Fresno State Football: First Look At The 2023 Schedule
The Bulldogs won’t always have it easy on their quest to defend the Mountain West football crown.
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A new era begins for Jeff Tedford’s ‘Dogs.
The Mountain West Conference finally released the 2023 football schedule yesterday afternoon, providing the full picture of what Fresno State football’s conference title defense will look like.
Let’s run it back 😈#GoDogs | #ForTheV pic.twitter.com/FhyYyGMTUJ
— Fresno State Football 🏆 (@FresnoStateFB) March 2, 2023
Here’s what the week-by-week schedule looks like with Bill Connelly’s preseason SP+ rankings, where Fresno State is 67th overall, in parentheses:
Saturday, September 2 – at Purdue (49)
Saturday, September 9 – vs. Eastern Washington (58th among FCS teams)
Saturday, September 16 – at Arizona State (63)
Saturday, September 23 – vs. Kent State (133)
Saturday, September 30 – vs. Nevada (107)
Saturday, October 7 – at Wyoming (101)
Saturday, October 14 – at Utah State (118)
Saturday, October 28 – vs. UNLV (108)
Saturday, November 4 – vs. Boise State (68)
Saturday, November 11 – at San Jose State (103)
Saturday, November 18 – vs. New Mexico (132)
Saturday, November 25 – at San Diego State (80)
What are the biggest initial takeaways?
1. Without divisions, the Bulldogs could easily find an inside track to a championship spot early.
Starting with the team’s final non-conference game at home against Kent State — yes, that ranking of 133rd isn’t a typo and the Golden Flashes have the worst SP+ projection in the entire FBS — Fresno State has a golden opportunity to start fast in conference play against a shockingly light early slate. The team’s last two trips to Laramie were defensive slugfests and UNLV has played the Bulldogs uncomfortably close in the last two meetings, but resolving the current questions on offense could mean a 4-0 record heading into the always-crucial clash with Boise State at home on November 4.
2. November could be tough.
If it proves difficult to replace the likes of Jake Haener, David Perales, and Jalen Moreno-Cropper, though, the Bulldogs could struggle in the final month of the season. The Broncos won the last meeting at Bulldog Stadium in a walk back in 2021, while rivalry road trips to San Jose and San Diego could also knock the ‘Dogs out of title game contention.
3. No Hawaii? That’s weird!
Though Fresno State doesn’t have an official rivalry trophy with the Warriors like they do with the Spartans and Aztecs, this fall will mark the first season since 1991 that the Bulldogs and Warriors won’t face each other. It’s one of the byproducts of the Mountain West’s new division-less schedule, though it’s worth noting that the two teams will see each other in both 2024 and 2025. Absence will surely make hearts in both fanbases grow fonder (or perhaps more rabid).
Hardest stretch: vs. UNLV, vs. Boise State, at San Jose State
Easiest stretch: vs. Kent State, vs. Nevada
Guaranteed wins: vs. Eastern Washington, vs. New Mexico, vs. Nevada
Guaranteed losses: none
Worse than 50/50 games: at Purdue
50/50 games: at Arizona State, at Wyoming, vs. UNLV, vs. Boise State, at San Jose State, at San Diego State
Better than 50/50 games: at Utah State
Preliminary projected record: 8-4