You’re ticked, we get it, and no one says you should feel otherwise.
Everyone wants the head football coach capitulated, the local prep stars scholarshipped and Derek Carr brought back as a seventh-year senior – and you’re not going to another Fresno State football game until you get all of the above and free parking.
Understandable, sure, but it’s all too bad. This Bulldogs team is worth watching, after all, and not because they’re about to qualify for the ever-elusive New Mexico Bowl.
These guys are busting their jawbones to defend your Institute of Crippling Student Loan Debt. Are you really going to punish them for not being 2-2 enough for your tastes?
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Fresno State is worth your spare nickel because its redshirt freshman quarterback keeps his head when everyone else is knocking it off his swivel, and its senior linebacker hits the eye black off every opponent in his way, and its senior receiver runs overtime routes with a dead arm flopping on his side.
The announced attendance for Saturday’s Fresno State-Tulsa game was 23,273 – the smallest crowd at Bulldog Stadium since a 1983 matchup against Northern Arizona to wrap up a 6-5 season.
Of course, most of you wouldn’t know this, given the tens of thousands of you who skipped out on Saturday’s overtime loss to Tulsa. You all gave away your season tickets on the shaded side to us commoners who can’t spring for anything outside the Third Estate reaches of Bulldog Stadium.
There was nothing same about this same result.
So what if they couldn’t hold a 31-0 jump-start against Tulsa? The fact they stretched that thing into a second overtime means they didn’t give up when their abilities failed them, and what more can you want from a collection of non-stars without a serviceable backup band?
It isn’t too late to change your expectations, people. The Bulldogs are 1-3, which puts them on track for a second straight 3-9. This is what they are, so stop expecting the Carr years from a team that can’t even match the Colburn years.
What you do next says what you are.
Are you a Fresno State fan? Then show up at the next home game, because your team is certainly going to show up. Are you only a fan of Fresno State winning? Then you’re no fan at all, and cannot to be trusted to do so much as unwrap a hot dog that was already unwrapped.
By the way, it is possible to go to games without it being a vote of confidence in the coach. Just ask any Raiders fan between the Art Shell-Lane Kiffin era. My family showed up for roll call at Candlestick Park, and survived lousy baseball and hypothermia just fine.
I’ve never seen a team fight so hard.
Bulldogs linebacker Jeff Camilli, after Saturday’s double-OT loss to Tulsa
You should have seen linebacker Jeff Camilli after Saturday’s game, eye paint smeared all over his bearded face. The linebacker looked like he just speared his way through a scene from “Gladiator.” He had as many tackles as there were people in the stands, which says a lot about both.
“We fought so hard out there,” Camilli said Saturday. “I hope everyone saw that. Everyone put their bodies on the line for everybody else. I’ve never seen a team fight so hard.”
That’s why Fresno State fans should be fans of this Fresno State team.
The Bulldogs’ talent is minimal, their ceiling is nominal, and they’ve got one upset in them, at best.
But they made Nebraska work for its keep and showed the Toledo debacle was a one-dud wonder. They should beat a lousy UNLV team Saturday night, but then, UNLV should beat a lousy Fresno State team, too.
Their best won’t be best enough most the time, and we know that. We appreciate them giving it, anyway. Is it too much bother for you to match their contribution?
What else are you doing on Saturdays, counting down the days until you don’t show up to Fresno State basketball games if they start 1-3?
(And if anyone thinks this column has gotten soft, tell that to athletic director Jim Bartko, and we’ll all giggle our way through the microfilm archives).
“We fight,” senior receiver Aaron Peck said. “Of course we want to win games and win the championship and all that stuff. But, at the end of the day, guys are playing for pride.”
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