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Posts Tagged ‘Fresno State’

P.S.R. 1-124: Week 4 Re-Ranking

With the weekend in the books, here’s a look at how the country ranks — using the original rankings as the starting point, with the season’s results as rationale for any movement. The top 25 teams land a one-sentence breakdown. The rest? Not so much. Part of the perks of being one of the best. Think your team is too low? Feel another team deserves more credit, less credit? Let’s hear it below. It’s a delicate ranking process, particularly with only two weeks in the books, so you may see one team ranked below a team it just beat — see Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech, for example. Don’t be alarmed. Everything will become clearer by the end of the month.

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    No. 91: Fresno State

    The Mountain West beckons. Fresno State will make the move without Pat Hill, whose once-decorated tenure jumped the shark on Nov. 19, 2005 — U.S.C. 50, Fresno 42 — and never recovered. It was the defense that left town that evening; careful searching over the years since yielded no proof of life, and it was this defensive swoon that led Fresno to hire former Texas A&M interim head coach Tim DeRuyter as Hill’s replacement. What does DeRuyter bring to the table? Consider the two issues the Bulldogs must confront come September: this abysmal defense and the program’s new conference affiliation. DeRuyter tackles both concerns in one fell swoop, thanks not just to his defensive pedigree but also with his stops in the M.W.C. along the road to the Valley. In specific, DeRuyter has worked defensive wonders at Nevada and Air Force, the former a once-and-future conference rival and the latter one of the many new impediments the Bulldogs will face as a member of the Mountain West.
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      Picture the M.W.C. in 2013 and Beyond

      Upon further review of today’s post on Colorado State, one line that I first viewed as a throwaway quote seemed worthy of future examination: “The Mountain West will have a power vacuum after this season,” I wrote, “and there’s no reason why the Rams, after one or two seasons of development, can’t be one of two or three teams capable of filling the void.” While this idea — that the Mountain West will be up for grabs beginning in 2013 — has no impact on Colorado State’s coming season, the idea that the Rams stand as one of a few teams in line to take control of this Boise State-free league come next fall is an important factor for the program to consider as it struggles through an inevitable first-year learning curve under former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain.

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        In Case of an “Unresolved Tie” in the M.W.C.

        A quick housecleaning tidbit. Last Friday’s breakdown of the Mountain West’s 2012 schedule included one still-unanswered question: What are the league’s procedures when it comes to a two-way tie atop the final conference standings among teams that don’t play in the regular season? The question was raised because the M.W.C. has 10 teams but will play an eight-game conference schedule. Therefore, a handful of would-be contenders — I cited Boise State and Air Force as one example — won’t meet during in conference play. So it’s possible, if fairly unlikely, that the final Mountain West standings could find the Broncos and Falcons, or Hawaii and Wyoming, tied for first at 8-0 in conference play.

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          For One Last Time, the M.W.C. Schedule

          It’s the end of the Mountain West as we know it, but not just yet. Come 2013, the league formerly known as the Mountain West and the league formerly known as Conference USA will merge, creating one awkwardly-named super conference. Super in size, at least. But the Mountain West will still exist in its current, non-Conference USA-affiliated form for this coming season, albeit with its own slight degree of awkwardness. Boise State and San Diego State will play out the string in the Mountain West before taking their wares to the Big East in 2013. A few of Boise’s former pals from the WAC will join the fold, but it’ll be a short-lived reunion.

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            Non-B.C.S. Teams Get Into the Recruiting Act

            You won’t find the highest-ranked non-B.C.S. conference signing class anywhere on the list of this year’s top 50 classes, according to Rivals.com. But you will find a pair of programs, Utah and T.C.U., who have clearly benefited from their new conference affiliation. The Utes’ class came in just outside the top 25, thanks in large part to an eight-man offensive line haul that help should keep Jordan Wynn clean and Kyle Whittingham happy in 2012. The Horned Frogs continued to make hay in Texas, sweeping up a number of second-level recruits that may flown in under the radar, while adding a quartet of recruits from SEC country. How would Utah and T.C.U. have done on the recruiting trail had each remained part of the non-B.C.S. conference landscape? Not as well, one would think.

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              Colorado St., McElwain’s Bird In the Bush

              Jim McElwain was close to agreeing to terms with Memphis before withdrawing his name from consideration. That wasn’t a terrible decision, even if the alternative was returning to Alabama as Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator; F.B.S. jobs don’t come along every year, but given McElwain’s career trajectory, he could probably wait for the next train. Then McElwain became one of Fresno State’s two finalists, perhaps the top choice, for the position left vacant by Pat Hill’s dismissal. Again, as at Memphis, McElwain turned the Bulldogs down.

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                Filling in the Blanks at 10 Open Spots

                Coach-heavy today, and fairly negative at that. But it’s that time of year, folks. There were 13 open jobs as of yesterday afternoon, but the night closed with a flourish: Charlie Weis to Kansas, most notably, but Notre Dame offensive coordinator Charley Molnar also agreed to terms with Massachusetts, which begins transitioning to the F.B.S. in 2012. Earlier today, Illinois hired Toledo’s Tim Beckman, who recently completed his second straight eight-win season. That leaves 10 spots yet to be filled, with some schools clearly zeroing in on a target while others flop around as names quickly drop off the board.

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.