carolina against West Virginia -- that finished 8-4 the year before -- and the other against the No. 9 Miami team. The fourth game was a win at South Carolina, who was in the midst of 21 game losing streak. But ECU started their four game run with the win over West Virginia and ended it with the emotional win over Miami in Raleigh, a game that was moved because of Hurricane Floyd.

ECU moved into the rankings for the first time that season, after beating the 'Canes, at No. 20 in the Coaches Poll and No. 19 in the AP, a spot behind Miami in both polls. ECU beat Army the following week and moved up to No. 16 in the AP, but then lost to USM and dropped from the polls. And despite another bad loss to UAB, ECU did beat one more BCS team that season (NC State) finished 9-2 and ranked No. 18 in the Coaches Poll. But lost to 7-4 TCU in the Mobile Bowl, and finished the season unranked.

The list of schools might not look impressive, but the fact of the matter is non-BCS schools are not suppose to beat BCS schools. East Carolina does not pride itself on beating BCS schools, but after beating a couple of ACC doormats (Duke and Virginia) the Pirates have tied the Bulldogs, in what is considered an elite group by the media.

Pat Hill is a great at creating hype, but imagine if East Carolina actually recruited against Fresno State. A recruit could say I want to play at Fresno State because Coach Hill plays the best and is known as a "giant killer". Well, Lou's kid Skippy could respond with, ECU has the same amount of wins over BCS schools as Fresno State, 10, and ECU has beaten two in the last two years. And Fresno State has not beaten a BCS school since 2004. And as far as playing the best, ECU plays three BCS teams in 2006, two at home including one against top five West Virginia.

We all know, ECU has been bad the last few years, 2002-2005 to be exact, but that is because ECU got a little frustrated with Head Coach Steve Logan after 11 years. He led ECU to six winning seasons and five bowl games. But his 2001 team was a preseason top 25 team that was hyped as being the best ECU team ever (keep in mind ECU finished 1991 11-1 and ranked No. 9).

Well, ECU limped to a 2-3 start, rebounded but lost its last three (sound familiar), including a 64-61 2OT loss to Marshall in the GMAC Bowl, where ECU had a 38-8 lead at the half. ECU finished 6-6 and Logan was clinging to his job. His team 2002 team did beat No. 22 TCU but it was one of just four wins on the season. Logan was fired a day after the season ended. Was it a good move? Well, ECU went 3-20 the next two years under John Thompson, who was fired after those two years. ECU won five games in Holtz's first year(2005) and looks to be climbing back into the ring of respectability.

Now, for everyone who wants to fire Hill, keep in mind the grass isn't always greener(ask ECU). And Hill knows that the grass isn't always greener for coaches either(ask Dan Hawkins).

We as fans could see a lot of changes the remainder of the season, and very well, a new Bulldog mantra for the future years. Just be patient, but if Hill doesn't change anything this season, you can count on the program being in the dumps (ask the Fresno Bee).


evolution2.0 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
evolution2.0 said...

NCS's here is a thought for your next post, let's see what the fans think of the five points suggest in the Fresno Bee:
"Hill is too good a coach to watch passively as his program is whipsawed by events. Here are five steps he might consider to regain the initiative:

1. Kill the "anyone, anywhere anytime" slogan: It served its purpose, which was to give fans an easy way to separate the Hill and Jim Sweeney eras.

It didn't matter that Sweeney played his share of high-powered programs, and beat many of them.

Nor did that the slogan really make much sense. After all, the Bulldogs aren't going to play the Chicago Bears at midnight on the Fourth of July at Radio City Music Hall.

What mattered was Hill putting the Sweeney legend to rest by stamping the program as his own. The program's health depended on this, and a catchy marketing theme helped do the trick.

But Hill's program has matured past being plucky.

He must come up with a new theme, one that identifies what Bulldogs football is and the direction it's heading in the next decade, then sell it to the public and his players.

Refresh the vision.

2. Take a breather from the LSUs: Not from quality nonconference opponents, or Bowl Championship Series opponents. Thanks in large part to Hill, Fresno State is long past the time when it can settle for a mediocre nonconference schedule.

But there's only one reason to schedule powerful BCS schools from east of the Rocky Mountains, and that's the conviction that the Bulldogs can beat them on a regular basis, capture the national media spotlight and vault into the BCS bowl picture.

Fresno State fans have bought into that conviction, too. The result: expectations simply too grand for the results produced so far on the field.

