Know your enemy: Fresno State edition

KYE Fresno

Alright, first things first. Last week, for the first time ever, I handed the Know your enemy reins to someone else as I made the executive decision that my wife being in labor trumped trivial knowledge (this time, anyway). I'm happy to say that Nick did a great job in relief and I'm also happy to say that my wife delivered a healthy baby boy (boom) and I now have two-thirds of the future Bronco backfield under my roof. The Roberts brother s are going to tear it up, believe me. Now, back to the task at hand...getting to know Fresno State. Let's go!

Ten things Bronco fans might not know about the Bulldogs or their vineyard-heavy valley


10) What we call "Fresno State", is actually California State University, Fresno. The school was founded in 1911 as Fresno State Normal School and went on to become Fresno State Teachers College and Fresno State College before becoming California State University, Fresno in 1972. Just so we're clear...it went from FSNS to FSTC to FSC to CSUF. Now you're ready to compete in the acronym olympics (in Munich this year, I believe).


9) Fresno, California was once the proud home of the first modern landfill in the United States, the Fresno Municipal Sanitary Landfill. Opened in 1937, the landfill incorporated trenching, compacting, and the daily covering of trash with dirt as part of it's modern practices, but never realized the most modern method of waste disposal: a supersonic cannon blast into the sun. Why? Because I hold the world's only patent on the supersonic trash cannon (coming in Spring of 2011).


8) Japanese actor Joe Odagiri is a Fresno State alum. You, of course, know Odagiri (also known as Odajō) from films such as Mokka no Koibito, Kaikyo wo wataru violin, Shinsengumi!, and the inimitable Jikou keisatsu. Odagiri enrolled at Fresno State to study film directing, but wound up enrolled in the Theater and Arts department instead, but hey, when you're the star of Kamen Rider Kuuga, I think we'll cut you a little slack, am I right?!


7) Fresno State is the first University in the U.S. to have a winery fully licensed to produce, bottle and sell wine. If you're on campus, be sure to try a bottle of Pat Hill Vintner...it has a strong, bold flavor at when you open it, then quickly fades during conference play.


6) In 1893, an illiterate building contractor named Joseph Spinney sat on the Fresno board of trustees. Spinney was an enormously corrupt figure and had gained influence by representing the vice interests of the town (you know...gambling, booze, prostitution, hamster racing...)—he also held a powerful swing vote that he used to push through political appointments, secure building contracts (for himself) and influence the hiring of police officers and firemen. Spinney was made chairman of the board, effectively making him the mayor of the city...a position he held for a full ten minutes before resigning and nominating pal C.J. Craycroft to take his place (a slam-dunk nomination, since he still held that mighty swing vote). Spinney's portrait still hangs in Fresno's City Hall along with all the other past mayors despite him having served just slightly longer than Kellen Moore usually plays after half-time. Bummer too...shady businessmen that amass wealth and influence by operating brothels and saloons generally make really good politicians.

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"I gave this city the best 10 minutes of my life..."


5) According to legend, Fresno State's nickname (the "Bulldogs" one, not the "underachievers" one) was devised in 1921 by student body president Warren Moody and his friends after they were befriended outside the main campus building by a white bulldog. The dog supposedly "adopted" the group, or just took a shine to their adherence to the 1920s fad of carrying salamis in ones pockets. Moody's chum Arids Walker made the motion to adopt "Bulldogs" as the official nickname in a student body meeting and on November 21, 1921, the Morning Republican first referred to Fresno State as the "Bulldogs". Unlike Louisiana Tech's bulldog mascot, however, this one was a coward and never saved anyone from a dorm fire.


4) Fresno State played their first football season in 1921. The first year squad, led by Coach Arthur Jones, went just 2-4-0...but the next year the team finished 6-1-3 and captured the California Coast Conference championship. That first championship run, saw the team defeat 3 high school teams and play to 3 ties. Jones' "no one, nowhere, not right now" scheduling approach for the Bulldogs has since been amended.


3) Back in the 70s, Fresno State head coach Pat Hill was an All-American center on the UC-Riverside football team. Hill earned all-conference honors three times for the Highlanders before graduating in 1973. UC-Riverside discontinued their football program two years later. After graduation, Hill became an offensive line coach at LA Valley College while his modest mustache decided to travel the world. His mustache stayed in hostels and drop-in centers around Europe before landing in Thailand where it became a vegetarian, converted to Buddhism, and returned to Hill as a fu-manchu.

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Oh, the things this 'stache has seen.


2) The dance style commonly known as "popping" evolved in Fresno in the 1970s. Of course, if you don't believe in evolution, let's just say the dance didn't evolve but rather was created by a singular, benevolent, and omnipotent being.

1) Fresno State hasn't beaten Boise State since 2005 and has lost 8 of the last 9 contests, but they made sure to make that '05 loss stick. The Bulldogs 20-point win over the Broncos in November of 2005 was the worst loss the Broncos have suffered since. The next worst defeat since that game? A 14-point loss to Washington in 2007. All the other Bronco losses combined since their defeat at the hands of Fresno State over 5 years ago tally a measly 36 points...less than Boise State's average margin-of-victory over WAC foes this year alone (41 pts).

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