Tag:Fresno State
Posted on: January 19, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2011 12:48 pm
 

San Jose State is a target of the Mountain West

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Who knew that an entire conference could disappear right before our eyes?  That seems to be exactly what's happening to the WAC.  The conference has already lost Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii to the Mountain West -- which has been hemorrhaging teams of its own -- and now it seems like the conference could be about to lose another school.

According to a report in the San Jose Mercury News, talks have begun within the Mountain West about extending San Jose State an invitation.
San Jose State has emerged as a potential expansion target of the Mountain West Conference, according to sources familiar with discussions between SJSU officials and their counterparts in the MWC.
A longtime member of the Western Athletic Conference, San Jose State is one of several schools that could be invited to join the more prestigious MWC if the 10-team league expands by two in order to stage a football championship game.
The Mountain West’s board of directors is scheduled to meet Monday in Las Vegas. Expansion is on the agenda, but the league isn’t expected to issue invitations.
The other teams reportedly in consideration are another WAC school in Utah State, and three C-USA schools in UTEP, Houston and SMU.  Though, according to the source in the story, it's unlikely either Houston or SMU would leave C-USA.  Which makes San Jose State an attractive option to the Mountain West in the same way that the lone girl at the bar looks more attractive because she's the only girl there.

Though the Mountain West will tell you it's because of the television market that San Jose State brings for the Mountain West's television network, as well as the fact it'd be joining fellow California schools Fresno State and San Diego State in the conference.
Posted on: December 20, 2010 1:51 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2010 2:14 pm
 

Beef O'Brady's Bowl dance-off almost starts brawl

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

As the lead paragraph to this fascinating story out of St. Petersburg correctly observes:
Events leading to the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl are supposed to be fun-filled activities for the teams, their families and fans to participate in.
But with a beginning like that, you can also guess that some activity or other wound up not so fun-filled. And that's the case here, as a poolside dance competition included in the bowl's "Beachside Bash" resulted in some serious trash talk between players from participating teams Louisville and Southern Miss, rising tensions, and eventually the intervention of Florida state troopers to prevent a full-on brawl from breaking out in front of what must have been some seriously horrified Card/Eagle fans.

As for how things got that heated, the players explain:

"Someone said something disrespectful, did a little jawing after the dance contest… it's all good," said Louisville linebacker Dexter Heyman , who was front and center in the fracas. It's "just a little too close to game time, ya know?" .

Southern Miss players had a different perspective.

"They started talking trash about us being in Conference USA, [that] we can't dance… it was stupid. We'll do our talking on the field," uttered one Golden Eagle who refused to be identified. "A friendly dance competition and they take it all serious? It's ridiculous."

See? We told all you layabout whippersnappers out there that nothing good was going to come out of this "Dougie" funny business.

But here's the good news: after Saturday's lackluster slate of action -- in which UTEP, Fresno State, and Ohio didn't seem half as jacked-up for their actual bowl games as these teams seem to be for their just-for-fun dance competitions -- the acrimony in St. Pete promises to give us something worthwhile to watch Tuesday night, even if it's just some postgame "service" applied to the losers.

 



Posted on: December 18, 2010 9:09 pm
 

Bowl Grades: Humanitarian Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Final Score: Northern Illinois 40  Fresno State 17

Northern Illinois


Offense - The Huskies set the tone on offense early, as they weren't in Boise just to have a good time, but win a football game.  The Huskies drove into Fresno territory on their first drive, and went for it on fourth down.  They didn't convert, but the message was sent.  After that failure, just about everything clicked.  I thought NIU would attack Fresno on the ground more, but Chandler Harnish had a nice day through the air as well.  Harnish finished the day with 378 total yards, 301 of which came through the air, and had 3 total touchdowns.  Chad Spann rushed for 91 yards and two scores to add to his school record of 22 rushing touchdowns this season.  All in all, Northern finished with 40 points and 505 yards.  Grade: A

Defense - While the offense provided more than enough points, the defense didn't let up much either.  The Huskies held Fresno State to 350 total yards and picked up six sacks.  The Huskies gave up a touchdown on Fresno's first drive of the game, and another late in the fourth quarter when the game was well in hand.  Grade: A

