Every year, a non-BCS program does their best to crash the party and bust into a BCS bowl game. This season, it looks like the Fresno State Bulldogs are making a run towards busting in and getting bowl game against the big boys. At 8-0, the Bulldogs are the highest ranked non-BCS program in the country and are on the verge of qualifying for a BCS bowl game. Can they finish strong and get a big pay-day this bowl season?
For a non-BCS team to get a BCS bowl big, they must be ranked No. 16 or better in the BCS standings and rank ahead of one of the conference champions from an automatic qualifying conference. In this week’s BCS rankings, Fresno has reached No. 16, fulfilling one part of the requirement. The other part is being taken care of by the AAC, where the Louisville Cardinals and Central Florida Knights are favored to win the conference and currently rank No. 20 and No. 21 in the BCS standings, respectively.
The Bulldogs now just need to finish out the season strong. They’ve got three regular season games against the Wyoming Cowboys (4-4), New Mexico Lobos (2-6) and the San Jose State Spartans (5-3) before a likely rematch with the Boise State Broncos (6-3) in the Mountain West Conference Championship game. If they win out, it should be enough to secure their spot ahead of Louisville and UCF and keep them ahead of the other non-BCS party crasher, the No. 18 Northern Illinois Huskies.
NIU, who made it to the BCS last season as the big party crasher, has been dominating in the MAC this season but lack any significant wins against quality opponents. Their conference schedule has been extremely soft, missing out on the only three teams in the East Division with wining records. They still have showdowns with the Ball State Cardinals (8-1) and Toledo Rockets (6-3) before meeting up with the champion of the other division (right now the Buffalo Bulls lead the race) in the conference title game.
But those wins won’t be enough to close the gap on Fresno State, more than likely. If the Bulldogs keep winning, they’ll keep NIU in their rear-view down the home stretch and keep the Huskies from getting back to the BCS in 2013. As the season winds down, can the Bulldogs finish strong and crash the final BCS party?