Friday, May 25, 2007

2007: A Make or Break Season

by NSC

I was going to write about the financial situation the Bulldogs football team is currently experiencing but a thread on the BarkBoard changed my mind. Today I actually wonder what would happen to this football program if it were to experience another sub .500 season. I know I would continue to attend the Bulldog games as would many other fans but I am quite sure a decent amount of fans would quickly disappear. I cannot blame Bulldog fans for giving up hope because I know that many of you feel let down by the way the Bulldogs have played since the loss to USC. But what ramifications would another losing season have on this program? Would the Bulldogs begin a pattern of losing for years to come or would it just be another down year with much hope for 2008?

First and foremost 2007 will be one of the more important years with respect to Bulldog football. The Bulldogs football team directly affects the financial situation of the athletic department. If the Bulldogs can go out and perform at a high level and fill the stands then the athletic department will have much less to worry about when it comes to finances. However, if Fresno State once again limps their way to another 4-8 or 5-7 season we will see much of the same problems that we have during this past off-season. Questions once again will arise concerning the football program and the direction we are headed. Brandstater’s ability once again will be questioned. Truthfully if we experience another losing season everyone on this team will be questioned. No longer will this just be a QB problem but instead a team problem. Fans will wonder about the coaching and if those in charge of the football team are getting all they can out of their players. But the one question that will most certainly be asked is: Will Pat Hill be our coach in 2008?

In years past I could have never pictured this team without Pat Hill running it. Pat Hill to me took over this team and ran with it. He began to lead Fresno State to a place in the football world that we had not experienced for many years. However, two back to back sub .500 seasons would most certainly spell Pat Hill of his coaching duties. Although he has great ties to the city of Fresno Hill would not be viewed as a man who could lead this team to victory. Instead many of us would question Hill as the coach of this team. Many of us would worry that Hill has lost his bite as our coach and the players may not be buying into Hill’s message anymore. Unfortunately this has become a situation that is possible and we may have to deal with in the near future. I believe the Bulldogs will have a much better 2007 season than they did in 2006. But in the back of my mind I wonder what is going to happen if this team travels to Oregon and A&M and comes away with a loss in both games. Fresno State over the years has not responded well to losses as this can be seen with last year’s team. If the Dogs lose early it is possible that they will continue that trend throughout the season. Truthfully I do not feel this will happen in 2007 though.

2007 is shaping up to be one of the more important seasons in Bulldog football history. If the Dogs do not perform at a higher level than they did last season we may see a large amount of changes in the off-season. Pat Hill has a contract that runs either up to or through the 2010 season I believe. If Fresno State cannot afford to fire Hill they may very well step in and tell him that he has to change the direction this team is headed. Of course this blog will be all for naught if the Bulldogs can come out and win seven to eight games. Improving three to four wins from last season would be a huge boost for this team as they head into the 2008 season. What will happen in 2007? Will Fresno State rebound and show us that they are the team we remember that always put up a fight and gave every team their all on the schedule or will the Dogs revert back to 2006 where they made one mistake after another? I am willing to bet we are going to see much more of the first option than the second one. One losing season was enough for this football program and those who decide to skip out on the 2007 season will be missing the rebirth of the Bulldogs football program. Honestly, that is something I do not want to miss.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is 7 wins enough?! I understand you hope for more, but I'm getting that you believe 7 will take the heat off of Hill! That is hard for me to stomach, as it would indicate that last year wasn't so much a weird aligning of the planets, but where we legitimately belonged.

This would also mean that the Barkboarders who feel we have had success with our 8 win seasons are correct, which would make me wrong. And, for a guy who is wrong quite a bit, I HATE TO BE WRONG!!!

So let me say, anything less than 8 wins will be a disaster, and I believe we will have 9 or more. We should have won a lot more last year, given our schedule vs. our talent level, and this year should reflect a gain on where we could have been instead of where we ended up.

But yes, another sub-par year following our '05 ending and '06 season will damage our reputation, standing, and recruiting for years to come, IMHO. However, I think we will have a good season in '07, because nobody understands this dynamic better than Coach Hill. There is just too much at stake to have another off year.

Steve Burnes

mdg said...

after last season and with the 07 schedule, 7 wins is perfectly okay...

@Oregon, @Texas A&M, @Hawaii, Kansas State and Boise State are five games no one in America will fault the Bulldog to lose unless any of those teams proves to be worse than the Bulldogs...

and that does not included trickys games @Nevada and SJSU at home before BSU...talk about trap game!

a win over BSU or KSU at home will be gravy IMO...anything more is a cause for a celebration....

Anonymous said...

7 wins should never be OK and I think Pat would tell everyone the same. Even with last year the expectations of the program will remain the same, to win every game it plays. I just hope Pat has learned that he needs to take a different path to get there.

If we have a regular Pat Hill year, I believe 8 or 9 wins would be doable in our schedule(including a bowl win). So 7 or 8 regular season victories. Below expectations but more normal for a Pat Hill team.

nsc said...

Steve buddy remember MDG and I attended most of the Spring practices. While this team has some outstanding athletes on it I am not going to be suprised if we finish 7-5 because we have such a hard schedule. These guys still need to learn to play with one another on the field and that takes some time. Don't feel down if they go 7-5 that is not a bad record at all. They get a bowl game maybe win and finish 8-5 with plenty of momentum going into 08' and will have forgotten about the 06' debacle by that time.

Anonymous said...

For once, let's worry about winning an outright conference title NOT a bowl game or game featuring a BCS team.

James said...

I agree with Anonymous.

As an aside, I found this blog a month ago, and I'm SO glad the authors are publishing it. Thanks for the effort here.

James said...

The last anonymous, that is---lets concentrate on a conference title. Heck, maybe schedule sub-par teams and come out with an impeccible record like Boise ;)

nsc said...

James thanks for the comments on the blog. I wish more people knew about it but you can't force anyone to read right? We like to talk about bulldog football all year and I try to blog everyday during the work week. So check back often and see if I can get the job done.