David White

We don’t need Top 25 and a big bowl. Just enjoy these Bulldogs for what they are: good

Fresno State football head coach Jeff Tedford doesn’t worry about Top 25 rankings – and neither should you, columnist David White says.
Fresno State football head coach Jeff Tedford doesn’t worry about Top 25 rankings – and neither should you, columnist David White says. ezamora@fresnobee.com

The Fresno State football program is not a Top 25 team, no matter how loud its sycophants scream otherwise into the wireless keyboard.

Because, a Week 2 loss at Minnesota, that’s why.

It doesn’t mean the Bulldogs won’t have a dazzling season, with winter plans for a 14th game in December.

It just means this year won’t be dreamy, if you’re going to insist dreamy means Top 25 rankings and a timeshare near the Fiesta Bowl. If missing that mark fails to meet your expectations, it’s only because you expect too much.

Top 25 teams don’t lose to teams like Minnesota, which lose to teams like Iowa, which lose to teams like Temple, which lose to teams like Villanova, which lose to teams like Stony Brook, which sounds like a gated community in north Fresno.

So what?

These Bulldogs are an entertaining bunch to watch. They’ll win a bunch of games, conquer their meandering conference and play in a decent bowl game.

It’s time for really good to be good enough again. You know, like back in the ’90s before anything short of BCS was bust for a program that has never, in fact, been to a BCS game or its ensuing iterations.

Instead of complaining about what Fresno State should be, maybe one can just enjoy what they actually are – a team that does not need Top 25 votes to give them intrinsic value.

Bulldogs coach Jeff Tedford doesn’t care that his team isn’t getting the votes. Why should you?

Their chances of crashing the Big Bowl Games are none and more none. They are too out of the rankings, and too deep into the season, with too unformidable of a schedule between now and then to climb the rope.

The writers’ poll has allotted them zero votes. The coaches have afforded Fresno State all of one vote in its Top 25 popularity contest.

They can only ride that win against winless UCLA so far. And, if you think punching the clock through Wyoming, New Mexico and Hawaii this month is going to leapfrog them to the cover of Sports Illustrated, you deserve all the disillusionment that overextended credit can buy.

Here is how this season is going to play out, if it plays out at all.

Assuming Fresno State beat Wyoming in Saturday’s late-night rodeo – and that assumes a lot – the Tedfordites can get to 7-1 without gaining another vote in the polls.

They’ve got to beat a UNLV team that spoiled their apples last year. Then, they’ve got to win at Boise State for the first time since 1984. Then, they’ve got to beat a San Diego State team that hasn’t won in Boise since last week.

Even if they pull all of that off, they can still lose the curtain dropper at San Jose State. Just ask Derek Carr and the 16th-ranked Bulldogs of 2013.

See? In-season rankings mean nothing. You may as well do what these Bulldogs have been doing ever since Tedford came home. Put your head down, plug away and don’t look up until the season’s done.

Chances are, you’re going to see 10 wins on the board. Good enough for those of us who know a good thing when we see one.

David White: bydw@sbcglobal.net, @bydavidwhite

Three-point stance

1. Stop calling the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw the best pitcher of his generation, unless the word “pitcher” is in juxtaposition to the term “regular season.” He’s 8-8 in the postseason after Friday’s loss in Milwaukee. Five runs in three innings? Blame the catcher all you want, but Kershaw gave up a home run to a pitcher. Unless that pitcher was Madison Bumgarner, save it.

2. Don’t think of the Nov. 1 game between the Raiders and the 49ers as a waste of prime-time television. The victor gets the inside-track to the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 Draft. Only the loser stands to win … how delicious is that?

3. All condolences to Darin Preisendorf, the only four-time conference champion in Fresno State wrestling history. The former heavyweight was surrounded by friends and family at the memorial service for his wife Marifi “Murphy” Preisendorf in Visalia on Friday. Days like this always put the playing of games in their proper context.