Fresno State is getting a boost this week in traveling to its game at San Diego State, a relatively short trip with a tricky start 7:30 p.m. start time and a lot of options getting to and from, some good not so good.
The Bulldogs, at 6-0, ranked No. 17 in the BCS standings and in with a chance to make a big-time bowl game for the first time in school history, will be keeping their routine intact in traveling to San Diego on Friday afternoon. And because the game will end too late to get a flight back to Fresno afterward, they will spend a second night there and fly home on Sunday morning.
With the late start time, the Bulldogs could have traveled to San Diego on the morning of the game. And, the last time the they played at San Diego State, at the end of the 2011 season, they took a bus back immediately after the game, arriving about 6 a.m.
Whether or not there is much at stake that itinerary obviously would be less than optimal.
"It's huge," coach Tim DeRuyter said. "We'll end up spending the night, we'll get up the next morning, as opposed to being on a bus, really not getting much sleep and having a six- or so hour bus ride. That's big for us and we're glad our administration agreed with us that it was important to do."
It not only will help the Bulldogs this week in going to play the Aztecs, but heading into game prep for a Nov. 2 Mountain West Conference game against Nevada as well. The team will be back in Fresno by noon, the players can take advantage of their day off, and the coaches get to work on game planning for the Wolf Pack.
"It would be one thing if we had an off week -- last year, when we went up to Nevada, we had an off week so it really didn't matter so much whether we took a bus or whatever," DeRuyter said.
"Those little things make a big difference in how you prepare and if you can keep things consistent with how you do things when you go on the road, this is how we travel and this is the time schedule, guys get used to it and you have a routine you go through and you get familiar with it, hopefully that familiarity brings a confidence that this is we do it and this is what we do to win."