Fresno State Football: First Look at the Revised 2020 Schedule
The Bulldogs’ truncated slate is unique in the Mountain West football schedule.
There’s no other schedule like it.
It’s been a long time coming, but Mountain West football will be back in business this month. For the Fresno State Bulldogs, some challenges remain in the accelerated ramp-up to game speed and live action but, at a glance, it’s not hard to envision another 2017-style turnaround if good fortune is on new head coach Kalen DeBoer’s side.
— Fresno State Football (@FresnoStateFB) October 1, 2020
Here’s what the week-by-week schedule looks like with the most recent SP+ rankings from September 27, where Fresno State is 99th overall, in parentheses:
October 24 – vs. Hawaii (91)
October 31 – vs. Colorado State (77)
November 7 – at UNLV (122)
November 14 – at Utah State (100)
November 21 – vs. San Jose State (102)
November 28 – vs. San Diego State (68)
December 5 – at Nevada (107)
December 12 – at New Mexico (121)
What are the biggest initial takeaways?
1. Two at home, two on the road, two at home, two on the road?
Remarkably, this will be the second straight year in which Fresno State will get to host two opponents at the corner of Cedar and Barstow on back-to-back weekends. It will also be the fourth time in the last six seasons with a pair of back-to-back road games, as well, so it’s safe to say that we haven’t seen anything like this in a long time (if ever).
Getting two of the toughest foes at Bulldog Stadium out of the gate will go a long way toward determining how much of a contender the ‘Dogs are. They won’t get to have the Red Wave behind them, at least not in person, but surviving a pair of potential shootouts would help them control their own destiny after that.
2. An early stumble may not spell permanent doom.
Because the Mountain West is scrapping division play for 2020, it’s an all-hands-on-deck race to the top two spots for anyone vying for the conference title. It also means that losing an early game to either Hawaii or UNLV may not be the critical juncture it’d likely be under normal circumstances, so long as the Bulldogs can stay within striking distances of the two teams, San Diego State and Nevada, who’d been projected to finish at the top of the West in July.
3. The road games are extremely manageable.
Fresno State’s turnaround in 2017 was keyed in large part by a bevy of convincing road wins and, outside of the Nevada Wolf Pack, you can imagine a scenario where the Bulldogs stay in the hunt by pummeling UNLV and Utah State teams with numerous questions of their own and put themselves in prime position to claim a title game bid against the rebuilding Lobos in Albuquerque.
Hardest stretch: vs. San Diego State, at Nevada
Easiest stretch: at UNLV, at Utah State, vs. San Jose State
Guaranteed wins: at UNLV
Guaranteed losses: none
Worse than 50/50 games: vs. Hawaii, at Nevada
50/50 games: vs. Colorado State, vs. San Diego State, vs. San Jose State
Better than 50/50 games: at New Mexico, at Utah State
Preliminary projected record: 5-3