Coaching - Tom Matucewicz was filling in for Jerry Kill in this game, and it was the first time he served as a head coach on any level.  He did an excellent job.  Not only was his team prepared for this game, but they had a solid game plan and executed it. On offense they attacked Fresno's weaknesses and even went after the Bulldogs strengths succesfully.  Grade: A

Fresno State


Offense - Maybe it's the blue turf, but Fresno State's offense just doesn't seem to show up inside the city limits of Boise, Idaho.  After being shutout by Boise State earlier this season, the Bulldogs only mustered 17 points against NIU.  Ryan Colburn had a decent game, throwing for 288 yards and two touchdowns, but a lot of those yards came when the game was out of hand.  Not having Robbie Rouse at 100 percent -- Rouse played the game with his left hand in a cast -- definitely played a role in the struggles.  Grade: C-

Defense - You know who else didn't show up?  The Fresno defense.  The Bulldogs didn't look interested in trying to stop anybody from the get go, and because of that, they didn't.  NIU averaged 9.0 yards per play on Saturday night.  That's nearly a first down on every snap.  Grade: F

Coaching - It was obvious to anybody paying attention that Fresno State didn't want to be in this game.  For the third straight year Pat Hill's team laid an egg in a bowl game.  There's a reason Hill is now 0-6 against non-AQ teams in bowl games and 4-1 against BCS teams: unless Fresno State is playing a "big time" team, Hill and his boys just don't care. It's a shame.  Grade: F

Final Grade


Five of the last six years the Humanitarian Bowl game down to the closing minutes.  That simply just wasn't the case this season, as Northern Illinois showed up looking to win, and Fresno State looked like it wanted to be anywhere but Boise.  It's because of this that this game wasn't incredibly enjoyable to watch, and will likely be forgotten about in the coming weeks.  Still, NIU's performance and attitude keeps the game from getting a terrible grade.  Grade: C+
Posted on: December 15, 2010 3:01 pm
 

Fresno State suspends 3 players for bowl game

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It looks like Fresno State will be short three players this weekend when it heads to Boise to take on Northern Illinois in the Humanitarian Bowl this Saturday.  The school announced on Wednesday that it had suspended three players, being kind enough to wait until after I'd written and published my Humanitarian Bowl preview.

Of the three suspensions, only linebacker Kyle Knox is a starter for the Bulldogs. The other two players are wide receiver Matt Lindsey and backup linebacker Daniel Salinas.

"Our student-athletes know and understand our rules and regulations," said Fresno State head coach Pat Hill said in a news release. "And those who don't abide by the rules will not be permitted to participate."

What those rules were, as is usually the case, were not released by the school.  

As for how these suspensions will impact Fresno, Knox's loss will likely be felt.  The junior has started all three seasons he's been at the school, and was second on the team in tackles this season with 74.  Considering that the Bulldogs have already been pretty soft against the run this season, not having Knox around against a read option team like Northern Illinois could cause even more problems.
Posted on: December 15, 2010 11:13 am
Edited on: December 15, 2010 12:03 pm
 

Bowl Bonanza: Humanitarian Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Why You Should Watch: Honestly, unless you're a fan of either Northern Illinois or Fresno State, you probably don't think there is a reason to watch this game. It's understandable, but believe us when we tell you there are a few reasons to watch.  First of all, it's been a few weeks since you've had any college football to watch, so it's time to take care of your fix.  Second, while these two teams may not be headliners, the matchup promises to be interesting.

Keys to Victory for Northern Illinois: Obviously things will be a bit different for Northern Illinois during the bowl game.  The Huskies are coming off of a loss to Miami (OH) in the MAC Championship game, and they've also lost their head coach Jerry Kill to Minnesota since then.  Still, with or without their head coach, what Northern Illinois needs to do to win this game is obvious.

Northern has the 7th ranked rushing offense in the country this season behind running back Chad Spann and quarterback Chandler Harnish.  Fresno State hasn't been very stellar against the run defense this season, particularly against spread option attacks like the one that Northern Illinois runs.  So for the Huskies to pick up the 11th win of the season -- which would be a school record -- they're going to need to keep the ball on the ground, and when the moment presents itself, attack the Fresno secondary deep.  Harnish has always been more of a runner, but his passing has improved quite a bit this season, so the Huskies should take advantage of it when they can.

