Fresno fans are far from my favorite people (my favorite people are family, friends, and Bronco players who don't privatize their Facebook profiles), but I make an exception for the guys at Fresno fan blog Bulldog Bounce.
The Bounce's DaCo offered to help us out with some insight on Fresno in this week's Q&A. There are good doses of Fresno schadenfreude after the jump as well as some pretty confident predictions. Plus, get an update on the blog bet happenings.
Bulldog Bounce covers Fresno athletics from a smart fan perspective. Check out their site if you're in the need of a Fresno fix.
1. Describe your team's season to date in 100 words or less. "Karl Benson panic room" must be four of those words.
In 2 words: typically frustrating.
In 92 words: On a confidence scale of "Karl Benson panic room" to Boise State fan's sweet dreams, Fresno State fans in general are in the midst of a free fall to panic room status. We'll never get used to having 8-5 seasons with Top 25 talent. That's why, even if one were to hate Boise State, you have to respect the heck out of what's being done there.
That said, there is always a core of love and support for Fresno State, and the ‘Dogs will once again bring The Bulldog Creed Friday night.
2. If Boise State could pick one player from your team to come play with them, who would it be? If you could pick one Boise State player to go play for your team, who would it be? Explain.
Who's up for answering this question differently than the other blogs? I am. So let's see if I can't give you a blog-equivalent sample size of wasabi ice cream to shock the ol' neuro muscles.
As far as opposing fans go, I have to believe that my knowledge of the Broncos is about as good as it gets. I watch them and read about them often, so I'll stay away from using only a stat sheet on this one. Also, other different things to come.
Without getting too deep into details, we at the Bounce like nearly everything about Pat Hill. There are valid reasons why we feel that way, just as there are valid reasons why I say nearly everything. If you're good at blog math, you see where this is going. That's right, Chris Petersen in Bulldog Red is an interesting thought, isn't it?
Moving on ...
As an OBNUG reader myself, I'm aware of the fact that the community here is pretty sharp in its own right. Therefore, I will present you without the multiple choice version of player picking and let you pick and suggest the appropriate player from my options. (Note: for both sides, none shall not be an option.)
The Fresno State players nominated:
- LB Travis Brown - A disciplined, play-making linebacker and a very sure-handed tackler. Versatile against the run or pass and contributes to the required amount of stud white players on the roster.
- S Phillip Thomas - PT is secondary monster. Pros: amazing tackling ability, instincts, ball skills, speed, versatility as a corner (press or zone), and special teams coverage. Cons: Still searching. Basically, he's the opposite of the man he replaced.
- DE Chris Carter - Carter is the highest energy, best motor, biggest competitor combo guy you will ever see. He gets amazing burst off the line, and pursues like a mad man. That, and he's very skilled, as his 14.5 TFLs, 9 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles would suggest.
- DB Jermaine Thomas - Extremely physical corner who provides great run help and renders his man useless for the duration of the game. When he gets bored and lets the quarterback throw his direction, he likes to play keep-away from the intended receiver. (note: JT is injured at the moment, but for your purposes, pretend he's healthy)
The Boise State players nominated:
This is where you get to suggest to Fresno State fans the player they could most use from your team. So use your combination of Bulldogs games seen and my listed needs to make your suggestion.
Listed needs: linemen who best pick-up blitzes, defenders who best stop the run game, left-handed quarterbacks who hate 3-and-outs
- LB Byron Hout - Big, athletic, instinctive run stopper (broken foot aside)
- QB Kellen Moore - Accurate, poised and hard to argue against him as one of the better QBs the college game has seen
- Offensive lineman - Potter? Kellogg? Who's your fave?
- Best defensive playmaker - A pick 'em from the D line? Venable as the hybrid?
3. Imagine for a moment that your team is ESPN's college football coverage. What part is Ron Franklin and what part is Pam Ward?
The weakness is the inconsistency of performance and execution. The Bulldogs put together some truly impressive defensive stands at times and are capable of moving the ball on any defense. Problem is, players like Ryan Colburn, Devan Cunningham and others randomly turn into their alter egos (Bunny Corral and Dean Van Munching, respectively) more frequently than the elite teams, thus turning a win to a loss at times, with the most recent game vs Nevada as proof.
The strength is the athletes the team puts on the field. Fresno State doesn't have 25 alums in the NFL by accident and didn't send six players to the NFL Combine in 2009 by accident. And this season, the defensive talent is finally starting to catch up to the offensive talent. So when things go right with these talented athletes, it's fun for our fans to watch. When things go wrong, liquor stores make more money.
4. Name three keys to victory for your team. Name one key to certain defeat.
There's no better way to feel dumb than by giving out your keys and looking like a fool when the opposite happens in a win. That being said, wouldn't mind looking like a dummy if the 'Dogs pull it out despite opposite-daying my keys. To the keys ...
- Win the turnover battle by at least 2, while also allowing none. Ideally, this would mean the defense is hitting hard and/or pressuring Moore often. This also means the Broncos get fewer chances to score.
- Get out to a fast start. In too many games, Fresno State has blue-haired its way up the field early in games, which of course leads to punts and poor field position. A fast start provides confidence, neutralizes a loud crowd and gives you a lead, which you need to win games in football.
- Death to big plays. Fresno State forced nine three-and-outs in a 40-34 win on the road against the Male Techsters. Problem is, the 'Dogs still allowed 34 points. Those of you who watched the Nevada game also saw examples of this.
Bonus key! If ever a there was a need for a fourth key, this is it. I'll make it owning the time of possession. The thinking behind this is that a large differential in T.O.P. would mean the Bulldogs are running the ball successfully and Ryan Colburn is efficiently running the offense, hopefully on scoring drives. This also means fewer chances for scoring opportunities and big plays by the boys in blue. Or orange.
Key to certain defeat:
The Broncos come out in all blue uniforms. (Kidding - kind of)
The Broncos blitz. Fresno State has been no less than stumped when teams blitz and have been slow to adjust on offense when things don't go well.
5. On a scale of boy bands, with O*Town being not at all and N*Snync being supremely, how confident are you that your team will win on Friday?
Pulse number 1: Here's a pleasant surprise for you - N*Sync. Of course this is the minority group (the Bounce included), but there's a simple thought process behind this. I approach things with unshakeable confidence and no fear. That's how people like me operate. A loss will do nothing to disturb that. I think the kids call that swagger nowadays (I'm only 25, can I call them kids still?). What fun is it to go into anything with fear or doubt? Sure we realize the task at hand, but that's why you get in the business, as they say.
Pulse number 2: O*Town. Hello other end of spectrum. What can you say about the Eeyores of the world? Some people need not only tangible proof to buy into something, but constant doses of it, and it's hard to blame them after the repeated result of 8-5 Fresno State teams. A lot of fans are tired of being burned after jumping in head first to support the team. Nowadays, a lot more fans are waiting to see if there are sharks in the water before testing it out for themselves.
The blog bet
Bulldog Bounce politely declined to participate in a blog bet with us, which I guess is fine. They can't stop me from posting a 10,000-word comment, though! (Actually, they could probably do that.)
The Hawaii blog bet has yet to see the light of day, but that doesn't mean that I forgot. Look for that either here on OBNUG in a FanPost or over on Warriors Will Throw in an actual post.
And then cross your fingers that Nevada fan blog Pistol Whipping the WAC is in the mood for a wager next week or else we might be stoned the remainder of the year.