Kansas State and Colorado and Tulsa? Fine.

Ohio State and Oklahoma and Louisiana State? Later.

The notion that a man's reach should exceed his grasp is OK for a philosophy class. It's dispiriting to a struggling football program and its supporters.

3. Shake up the troops: Hill understandably wants to give first-year starter Tom Brandstater a good shot at quarterback. He's a redshirt sophomore with a decent upside. Confidence in young players is hard to build and easy to shatter.

And Hill must give first-year offensive coordinator Steve Hagen a fair shot.

But Brandstater's passing performance for much of the Utah State game is revealing. Take away the 60-yard touchdown pass to Chastin West, and Brandstater passed for 95 yards on

26 attempts — about 3.7 yards per attempt. The numbers were only modestly better in the first four games.

As they say on Wall Street, the trend is your friend. It's time for a new signal-caller — whether in the coaches' box, on the sideline or in the huddle.

Send a message that'll reverberate through the program long after Brandstater has graduated: Loyalty has its limits.

4. Have some fun: Fresno Mayor Alan Autry is a great story-teller and one of his favorites is about the time he was a quarterback at University of the Pacific and the Tigers traveled to Baton Rouge to play Louisiana State.

Even in 1972, LSU's home field was a "Death Valley" for visiting teams.

As Autry tells it, he and his teammates couldn't help sneaking a peek or two at their opponents as both teams warmed up. They weren't comforting peeks.

UOP went into the visitor's locker room shortly before kickoff for a last word of wisdom. UOP coach Chester Caddas, his voice solemn, told his players: "Those LSU boys, they may be big …"

Caddas paused. The inspirational climax was coming.

"… but they're faster than hell, too."

Autry roars in laughter at the memory. Of course, it helped that UOP played a tough game, losing 31-13.

Hill promised to bring such fun and surprise to Bulldogs football, but they seem to have disappeared in recent months.

Retrieve the joy.

5. No more hugging after losses: Sweeney once threatened to fight an opposing coach … after the Bulldogs won by

26 points. He steamed and snorted and shouted and stomped through good times and bad. Only age and personal tragedy banked his fire.

After the Utah State loss, Hill was seen receiving a consoling hug from a supporter.

Perhaps the current Bulldogs program is a reflection of a head coach with too much Oprah in him.

Hill is a former rugby player. He needs to recall every rugger's mantra: We eat our dead."
Do we think that will work? Anybody disagree? What else can be done?

More of a big picture discussion, not another "name all the bad points about this year's team and by the way, PLAY SEAN NORTON ALREADY" discussion.

I am interested in how the program can evolve to find the next level of success. The team has already made one evolution from "Who's Fresno" to as Oregon's Mike B. put it: "If we can play with Fresno, I know we have a tough team." (said before the 2005 game)

What is the next step?


formerdog said...

GOD BLESS George Hostetter from The Fresno Bee!!!
George, your article "Bulldogs in need of some refreshing" is spot on. I only pray Pat Hill reads it and takes it to heart.

George, I would perhaps give you a vote to be the next Bulldog coach if Pat Hill DOESN'T change his ways.

Again I say, I only pray that Boise St. runs the table and continues to climb in the polls, goes undefeated and gets the 5th BCS game this year (even with only one semi-quality BCS victory (Oregon St.)

If and when this happens, then will all you Pat Hill lovers finally say "Pat, it's time to dial it down and play a schedule like Boise St. does. Their philosophy ALWAYS works. The just WIN baby.

mdg said...

The thing with BSU is "who have they played"...BSU schedules the way it does because their fickle fan base could not take handle multiple 4 loss seasons.

BSU is a fake, they can not handle playing great teams, UGA proved that last season. And don't bring up BC last season or Louisville in 2004 either.

BC built a 21-0 lead and stop playing. BSU rallied and almost won, but it was evident BC just was going through the motions in the second half.

Against Louisville in the 2004 Liberty Bowl, the Cardinals turned the ball over five times and still held BSU to under 300 yards of offense, while totaling over 500 themselves. Most teams that turn the ball over 5 times against good teams lose, Louisville won. And if not for the turnovers the Cards would have won by 3 tds.

Hype BSU all you want, I don't buy their bullshit. They have yet to pay their dues! North Texas won four straight Sun Belt titles, and if the Mean Green could have afforded to, I am sure they could have scheduled a plate full of IAA teams to fatten up on at home before the Sun Belt games, to inflate their records to make them more impressive than they really are. That is exactly what BSU does.

