In 2001 we all remember the magic ride the Fresno State Bulldogs embarked on to begin the season. The Dogs opened up with three straight wins over BCS schools and were awarded the #8 ranking in the nation for doing so. David Carr had an amazing season as he threw for over 4000 yards and 45 td's leading the Bulldogs to an overall record of 11-3. Today it seems that regardless of how good or bad our teams are we continually compare them to that 2001 team. The other day I wrote a blog on Tom Brandstater and how he has matured over the season. I wrote that I feel his development is ahead of where David Carr was at the same point in his Junior season. I am quite sure many of you do not feel the same way as I do so I decided to use opposing team's record, common stats, and team schedules to try and further prove that Tom Brandstater is right where we need him to be at this point in his career. Brandstater had a very tough 2006 season but I cannot use that in comparison because David Carr was not our starter his sophomore season. While many awful things were said about Tom during our 4-8 season last year he was only a sophomore and there is no way to reference that for any type of comparison. Instead I will use Tom's Junior season and the records from the teams we play his senior year to compare the two QB's side by side. Now don't get me wrong, David Carr was an absolute godsend for this program as he helped put the Dogs into the national spotlight. All I am trying to say here is that Brandstater may be on the same maturation level as Carr was when he blossomed into one of the best QB's in college football. Let's begin the comparison by referencing Carr's Junior season and how he did during that season.
In 2000 Carr led the Bulldogs to a 7-5 record as they lost in the Silicon Valley Bowl to Air Force 37-34. In that game David Carr showed us glimpses of what he would become in 2001. Carr threw for 388 yards and five td's while bringing the Dogs back from a 34-7 halftime deficit. For the season Carr finished with the following stat line:
216 for 349 for 2,729 yards 62% completion rate 27 td's
What is far more interesting about the Bulldogs 2000 season is the record of the teams that Carr won and loss against. The teams Carr led the Bulldogs to victories over had a combined 26-56 record. The teams Carr and the Dogs lost to had a combined record of 41-19. In other words the teams the Dogs beat that season were teams they were supposed to beat. The Dogs did not lose to anyone they shouldn't have lost to with respect to team record and the Dogs did not beat anyone they shouldn't have beaten. Now let's take a look at Brandstater in 2007 and how he has fared against believe it or not very similar competition overall. Brandstater's line to date is as follows:
178 for 288 for 2,164 yards 62% completion rate 14 td's
Remember that Brandstater still has two games remaining. No Brandstater will not throw for 13 td's in the next two games but it is possible that he may throw for 500 yards and say five td's. If that does happen he will end up with 2650-2700 yards passing (right where Carr was) and around 18-20 td's. Now let's take a look at the win-loss records of the teams the Dogs have played in 2007. Against teams the Dogs have beaten the opponents record is: 23-47. The teams the Dogs have lost to have a combined 36-10 record. You can try and make a case that the teams we lost to in 2000 are superior to the teams we have lost to this season but a further look shows this to be untrue. In 2000 we lost to Ohio State which is comparable to this year's Oregon team (record wise). In 2000 we lost to UCLA which is comparable to this year's TAMU team (record wise also). However, in 2000 the only other team that was anywhere near as good as this year's Boise and Hawaii team's would have been TCU. Air Force was not a dominating force in 2000 nor was UTEP. If this is not enough in the comparison arena for those who read the blog let me take a look at Carr's 2001 season to further prove that Brandstater will have a chance to show he can be our next star QB.
In 2001 Carr had what many consider to be the best QB season in Bulldog history. We know his stat line was astonishing and there is no way Brandstater will ever match what Carr did in 2001. However lets take a look at the win-loss records of the opponents Carr faced in 2001. The teams Carr led the Bulldogs to victories over had a combined 57-71 record. The teams Carr and the Dogs suffered a loss to had a comnined 24-12 record. As of right now the team's Brandstater will take the field against in 2008 have a combined 68-75 record. In 2001 Carr led Fresno State to three straight victories over BCS teams. In 2008 the Bulldogs also open the season with three consecutive games against BCS teams. I realize that comparing stats of two players is quite hard to do. I know that Carr and Brandstater are playing in different eras of Fresno State football. While we ran the ball in 2001 we realized that our QB could win games for us and our offense allowed Carr to do just that. In 2008 I expect much of the same from our offense. I expect early on that J-Mac and Hill will realize that if we have to we can win games by throwing the ball we will. I expect the offense to put trust in Brandstater and ride his back to victories from time to time. As I said earlier Tom will not achieve the stats Carr did in 2001, that's just not possible in today's Bulldog offense. However, if Fresno State finishes 10-2 or 11-1 and Brandstater throws for say 30 td's with 7 int's or so and 3000 yards won't that be enough to say Brandstater was just as successful as Carr was as our starting QB? Remember you cannot compare their sophomore seasons, that is not fair to either QB due to starting time and the team surrounding each QB. If the Dogs can come through in 2008 and finish 10-2 TB will have a record of 18-6 (assuming we beat NMSU this Friday and not counting our bowl game this season). Carr had a 18-8 record as our starter in 2000-2001. To me that sounds eerily similar. If you do not see the connection that is fine. I realize many of you loved David Carr and cannot fathom Brandstater as the type of QB Carr was for this program. However, if you take the time to look at the numbers and compare the two you might find out they are much more similar than at first glance.