The last of a dying breed

Many Fresno State fans believe the Bulldogs’ greatest rival resides in Boise, Idaho, but try looking in our own state.

Boise State may be the team that Fresno State fans love to hate, but statistically, the Bulldogs’ top foe is just north of the Valley in the Bay Area.

The Bulldogs will lock horns with the San Jose State Spartans this Saturday for the 74th time in program history – by far the most times Fresno State has played any opponent.

And although Fresno State has won 14 out of the last 15 meetings dating back to 1991, the all-time series is still relatively close with the Bulldogs leading the Spartans 37-33-3.

When it comes to football in California, Fresno State has definitely established itself as a top program.

Of course there is USC, Cal, Stanford and UCLA, but Fresno does not receive even near the same amount of financial support that these BCS institutions do.

Although they are a mid-major, the Bulldogs’ program is just below Pac-10 status, but what the heck happened to the rest of our state?

Besides the four Pac-10 schools and Fresno State, California college football has taken a serious dive.

There are currently 33 public universities in the Golden State and only nine of them sport football programs.

Moreover, Fresno State, San Jose State and San Diego State are the only California State Universities that house Division I football programs.

Cal Poly, UC Davis  and Sacramento State have I-AA football teams and Humboldt State in Arcata fields a Division II squad.

On average, Fresno State only gets to play an intrastate foe once a year.

There used to be a time when Fresno State was playing schools like Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara and Pacific on a yearly basis.

Think how much that would save on travel fees. Not exactly Louisiana Tech and Hawaii.

All of those teams are still in the same conference with the Big West, but their football programs have been cut.

Even Division II CSUs have had to eliminate football teams, including San Francisco State, Sonoma State, Chico State and Stanislaus State.

The biggest obstacle for these athletic programs is meeting Title IX requirements.

Fielding a football team requires a ton of money and, according to Title IX, whatever money you spend on male sports you have to equal that for female athletics.

So the fact that Fresno is still able to hold on to its football team (at the expense of men’s soccer and wrestling) is a blessing for Bulldog fans.

I know that Fresno State’s athletic program was one of the major selling points for me when I visited the campus.

There aren’t too many chances to get the “real college experience” anymore and if there are you have to sell your soul to the devil to afford it.

Most schools in the CSU system have received the label of “commuter schools” where the majority of students could care less about campus life or athletics.

An athlete that I know at Sacramento State said to me that there is absolutely no support from students and the majority of fans at their games are fellow athletes.

I’m not a Fresno native so I have a different perspective than many students on campus, but I think our school is lucky.

We have first-class athletic facilities on campus (not like San Diego State students that have to drive to Qualcomm Stadium), the community cares about the university and, thanks to Pat Hill, our schedule reflects that of a Division I university.

Sure, some think the football team has underachieved lately, but at least we have a team to complain about.

The only thing most schools in our state have to look forward to in the fall is the homecoming soccer game – no offense, but I’d rather watch paint dry.

Division I sports, great education and most of us won’t be paying student loans until we’re 30 – Fresno State is the best deal around!

Saturday’s CSU vs. CSU clash is a rarity. Thankfully, we’re one of the only ones left to enjoy it.

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