My search for a willing Q&A partner for the Fresno State Bulldogs came up empty, but I figured this week was too important to let pass without insider info on Boise State's next opponent. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, I figured, and the Romans would probably answer their own Q&A, pretending to be a Fresno State fan. So that's a thing I did.
1. If your team's season-to-date was a book, what book would it be and why?
Harry Potter Book Six.
The reviews are great, people love it, and everyone can't wait to see more. That said, there are still some lingering questions like: How is this thing going to end? Did Harry Potter make the right move in dumping Cho Chang? Is Dumbledore gay?
2. Fresno State is ranked No. 20 in total offense and No. 29 in total defense. Is this too high, too low, or just right?
No. 20 seems a little low, maybe because it sounds a little low. I don't think "incredibly high-powered offense" when I hear the number twenty. Bump it up into the teens and now we're talking.
The defense rank is a good compromise: Oregon put up tons of yards, and FCS Weber State and basically-FCS Colorado State put up bupkis. An accurate measure might be the Tulsa and San Diego State yardage numbers, which come out to just about the season average (350 yards, give or take).
3. If you could pick any three people to join your team, who would you choose?
I would dip into the Fresno State history books and pull out Logan Mankins for offensive line depth, Lorenzo Neal and play him at defensive tackle, and Tom Brandstater to give Derek Carr a confidence boost.
Optional: If you could pick any three people to watch the game with you, who would you choose?
Numbers one and two would be Joe Tessitore and Rod Gilmore, with a strict rule about not discussing fantasy football teams. The third would be Daniel Day Lewis in character as Abraham Lincoln.
4. Name three keys to victory for your team. Name one key to certain defeat.
- No three-and-outs. The worst thing that a fast-paced offense can do is run three plays really fast and then punt. A 14-second drive does no favors to a defense, especially not one that will be taxed mentally and physically by all the Broncos do.
- Hand the ball off to Robbie Rouse. The Broncos are No. 6 in pass defense and 80 spots worse in run defense. Sure, much of that can be pinned on the New Mexico triple option, but slippery, elusive runners can cause the Broncos fits when they aren't tackling well.
- Win the turnover battle. Obligatory, but important.
Key to defeat: Panicking. Bronco Stadium will be loud and proud, and if the stage is too big for the Bulldogs, the final score will be a redux of past matchups. There is really no reason to panic. Fresno State is built to overcome deficits and turn it on at the drop of a hat. And I've never known Derek Carr to not believe in Derek Carr.
5. On a scale of beverages, with V8 juice being "not at all" and cherry Dr. Pepper being "supremely", how confident are you that your team will win on Saturday?
Diet Dr. Pepper
If uber-confidence is cherry Dr. Pepper, then an appropriate level for Fresno fans is Diet Dr. P - tastes just like the real thing, but it isn't the real thing and it doesn't have cherry syrup, so consider it an 80 percent on the confidence scale. For sure, Fresno Fan is more confident than he has been in a good half decade.
BONUS: Word association.
- Kellen Moore. Teeth.
- Pop-Tarts. Breakfast dessert.
- Blue turf. Illegal.
- Pat Hill. Future athletic director.
- Pat Sajak. > Alex Trebek.
- Derek Carr. Sensational.
- David Carr. Metrosexual.
- Trent Dilfer. Game manager.
- Rose Bowl. Pipe dream.
- Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Pat Hill dream.
- Dogs in birthday hats. Happy birthday, dog!