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November 24, 2013
Fresno State jumped in the BCS
We had been warning of a possibility where the Fresno State Bulldogs were jumped by the Northern Illinois Huskies and that scenario came true tonight.
Despite hammering the New Mexico Lobos, the Bulldogs now find themselves on the outside looking in of the latest BCS standings. The voters love the Bulldogs. The Harris and USA Today Coaches Poll both had the Bulldogs at No. 13. Even the AP Poll, which has been steadily finding a way to keep the Bulldogs around No. 16, have Fresno State ahead of the Huskies.
The computers continue to show their love to the Huskies. Sagarin has the Huskies at No. 3 in his latest rankings. The lowest any computer poll has the Huskies is Anderson & Hester at No. 10. Conversely, Fresno State is no higher than No. 15 in any computer poll. One pollster, Kenneth Massey, doesn't even have the Bulldogs ranked in this week's edition.
Neither the Bulldogs nor the Huskies can expect much help this week. Fresno State wraps up their regular season against San Jose State, a 5-6 team. The Huskies will end their regular season with a game against a Western Michigan squad with one win to their 10 losses. The Broncos could conceivably do Fresno State a favor by even just keeping the score close. If Northern Illinois struggles with a team like Western Michigan, it could go a long way toward helping the Bulldogs secure that BCS berth.
Surprisingly, San Diego State beating Boise State may end up helping the Bulldogs. Voters tend to be less impressed with rematches that don't involve teams from the Southeastern Conference. As such, a conference championship game against Utah State will look a lot better than a win over a much-maligned Broncos team.
On the flip side, Northern Illinois will likely see Bowling Green or Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference Championship game. It's basically going to end up being a wash for both the Huskies and the Bulldogs. But at least people won't be tuning-out because the Bulldogs had previously beaten up on their opponent earlier in the year.
While some experts had predicted that the postponed game against Colorado wouldn't hurt the Bulldogs, it would appear that they may have undervalued its importance to the computers. Colorado wouldn't provide much help to the schedule for the Bulldogs, as they have four wins and two of them came at the expense of FCS opponents.
It's hard to see how that game against the Buffaloes serves any real world application for where these two teams ought to be at this point in the season, but it's pretty clear that it's not going to be the harmless cancellation most had previously thought. There is still time for the human voters to make a push on the Bulldogs.
Human voters find ways of rectifying things they deem unacceptable. We're not suggesting that voters are going to go out of their way to unjustly reward or punish one team, but the war between the humans and computers is contentious, at best.
Right now, like it or not, Fresno State is on the outside looking in. There's still a chance that Baylor loses one or two more. The Bears have TCU and Texas left. No doubt the Longhorns would love to spoil Baylor's homecoming in what could be the final game of Mack Brown's illustrious career.
Don't look for the Bulldogs to get any help from the loser of the Iron Bowl. Neither Auburn nor Alabama are going to drop far enough to help the Bulldogs. There's a possibility that a third loss by Stanford in the conference championship game could drop them far enough, but the voters have really loved them all season. And there's that little matter of them crushing their Pac-12 Championship opponent, Arizona State, 42-28 earlier in the season.
Of course, none of this matters unless the Bulldogs can find a way to jump the Huskies before the season is over. In the event that both the Bulldogs and the Huskies finish in the top 12, the lower-ranked team would be eligible as an at-large, but only one time has a second non-AQ been picked. The Fiesta Bowl hosted a game between TCU and Boise back in 2010. But that's an extreme longshot and it would really be anybody's guess if another bowl would be willing to do that.
There's only one thing we know for certain about the BCS and how things will shake out: we don't know anything.
Stay tuned to FSBulldogs.com for more updates on the 2013 Fresno State Bulldog season.
Josh Webb is a special contributor to FSBulldogs.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @BulldogsTwist.
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