Fresno State has added another guarantee game against a Power Five conference opponent to bulk up its athletic department budget, signing a contract to play at UCLA in 2024.
The Bulldogs also will be making trips to the Rose Bowl with single games in 2018 and ’21. In addition, they have games next season at Alabama and at Washington, in 2018 at Minnesota with UCLA, in 2019 at USC and against Minnesota at Bulldog Stadium, in 2020 at Colorado and at Texas A&M, in 2021 at Oregon with UCLA and games in 2022 at USC, in 2023 at Arizona State and in 2025 at USC.
The deals with UCLA are worth $650,000 in 2018, $1.1 million in 2021 and $1.2 million in 2024.
With the addition of a game against UCLA at the Rose Bowl in 2024, Fresno State has a game against a Pac-12 opponent lined up in each of the next nine seasons, all guarantee games on the road.
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The athletic department will receive $1.4 million from Alabama and $1 million from Washington next season. Its three games at USC are worth $1.1 million each.
Fresno State had averaged $1 million in game guarantees from 2011 to ’14, an important source of revenue for an athletic department facing financial pressures like most in Group of Five conferences trying to keep up with the escalating costs of college athletics. Last season, though, it was $10,000 in the hole in football guarantee revenue and this season with games at Nebraska and at Toledo the athletic department will make a little more than $400,000.
With the addition of wrestling and women’s water polo, the Bulldogs will be fielding 21 sports with an athletic department budget in the low $30 million range – in 2015-’16, it is $33.1 million. There are eight Pac-12 schools that have fewer than 21 athletic programs. Washington State, with one of the smaller athletic budgets in the conference at $66.1 million, lists 15 sports on its athletic department website.
On the field, it also is a tough go. With a widening financial gap between the Power Five (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) and the Group of Five (American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt), the results on the field have run in a similar direction.
The Bulldogs are 0-1 this season against Power Five teams, losing their opener 43-10 at Nebraska. In their past six games they are 0-6, have been within 21 points just once and lost by an average of 35.5 points. The Mountain West this season is 3-13 against the Power Five, the wins over mid- to lower-level Pac-12 teams – San Diego State beat Cal and Boise State defeated Washington State and Oregon State.
It’s good to have Kevin back out here. He gives great effort. He hurt his elbow a few weeks back and he’s back with us and he’s going to help us.
Fresno State Coach Tim DeRuyter on defensive lineman Kevin Jeanniton
Last season, the Mountain West was 3-21 against Power Five opponents and the losses were by an average of 19.9 points.
QB out – UNLV coach Tony Sanchez said on Tuesday that Johnny Stanton, the Rebels’ starting quarterback, will be out for three to four weeks with a right knee injury.
Redshirt freshman Dalton Sneed will start on Saturday against the Bulldogs and junior Kurt Palandech also is expected to gets some snaps for the Rebels.
“(Sneed) has slowly but surely started to progress and get more confident, and we feel more comfortable with him right now,” Sanchez said, in the Las Vegas Sun.
Stanton had started all four games for UNLV, completing just 46.7 percent of his passes (50 of 107) for 676 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions. He also had rushed for 231 yards and one touchdown on 40 plays and was the Rebel’s second-leading rusher.
Sneed has played in two games, completing his one and only pass attempt for six yards.
Palandech has yet to attempt a pass this season, but was in 11 games last season and started against Fresno State, a game the Bulldogs won 31-28. Palandech completed 12 of 24 passes in that game for 111 yards and two touchdowns and was sacked six times.
D-Line deeper – Defensive lineman Kevin Jeanniton, a freshman from Edison High, is back in practice and working on the scout team after suffering from an elbow injury during a fall camp scrimmage.
UNLV has completed only 47.2 percent of its passes in four games and has a passing efficiency rating of 107.49, ranking 12th and last in the Mountain West and 118th of 128 in the nation.
“It’s good to have Kevin back out here,” coach Tim DeRuyter said. “He gives great effort. He hurt his elbow a few weeks back and he’s back with us and he’s going to help us because he’s another big body on our defensive line to help us get a good look on offense.”
Out on the town – Fresno State has recruited two players out of national prep power Las Vegas Bishop Gorman – inside linebackers Robert Stanley and Nela Otukolo – and continues to recruit the area.
Since the Bulldogs will be in town, the coaching staff is likely to use at least one of its allotted evaluation days and be on the sidelines Friday night at a prep football game.
“Because we have some guys from the area and because the area is really growing, the football there is getting better, we’ll likely have one or two of our guys go out that Friday night,” DeRuyter said.
Kicked off – The injury to Dejonte O’Neal not only cost the Bulldogs their No. 2 running back, but also their No. 1 kickoff return man, an area in which they had struggled before giving the diminutive back more opportunity.
O’Neal was injured in the fourth quarter of the Bulldogs’ overtime loss to Tulsa on a kickoff return up the right sideline that went for 37 yards. He is averaging 30.1 yards on eight returns – best on the team by plenty; inside receiver Jamire Jordan is second with one return for 21 yards.
Fresno State will rep kickoff return in practice Wednesday, but on Tuesday they had running backs Bryson Oglesby and Saevion Johnson added to the group and taking reps fielding kickoffs along with KeeSean Johnson, Tyquwan Glass and Da’Mari Scott.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
Mountain West opener
FRESNO STATE AT UNLV
- Saturday: 7:30 p.m. at Sam Boyd Stadium (35,500)
- Records: Bulldogs 1-3, Rebels 1-3
- TV/radio: CBS Sports Network/KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600)
- Series: Fresno State leads 13-5, and won 31-28 last season at Bulldog Stadium