Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, you’re about to get paddled by the Team of a Thousand Possibilities.
Rarely before has the Fresno State football team looked this good coming off Labor Day. Hardly before has the schedule set up so well into November.
Want to dream big? These Bulldogs are just the team.
With Marcus McMaryion back in the pocket, and KeeSean Johnson back in the route tree lanes, and Jeff Tedford still in the headset, Fresno State has every opportunity to do what no Fresno State team has done hitherto.
Run the calendar, all the way to a parking spot in whatever it is they’re calling BCS bowl games these days.
No, we’re not day drinking, and we’re not even daydreaming. The Bulldogs have the makings that good, and a path that negotiable, to be the best un-big school in the land.
It starts today with a play date at Minnesota, a good but not great Big Ten team. Then, it’s off to revisit good-but-not-great-yet UCLA, followed by a home dance against Toledo.
Pull off three straight wins, and that is so doable for this team, and they get to hang half a hundred on an over-easy Mountain West Conference schedule from here to the season finale at No. 20 Boise State.
That game won’t just be for all the marbles. It’ll go for the entire playground.
Last year’s Bulldogs didn’t go from 1-11 to 10-4 by trying to go 10-4. Fresno State had the bounce-back season of the ages by leaving tomorrow’s chores for another day. Those Bulldogs tackled the present tense with a maniacal fervor and, when all was said and done, they constructed the biggest turnaround in the history of ever.
These Bulldogs will be no different, and by being no different, will have a different record than last season, because that’s how staying the course works.
This schedule isn’t doomed with road games at No. 1 Alabama and Fiesta Bowl-bound Washington. This schedule also shouldn’t make the Bulldogs play at Boise State twice if they can beat the Broncos but once.
Of course the Bulldogs can lose an unloseable game at UNLV and ruin this entire narrative. After all, if an undefeated Derek Carr team can lose to San Jose State in 2013, any team can find the business end of a sinkhole.
Anything can happen, and with this team, that’s the point. Anything actually can happen.
They can thunder the Golden Gophers on Saturday. They can beat the Pac 10-issued referees at UCLA next time out. They can win at Boise State for the first time since Boise State was Boise State as we know them.
They are the 2004 Bulldogs, with a more versatile quarterback. They are the 2001 Bulldogs, with less element of surprise. They are the 2017 Bulldogs, without the Tedford Way learning curve.
How about them Bulldogs? We’re about to see.