Keys to Victory for Fresno State: The key for Fresno State in Boise will be the men in the trenches.  On defense, the line is going to have to remain disciplined, and maintain its assignments to stop the Huskies ground game.  It's easier said than done, as Fresno's front four has had problems doing this all season.  Still, while Northern can throw a bit, if you take away its run game and force it to throw more than it wants to, you can stop the Huskies offense.

On the other side of the ball, the offensive line will have to protect QB Ryan Colburn.  Colburn has a good arm and is a solid quarterback, but he has a tendency to make bad decisions when he's being pressured in the pocket.  He tends to force passes when he feels pressure, and against an opportunistic Huskies secondary, this won't work well for the Bulldogs.

The good news for Fresno is that the last few weeks off have given RB Robbie Rouse time to heal from rib and hand injuries he suffered towards the end of the season.  What could help Colburn and the offensive line more than anything would be for the team's workhorse to carry the load once again on offense.

The Humanitarian Bowl Is Like: It's like that kid back in grade school that nobody seems to like.  He usually sits alone at lunch time, and the other kids think he's weird and nobody ever pays any attention to him.  Hell, they don't even make fun of him.  Then one day the kid shows up at your house because both your moms go to the same salon and set up some kind of play date, and after you spend they day hanging out with him you realize "Hey, this kid isn't so bad.  In fact, he's kind of cool."  Of course, you never tell anyone at school about this.  You do have a reputation to uphold.
Posted on: December 5, 2010 4:33 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2010 4:59 pm
 

Report: Bowl bids coming fast


J. Darin Darst


TampaBay.com is reporting that South Florida and Clemson will meet in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

KCBD-TV in Lubbock, Texas is reporting that Texas Tech has accepted a bowl bid to play Northwestern in the TicketCity Bowl .

Alabama.com is reporting Pittsburgh has accepted an invite to play in the BBVA Compass Bowl, which is the old Papajohns.com Bowl.

The Fresno Bee says Fresno State is headed back to the Humanitarian Bowl to play Northern Illinois. Interesting note, Fresno is 0-3 against teams with 10 wins this year, losing to Hawaii, Nevada and Boise State. Northern Illinois is 10-3.

The Dallas Morning News is also saying Baylor will be headed to the Texas Bowl. Fox Sports reported the info during broadcast of the Baylor women's basketball game.

The Detroit News says the Little Caesars Bowl is set with Toledo taking on FIU. That means Miami (Ohio), which won the MAC on Saturday night, will be headed to the GoDaddy.com Bowl.





Posted on: December 2, 2010 4:18 pm
 

Mountain West mulls expansion options

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

BYU may have wanted out, Utah may have wanted out, TCU may have wanted out, but the continuing expansion drama surrounding the Mountain West Conference has proven that there's still plenty of schools that would be happy to be in. The Honolulu Star-Advertister reported yesterday that Hawaii officials were in Colorado this week, speaking with MWC commissioner Craig Thompson and ironing out the final details of what appears to be a done deal to bring the Warriors aboard as a football-only member. (UH's other sports will join the California-based Big West. )

But the MWC may not stop there. According to this AOL Fanhouse report , Utah State officials have also been making a face-to-face plea to Thompson and Co. this week, asking for a MWC invite and a lifeline out of the lame-duck WAC . The Aggies won't bring much to the table in terms of football pedigree, but at least they've taken steps forward in recent years under coach Gary Andersen (including beating BYU this season for the first time in 10 tries) and can claim a sterling men's basketball program and solid academics.

USU's interest gives the MWC several options when it comes to expansion. Running them down:

They could stand pat at 10 teams . There seems to be little downside to bringing Hawaii aboard, especially in football alone -- the travel costs of visiting the islands are easily offset by the NCAA provision allowing teams a 13th scheduled game if they travel to Hawaii -- so it seems unlikely the MWC will suddenly stiff-arm the Warriors and stay at 10 teams. But few other immediate options will do much to raise the league's football profile, and weaker members on the gridiron could put the league's dream of a BCS automatic bid in jeopardy.

