Just what Fresno State coach Pat Hill wanted: a short week of preparation for a road game after an emotional, one-point loss.
And that’s without mentioning the Bulldogs’ opponent: No. 3 Boise State.
After narrowing the gap on TCU for third in the BCS standings, the Broncos (9-0, 5-0 WAC) will try to extend the nation’s longest winning streak tonight when they host Fresno State (6-3, 4-2).
Oregon, Auburn and TCU – the trio ranked ahead of Boise State in the BCS standings – all have the weekend off, leaving the national stage and the opportunity to impress voters and computers to the Broncos. They get that chance against the Bulldogs, who are still stinging from last Saturday night’s 35-34 loss to No. 19 Nevada.
And it serves as Boise State’s final tuneup before traveling to Nevada on Nov. 26, expected to be the Broncos’ biggest challenge to a perfect regular season.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen actually likes the Broncos’ loaded schedule this month, which has already included games against Hawaii and Idaho.
“I think that’s what it’s all about. You’re playing for championships late in November,” Petersen said.
There’s still that little thing called the BCS certainly keeping the Broncos focused, even though no one in blue and orange talks about it openly. After beating state rival Idaho last week 52-14 on a Friday night, a number of Boise State players were asked what they planned to do with a Saturday off.
The typical response, “watch a game or two.”
What they saw was a trio of near upsets that almost left Boise State with a path to the national title game. But Oregon, Auburn and TCU escaped with victories, leaving the Broncos needing help from others if a national title game appearance is in the offing.
Not that the Broncos would even admit for a second to knowing where they stand from a national perspective.
“I like it this way, late in November, it’s kind of the exciting time for college football. It’s kind of like high school in a way where you’ve got a playoff system for the WAC championship,” Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore said. “You take it one game at a time and progress and see what happens in the end.”
Even though the Broncos and Bulldogs split conferences next year, with Boise State headed to the Mountain West and Fresno State in the WAC for one more season, the schools made sure one of their nonconference openings was filled by continuing the matchup.
“I was there in 1984 when we beat them on a green field and to see the changes in Boise State over the last 25 years, or the last five or six years is really unbelievable,” Hill said. “I have a lot of respect for how they do things and what they do.”