We've officially crossed the point of no return.
It happened some time during the last seven days. Perhaps when Ejiro Edaraine picked up that football off the Qualcomm Stadium turf and started running, or when Marcel Jensen got his hand in front of that field goal.
Maybe it happened Sunday evening when the Bulldogs climbed to No. 16 in the BCS standings. Or between the close of business Monday and Tuesday morning, when fans (and profiteers) snapped up the final 2,000 tickets for Saturday night's game against Nevada like hungry alligators.
Or maybe, heaven forbid, it's the black uniforms and fan apparel.
But something's changed since Oct. 19, the last time Fresno State played at home. Bulldogs fans, even the reluctant ones, have bought in.
Which is exciting and dangerous.
Exciting, because it's been a while since this fan base swallowed the Bulldogs hook, line and sinker. Dangerous, because the stakes are incredibly high.
I'm not just talking about the BCS and its $17 million payday. I'm talking about disappointing those fans who waited this long to climb aboard. Those are the fans -- not the diehards -- who make the difference between the athletic department meeting (and exceeding) its budget projections or falling short another year.
And those fans are the ones most easily jilted. They don't respond well to adversity. They simply disappear.
Which makes Saturday's game against Nevada a must-win. Not just for the BCS, but to keep casual fans aboard.
Losing to Wyoming or San Jose State would be one thing. Those games are on the road, where winning is never easy.
But lose against Nevada, in front of a sellout crowd, and the disappointment bleeds into next season.
Something Fresno State cannot afford.
Nevada hasn't played at Bulldog Stadium since 2010 (with some guy named Colin Kaepernick at quarterback), and it'll be strange not seeing Chris Ault stalk the sideline. When a coach is at a school 37 years, as Ault was, he becomes the program. So when that coach leaves, much of the program's identity leaves with him.
The new guy, Brian Polian, kept Ault's trademark offense, the pistol. And that's not the only trigger worth noting. In two months on the job, the 38-year-old Polian already has the reputation of a hothead who takes out his anger on the officials.
Then you look at the stats and what leaps out is 106-33, the margin by which the Wolf Pack has been outscored in the third quarter. Nice halftime adjustments.
Perhaps Polian ought to be yelling at the mirror.
Nevada does have talent. It has the accurate arm of starting quarterback in Cody Fajardo, who in 2011 enjoyed his first career 300-yard passing day against Fresno State. The Bulldogs returned the favor last year. They intercepted Fajardo twice, one returned for a touchdown by Derron Smith, and stripped him of the football at the 3-yard line for another score.
(In case you haven't noticed, Fresno State is not the same turnover-producing juggernaut it was in 2012. Don't look for that to change. Nevada's eight turnovers are tied for fewest in the Mountain West Conference.)
Fajardo has two reliable receivers in Brandon Wimberly and Richy Turner, both of whom are capable of big plays. Leading rusher Kendall Brock, on pace for an 800-yard season, is a local kid from Clovis West High who the Bulldogs didn't offer a scholarship. You know he'll have some extra juice.
Of course, offense isn't the Wolf Pack's problem. Blowout losses to Florida State and UCLA skew the numbers, but Nevada has been one of the easiest teams in the country to run and score against.
If the Wolf Pack sells out to stop Fresno State's passing game, as other teams have done, it might get a heavy dose of Marteze Waller. He's quietly averaging 5.2 yards per carry while improving his blitz pickups.
Nevada enters on a three-game losing streak and fresh off a 27-22 loss at home to archrival UNLV -- the same team the Bulldogs mopped up 38-14 two weeks ago.
So, no, I'm not making a particularly strong case for Nevada. The Wolf Pack have to hit on all cylinders while the Bulldogs sputter like my 1975 Volvo after it threw a rod outside Dos Palos in '88.
Dad paid the bill for that one, and he was none too pleased. But it'd be a pittance compared to what a loss today would cost Fresno State.
The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6218, firstname.lastname@example.org or @MarekTheBee on Twitter.