It has obviously been one of the most trying seasons possibly ever for Fresno State. They have dropped three games due to special teams play which in turn has thrown the season into a tailspin for the Dogs. Right now it is quite possible to say the Dogs could not fall much further as most publications now have us ranked in the bottom ten teams in the nation. I cannot remember a Fresno State team that has fallen this low during the course of a season. However, I do not blame it on lack of effort from the players. I believe that they are out there playing hard and right now plays are just not being made. I choose to side with most of the fans in Fresno when I say that the coaches are the ones who should be taking the hit for this embarrassing start to our year. It has become so bad with respect to the football program this season that the Fresno Bee has recently published three articles that question where Fresno State is headed from here. With such a tough stretch beginning tomorrow with Hawaii is this game a must win for Fresno State to salvage the season?
Let's look at the remaining schedule paired with what has happened in the WAC up to this date. As we sit right now the WAC standings go as follows:
Team W L
Boise State 2 0
Idaho 2 0
Hawaii 1 1
Fresno State 1 1
Utah State 1 1
San Jose State 0 0
NMSU 0 1
La. Tech 0 1
Nevada 0 2
Boise State looks as if they are going to run the table in the WAC and finish undefeated this season. So for the sake of argument let's just rule out the WAC title for the Dogs. However, Idaho will lose at least three to four conference games as will Utah State, La Tech, NMSU and San Jose State. That leaves Nevada (who probably will finish with three WAC losses at the most) ,Hawaii, and Fresno State. If Fresno State found a way to knock off Hawaii tomorrow they would stand at 2-1 with tiebreakers over both Hawaii and Nevada with respect to bowl placement. Since both teams would have at least two losses Fresno State would move ahead of them at the end of the season if all three finished 6-2 in the WAC. I realize this is me being very optimistic (yes it does happen) but I do feel like this is possible. If Boise were to finish the season undefeated they would be placed in a bowl better than the one reserved for the first place WAC team (possibly a BCS bowl). That would leave the second place WAC team to fill the bowl slot for Boise which in turn would mean Fresno would play in the MPC bowl (I believe that is the first place bowl for the WAC). of course this is saying that the Dogs right the ship this week and only lose to Boise State in their remaining conference games.
I feel like the team is going to fix many of their problems tomorrow as Hawaii's rivalry status is going to lead the Dogs to play their asses off out there on the field. I realize there will not be as many fans as the first three home games had, but I don't necessarily think the Dogs need a packed house to play well against Hawaii. To me this is the first of five must win games for the Dogs. They must beat Hawaii and every other WAC opponent aside Boise. I realize 6-6 is not the best of seasons but if this team were to get into a bowl game against an ACC team that could help with recruiting and such. This type of finish could also help the team with confidence going into what seems to be a very tough 2007 season. I realize we had all hoped for at least eight wins this season but that is looking unlikely right now. This Bulldog team has the players and the talent to finish this season strong. If Pat Hill makes some changes (and he sounds like he finally is going to do so) the Dogs may be able to rebound and give us one of the most memorable of seasons. The momentum we would gain from a win against Hawaii could carry over to the LSU game and maybe we can come out and surprise them in their house. LSU has not been that impressive on the field of late and could be ripe for an upset against a team that runs a very similar offense.
I know I predicted the Dogs to lose by four but I have funny feeling about tomorrow. If Norton or Brandstater can come out and set the tone this could be one of the better WAC games of the year. I hope everyone makes it out to the stadium tomorrow morning to tail gate and see the Dogs put it all on the line against Hawaii. I just feel like this is going to be one of those games fans shouldn't miss.