Few, if any, outside of the Fresno State football locker room actually believe the Bulldogs can beat No. 1 Alabama.
Or that Fresno State can even keep it close and competitive Saturday.
The Bulldogs, after all, are a whopping 43.5-point underdogs heading into their visit to Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Bryant-Denny Stadium, which seats a maximum of 101,821.
And even though Fresno State is coming off a 66-0 win against Incarnate Word to start the season, many Bulldogs fans haven’t forgotten how terrible the team was last season while finishing 1-11.
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“Fresno State should just retire from this season and end undefeated before they get whooped by Alabama,” Bulldogs fan Daniel Gonzalez tweeted.
Nonetheless, given the six-plus touchdowns spread, the smart bet Saturday just might be to put money on Fresno State.
Yes, Fresno State.
To cover the spread, all Fresno State would have to do is keep the game within 43 points.
So the Bulldogs could still lose say 50-7 or 57-14 and a bet on Fresno State would pay out.
Even if Alabama shut out Fresno State 43-0, a wager on the Bulldogs would win someone money.
Why bet the Bulldogs?
The best answers don’t necessarily stem from what the Bulldogs can or cannot do against the Crimson Tide.
The best answers just might come from Alabama itself.
Alabama, which beat No. 3 Florida State 24-7 last week, might be a college football juggernaut, but the Tide becomes somewhat of a gentle giant when facing teams that wouldn’t seem to pose much of a threat.
In its past 14 games against non-Power 5 programs, Alabama went 3-10-1 against the spread – meaning in only three of those games did Alabama exceed the point spread.
Just look at Alabama’s most recent game against a non-Power 5 program. The Tide was favored by as much as 48.5 points against Chattanooga last year but won just 31-3.
Of course, it was just earlier last season that Alabama entered as a 44-point favorite against Kent State and won 48-0.
But given Alabama coach Nick Saban’s respect for Fresno State – Saban is friends with former Fresno State coach Pat Hill, plucked former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain from the Bulldogs and has expressed admiration for Bulldogs coach Jeff Tedford – perhaps the Roll Tide won’t have much incentive to blow out the Bulldogs further should they get out to a 28- or 35-point lead.
It’s all speculation and guessing to a degree.
But this much is clear: The majority of the Red Wave isn’t giving Fresno State much of a chance.
“I love my Bulldogs,” one Fresno State fan wrote on Facebook. “But this will end badly. LMAO. It’s like a 7th grader fighting Mayweather.”
Facing college football’s No. 1 team
FRESNO STATE AT ALABAMA
- Opening kickoff: 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
- Records: Bulldogs 1-0, Crimson Tide 1-0
- TV: ESPN2
- Season-opening results: Fresno State defeated Incarnate Word 66-0; Alabama beat No. 3 Florida State 24-7
- Head-to-head: Saturday will mark the first meeting between Fresno State and Alabama
- More online: Check out Robert Kuwada’s updates and video at fresnobee.com/bulldogs or download the Bulldog Buzz mobile app