Their best team was the 2003 team led by Ryan Dinwiddie. He passed for over 4,000 yards and led BSU to 13-1 record. Thier one loss was to Oregon State 26-24, a team Fresno State beat 16-14 just a few weeks earlier.

If BSU was so great they should have torched the middle of road Pac-10 school, instead of crying over a close loss.

Sweeney used to beat the shit out weak teams in the 80s. It got the Bulldogs a lot of wins and PCAA/Big West titles, but there was little respect until the win over USC in 1992.

BSU may very well go unbeaten in 2006, and find itself more than likely in the Fiesta Bowl vs. Texas/Big XII Champ. BSU will get slaughtered. BSU has a scheme that works on lesser competition but up against teams with size and speed, the Broncos can not play toe to toe.

FS does have mental breakdowns and this year has even bigger problems. But at least Hill develops his teams to play with anyone, evident last year vs. USC.

Give BSU, FS's schedule the last five years, and I guarantee you BSU does not have multiple top 15 finishes. Their great 2003 team lost Oregon State, how do you thinkg they would have stood against Tennessee and Oklahoma on the road? I count three losses right there....

bulldog1 said...

We got it already. Only the following will suffice...

Fire Hill
Put in a new offensive scheme
Norton starts
Change out Jenkins
Get all new players
Add to the stadium

But I have another one. This losing streak started about the time those little academic patches appeared on the uniforms. Get rid of those too. No need for any academic stuff to distract players from why they are really there.

Oh, and I love the comments about not spending another dime at Bulldog Stadium until we win. Glad we can count on the fan base. Neylan Stadium must have been odd so empty when Tennessee barely won three games in '04.

Recruiting collapse? Huh? Are you kidding? Sure the record does not help matters, but collapse. I guess you have not been following how we recruit the last ten years. Why kids play here.

Oh yeah, and drop all our dreams for a national championship in favor of a WAC title. Great, just what I wanted. When we fall short of the dream just opt out for a lesser one. It makes us feel better. Sorry, can't do it. Got the bug now.

And while we are at it, the big boys are just too tough for us. We don't win them all. We need some patsies on the schedule we can pound on. Where did all the CSU Fullertons go? UC Davis just jumped to 1AA, maybe they want a game. "by the way Ms. Jones, your boy will get to travel to places like Flagstaff, AZ and Moscow, ID."

Oh and for Boise. F Boise. I don't admire Boise. I want them dead. It disgusts me how they dodge every good team. If a BCS game for Boise helps the WAC then I'm all for it. Otherwise, I hope they get slaughtered again by Georgia or Louisville or the vaunted East Carolina Pirates.

By the way, I live in NC and have never seen a pirate cap in any store here. So much for the venerated ECU pirates and their nationally recognized coach. Now Applachian State - there is a coach worth looking at.

formerdog said...


I Do agree that they play a WEAK schedule compared to FSU, however they WON all the WAC teams that FSU lost to and BSU has the WAC Championship rings to boot the past five years. FSU has squat.

Why not bring up BC or Louisville? Were these inferior teams? NO. So why not give credit where credit is due.

OK, they why has Boise St. had our number 4 out of the past 5 years? Is FSU that weak of a team? Fact - Against BSU we ARE!

So are you telling me that if this 'fake' BSU team goes undefeated (including beating us) and goes on to play in the 5th BCS bowl game (regardless if they get smoked in the bowl game or not) - Then Boise St. did nothing for their program this year?

They would AGAIN win the WAC Championship and generate a share of over $10 Million for the WAC. But according to you this means nothing because they schedule 'soft' teams.

Don't forget, they would beat FSU and a PITIFUL Utah St. that FSU couldn't.

Don't player hate. I want FSU to win every game, not BSU - however, BSU is a BETTER TEAM THAN FSU!!!!

Get over it and ACCEPT it! These guys are better than us right now and WE ARE ONLY GETTING WORSE EACH WEEK! Open up your eyes!

FSU has so many problems they will be lucky if BSU ONLY schools them on national television this year by two touchdowns. I believe we are going to lose to BSU by more points than at LSU.

We are in dire need of CHANGE and there is NO savior in sight.

Every year I cannot wait for Bulldog football beacuse I bought into the Pat Hill B .S. that perhaps THIS is the year. Only to be crushed for the TENTH straight consecutive season.

