Photo Illustration by Bryan Cole / The Collegian
The 2009 football schedule is out and for the second straight year, the Bulldogs will have seven road games in six time zones
With the 2009 schedule released Wednesday, Fresno State football coach Pat Hill didnâ€™t want to hear anything about his team playing a weak schedule.
â€œThere is no softness about our schedule at all,â€ Hill said. â€œWe donâ€™t play one of those kinds of schedules. Itâ€™s great; thatâ€™s why our kids come here, they come here to play that kind of schedule. Weâ€™re [playing on] all Saturdayâ€™s except for one Friday.â€
The upcoming football season has the Bulldogs opening with a rugged five game stretch against four teams that went to a bowl game last season.
It begins with UC-Davis at home. After that, itâ€™s a road trip to Wisconsin, then the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) opener versus Boise State at Bulldog Stadium on a Friday night.
The next two road games have Fresno State playing against Big East champion Cincinnati and then a trip to Hawaii.
â€œWell, itâ€™s tough,â€ Hill said. â€œThe first five weeks of the season are very tough games opening with UC-Davis here and then going to Wisconsin, then Boise State, Cincinnati and then Hawaii.â€
Last season, the Bulldogs did a lot of traveling with trips to Rutgers, Toledo, Louisiana Tech and Utah State. The Bulldogs will play seven road games this upcoming season, just like last year.
Joseph Edgecomb / Collegian File Photo
Either way, Hill and the Bulldogs will put in a lot of frequent flyer miles in 2009.
â€œThatâ€™s a lot of travel, theyâ€™re very good teams to open the season,â€ Hill said. â€œIt will be a real test for our young team and it will be a challenge for us.â€
The early match-up with Boise State will test to see if the Bulldogs are ready for WAC play. The game is schedule for Sept. 18.
â€œI think itâ€™s good. They [Boise State] are definitely going to be the team to beat in our conference so weâ€™ll find it out early,â€ Hill said. â€œWeâ€™re going to find out a lot about us early. Thereâ€™s still a lot of season to play and a lot of things to look forward too.â€
The first half of the season may be difficult for the â€™Dogs, but the rest of the schedule also wonâ€™t be easy, according to Hill.
â€œWeâ€™re going to have a very heavy schedule early, but we end it very tough with Nevada, Louisiana Tech and Illinois,â€ Hill said.
The season finale against Big Ten powerhouse Illinois will be the first meeting between the two schools.
One player excited about the upcoming season and the trip to Illinois is true freshman quarterback Derek Carr.
â€œI love it. We got some great games,â€ Carr said. â€œIâ€™ve never been to Champaign, Illinois so it will be fun. We want to win every game. It doesnâ€™t matter when we play everybody, weâ€™re going to come out and play our best.â€
Carr says that despite the tough schedule, no game is really marked down for the Bulldogs.
â€œThere really is no game circled,â€ Carr said. â€œEvery game is circled for us and weâ€™re going to go out and play as hard as we can each game.â€
Wide receiver Devon Wylie wants to use the tough schedule as motivation to stay healthy. Wylie missed some significant playing time after being injured against Wisconsin last season, a game where he electrified the Bulldog fans with his long reverse run and touchdown reception.
â€œIâ€™m very determined to stay healthy and Iâ€™m excited to get more reps, get more plays and contribute to the team the best I can,â€ Wylie said.
When the season opens up, Wylie and the rest of the Bulldogs are looking forward to the tough competition to set the tone for the rest of the year.
â€œPeople will say that we play up and Iâ€™m really excited to be able to play up to some big teams that people might think that we canâ€™t beat,â€ Wylie said. â€œBut Iâ€™m excited to get after them and have our team play big games against big opponents, like how we did against Wisconsin. Only, obviously, finish the game.â€