Fresno State has faced scheduling challenges in the Mountain West, opening conference play with back-to-back road games in 2015 and '16 and last season ending with a cross-divisional game against Boise State.
When the Bulldogs won their way to a West Division title in the first season under coach Jeff Tedford, that set up a return matchup against the Broncos for the Mountain West championship the following week. And the Bulldogs had to play that one on the road, even though they had won the regular-season meeting, thanks to the conference's rules.
But in 2018, Fresno State is set up well to make another run at a West Division title and there is no cross-divisional play the final two weeks of the season to prevent the West and Mountain division champions from playing for a championship one week after playing to end the regular-season.
In a schedule released on Thursday, Fresno State opens conference play on the road at Nevada the weekend of Oct. 6, comes home to play Wyoming on Oct. 13, goes to New Mexico on Oct. 20, plays Hawaii at Bulldog Stadium on Oct. 27 and then at UNLV on Nov. 3 before playing at Boise State on Nov. 10.
The Bulldogs will close the regular season with back-to-back home games against West Division rivals San Diego State on Nov. 17 and San Jose State on Nov. 24.
For now, all of the dates on the schedule are Saturdays. That could change in some instances as television slots are filled and weekend dates get shifted to Thursdays and Fridays. The first TV dates are usually announced in April.
Last season there were seven cross-divisional games the final two weeks of the regular season, three on the final weekend.
The Bulldogs had other issues in 2016 and '15, but they were only the fifth and sixth teams in Mountain West history to open conference play with back-to-back road games. In 2016, they also had to play three of their first four conference games on the road.
Fresno State, which returns 17 starters from a team that went 10-4 and became only the second team in FBS history to win 10 or more games the year after losing 10 or more games, opens the season on Sept. 1 against Idaho at Bulldog Stadium.
It then has back-to-back road games against Power Five opponents at Minnesota and at UCLA. The Bulldogs have a bye before playing their final non-conference game against Toledo at Bulldog Stadium on Sept. 29.
Fresno State football schedule
Sept. 1: Idaho
Sept 8: at Minnesota
Sept. 15: at UCLA
Sept. 22: Bye
Sept 29: Toledo
Oct. 6: at Nevada
Oct. 13: Wyoming
Oct 20: at New Mexico
Oct. 27: Hawaii
Nov. 3: at UNLV
Nov. 10: at Boise State
Nov. 17: San Diego State
Nov. 24: San Jose State
Dec. 1: MW championship game
Times to be announced