Enough is enough. The truth doesn't lie - Pat Hill's plan hasn't and will NEVER work the way he wants.

If I can't depend on my DOGS to win then I will root for another WAC team to get to the golden prize.

Go BSU! Proove Pat Hill WRONG.

Change Pat Hill NOW or go away.

mdg said...

My eyes are open read the blog archives, especially Dec 2005 and Jan 2006.

BSU schedules softly and circles Fresno State and Utah on the calender..

I don't exactly agree with Hill's coaching or the fact of playing 3-4 BCS games a year because in that case FS circles LSU and Oregon on the calender and the WAC is forgotten per se...last season Hill finally made a "big deal" about the Boise State and the team just overpowered the hapless Broncos...

Hill is doing things the right way, I just think he is sometimes (often) unreasonable and stubborn for his own good. If he doesn't change his ways his dreams are going to fade away along with the fan base and program.

A WAC title is important for the players, it shouldn't be overlooked. But if you look at the big picture it doesn't really account for anything.

Like I said N. Texas won 4 straight Sun Belt titles, does anyone that reads this blog care? Does anyone know who won the Sun Belt last season? But I bet most of you remember when Sun Belt member Troy upset No. 16 Missouri on ESPN2 in 2004, and that their DE was drafted in the 1st round by the Cowboys the following year.

How do you think the WAC is viewed nationally? BSU is on their way to their 5th straight title and that keeps their fans happy and keeps them buying tickets.

But when the Broncos get embarrassed on national TV in a big game everyone remembers.

Fresno State has already done the Boise thing under Sweeney, from 1985-1993 it was the winningest program in the West, went to 6 bowls and was ranked in 7 different seasons.

Hill is trying to take it to the next level and was there in 2001 and it has tappered off. It is five years later and the program has done a complete 180.

He needs to right the fuckin ship or get the fuck out...he is not paid to continue to beat a dead horse. He has tried it his way and obviously the time has come for change.....

formerdog said...


You make some great points.

Bottom line - It seems that everyone agrees that Pat Hill IS the right man for the job ONLY if he changes and get this turned around...NOW.

nsc said...

MDG what's up man? Are you going to be up and going for the game Saturday? I never get a chance to go down to the stadium and tailgate first. Anyhow good points, and the facts are Hill needs to figure out how to get this team fired up again. he has regressed horribly this season with respect to his goals for the city. However, let me point something out as far as WAC games and bowls are concerend.

If Fresno State were to beat Hawaii they would go to 2-1 in conference. Now say we lose to BSU on the road (likely) but win our final four WAC games. Hawaii will have two WAC losses, one to Fresno, Nevada will have at least two (Fresno and Hawaii) meaning the Bulldogs at 6-2 in the WAC will be the second place team. I realize the conference does not do tiebreakers but remember Boise is in line to play in a BCS game. So this Hawaii game could be the most important game of the season. If the Dogs finish 6-6 but 6-2 in the WAC they will finish no worst than second in the conference giving them a direct line to play in the MPC bowl (If Boise makes a BCS game) I would guess. I know this is positive thinking, but it is definitely not impossible to make it still. Yes beating Utah State would have made it far easier, but nothing is impossible right now, that much is for sure. If we figure out some of the problems this team could be back in a bowl game again this season.

Anonymous said...

Comparing the 'Dogs to ECU is comical at best. Saying that ECU doesn't pride themselves on beating BCS schools is not entirely true. They claim to be the best team in the state of NC. A state that includes 4 BCS teams, and, as a matter of fact their claim is true many seasons.
Having lived in Eastern North Carolina, and being married to an ECU alumnus, I have a little bit of knowledge on the subject.
Your "article" is well written, but we all get your point. Bulldog1 hit it on the head with his 5 line "Cliff's Notes" version of your diatribe.
Can we all just start getting behind the 'Dogs again, instead of continually perpetuating the fact that Fresno is the most fickle city in the country, and has no identity?
As I make my trip down to Red Stick this weekend, I have no fairy-tale belief that FS will pull it out, but at the same time, that doesn't stop me from supporting the team I grew up rooting for and supporting. It saddens, no, sickens me to read all the negative commentary coming from the homefront. Instead of trying to figure out what needs to be done, and remaining supportive, one (very) bad season has turned the entire valley into MLB watchers.
Get back in the stands, in 3 weeks, and get back behind the 'Dogs. Do you all really think they're not fed up with the way things are going?