What to Expect Come September 1st
It has been nearly nine months since we last witnessed a Fresno State football game at Bulldog Stadium. We have had long enough to spout off about what happened in 2006. We have had plenty of time to vent our frustrations about losing to the likes of San Jose State (yes I still believe they are an average football team at best) and Utah State. We have had three quarters of a year to put down Tom Brandstater, Pat Hill, and anyone else associated with the Bulldogs football program that has not pulled his weight. However, we have also had the past nine months to see the changes that have been made to the football program. No longer is this a Pat Hill led team that is overconfident. No longer do we have a Bulldog team that headlines the WAC. Instead in 2007 there are two top 25 teams and for the first time in as long as I can remember neither one is Fresno State. In other words we finally have the chance to start over on September 1st. I for one cannot wait for the first game this season. In year's past I have always thoroughly enjoyed the first full day of college football. However this season is going to be something different. Fresno State does not allow you to begin tailgating until four hours before the football game begins but I am here to tell you that Saturday September 1st my football day is going to start well before three pm. If everything goes to plan this is exactly how September 1st is going to go for a fan such as me.
9am - On college football Saturday I usually roll out of bed ready for any game that is being shown on television. I do not care if I am watching Southwestern Alabama A&M vs. Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the point is college football is finally back. I will wake up and turn the TV on within ten seconds of my eyes opening. My g/f will let out a loud sigh because she realizes what that symbolizes for the next four months of my life. She will stare at me and say "So it begins". From there I will get up and go out to the living room to begin watching college football on the large flat screen HD TV that I paid far too much money for. But the greatest thing about September 1st is that the Bulldogs play their first game that night. I will get the Fresno Bee that day (the only day of the year I get it) and read the previews so I can get a feel for what others think about how the day will go against Sac State.
11am - By the time I am done reading my g/f will come out and ask me why I have not showered. If you are a college football fan you know the answer is because there is some irrelevant game that has my attention and I cannot shower until halftime or the game is over. From that point I will then get up and grab my DVDs of all past Bulldog games I have and begin watching them. I have to be able to see some great Bulldog moments so I can get ready for what I am about to see only eight hours later. The MPC Bowl will get me excited because I know the Bulldogs will be back to that level of play in the next few years.
1pm - By this time due to constant nagging I will have finally showered and my friends will have headed over to watch whatever game is on. We will all reminisce about the great moments in Bulldog past and begin to talk about the 2007 season. We will ask "Can Tommy do it this year for us? Will Devon Wylie be the impact player we hope him to be? Will our defense be the rock it once was for this team? Will Ryan Mathews get as much playing time as his skills warrant? Last but not least will Pat Hill regain control of this team the way he has in years past?" The 2007 season will begin in four hours so we will all finally head out to the Bark Board tailgate to meet up with Mario (MDG), Matt (Zagfan559) and everyone else who will be down there to celebrate the greatest day of the year.
3pm - The Bulldog tailgate will begin and each and everyone of us will now become giddy because there is nothing that makes us feel better in life than watching the Bulldogs play football. We will all begin to enter the white, blue, and red lots and notice how much red we see across the stadium. The Bulldog fans will have returned with hope and loyalty in their hearts as they want players like Brandstater to succeed. 2006 left us with a bad taste but it did not make all of asinine cynical fans. We still love the Bulldogs and we still hope that these players will perform as well as we know they can. That is what makes us great fans, we hold out hope for these guys regardless of what happens.
5pm - After drinking way too much when I first arrive I will finally decide its probably a good idea to stop acting like an idiot and to eat something so I don't miss half the game in the bathroom due to being sick. The game is now less than two hours away and I will think about how great of a Saturday this has been with all of my football friends. Football games should be events that all of us Bulldog fans will remember because we get to spend time with those that share the same hopes: That one day the Bulldogs will finish 12-0.
7pm - Finally the game will begin and the Bulldogs will have a chance to begin the season 1-0. We may be playing Sac State but a win is a win. We will sit in the stands and watch this team come together for the first time in over a season and a half. We will watch Devon Wylie and Clifton Smith scare the hell out of the Hornets kick return game. We will watch Tom Brandstater finally show some faith in himself and make the passes we all know he can. We will watch our defense rise to the occasion, and we will watch the Bulldogs walk away with a win. As I said it may be a win over Sac State but it will be a win that offers the Dogs promise. We will believe that there is that chance this team can pull together and upset A&M and Oregon the following two weeks. However, when all is said and done football Saturdays will have begun and regardless of what happens with the Dogs we will have eleven more games and three more months to watch our beloved Bulldogs play football. That is why September 1st is a great day and I hope all of you enjoy it just as much as I will.