They could expand to 12 teams and start a championship game . A title game could be an excellent carrot for the MWC to dangle when they start looking to finally get out of the less-than-lucrative current television contracts that drove BYU into football independence. Utah State might be the most obvious candidate, but Conference USA member SMU would bring the highly attractive Dallas media market back into the league after TCU's defection, and under June Jones the Mustangs have made major strides on the field as well. With C-USA's chances of ever snagging a BCS bid set at "nil," the Mustangs would likely jump at the chance. The same goes for Houston , which is an even more distant geographical fit but features an even-better established football program and a similarly-lucrative market.
Other potential WAC refugees like Idaho or New Mexico State would also be options, but probably only in the event the BCS bid was already off the table and SMU and Houston had turned the league down.

They could merge with C-USA. This seems like a terrible idea from the MWC's perspective, but nonetheless the Orlando Sentinel reported today that Thompson and C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky have had prliminary discussions about "a variety of potential collaboration options." But it's hard to see what, other than potentially a push for a joint TV contract, the C-USA can offer the MWC; the latter is the stronger conference top-to-bottom, has more brand recognition (compare the profiles of Boise State and even, say, Fresno State to C-USA powers like East Carolina and Southern Miss ), and already has the BCS bid process underway. If the C-USA is looking to create a full merger, it would seem to eliminate any chance of the league being powerful enough to wrangle a BCS bid; if all they want is an end-of-year title tilt, that's likely just one more obstacle in the way of a Boise or, well, Boise and a BCS at-large berth.

Butit's on the table, along with a lot of other possibilities for the MWC. Thompson has some very big decisions to make, decisions that will help shape the future of college football in the West for years to come.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 4:53 pm
 

Thanks TCU: Mountain West BCS bid may not be dead

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The idea of an athletics program from deep in the football-obsessed heart of Texas playing in a basketball-driven conference centered in the Northeast megalopolis seems weird enough. But what might be even weirder about TCU 's move to the Big East is that their current undefeated season will help both their new league hold onto their BCS automatic bid ... and their former conference home in the Mountain West in their effort to do the same. The New York Times ' Pete Thamel explains :
The Big East is locked into the B.C.S. through the 2013 season, as it is included in the television and bowl contracts. The automatic qualification criteria for the B.C.S. after 2014 have not been determined. If the Big East were subject to a review of its part performance, T.C.U.’s 2010 season would count for the Big East in that review.

Here is where things get bizarre. T.C.U.’s 2010 regular season will also go toward the Mountain West’s bid toward gaining automatic qualification status for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, which will be evaluated in December 2011 ...

The cycles overlap because the conferences created a new evaluation period to coincide with the television contract. To do that, they overlap for two years, according to the B.C.S. executive director, Bill Hancock.
With the Horned Frogs safely in the fold, barring a total collapse on their part and a total failure on the part of the rest of the league to improve on their dreadful 2010 (remember that Cincinnati went undefeated as recently as last season) it seems unlikely the Big East will be in any real danger of losing their automatic bid.

The bigger question is what happens with the Mountain West, who has been derided in many corners today as a glorified WAC 2.0 after gaining Boise State , Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii but losing bellwethers Utah , TCU, and BYU . Thanks to the overlap in evaluation periods, however, the league appears to have a fighting chance at getting their long-awaited auto-bid after all. The combination of TCU's (as well as Utah's) excellent 2010 seasons combined with Boise's three-year 36-2 run back to 2008 (which Thamel explains will also count in the MWC's calculations) should give them a solid foundation. The new-look MWC middle class of rapidly-improving San Diego State , Air Force , and the three other WAC refugees will, at the least, be a substantial upgrade on the middle class of the old WAC and maybe even the current MWC if the Aztecs, Wolf Pack, and Warriors can build on their current success.

Will that be enough? It's probably still too early to say. But it's also too early to say, as many have in the wake of TCU's decision, that the MWC's dream of ascending to the ranks of the automatic qualifying conferences is dead just yet.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com