When attempting to break up the BCS party from a mid-major conference, the margin for error is razor thin. The Fresno State Bulldogs have done everything they have needed to do in order to bust the BCS in 2013, ranking No. 16 in the latest BCS standings ahead of a likely conference champion from an automatic qualifier (thanks to the AAC). But the month of November is treacherous and the Bulldogs must stay focused to avoid any upsets down the stretch, starting this week with a road trip to face the Wyoming Cowboys.
Historically, Fresno State has not fared well at the high altitude of Laramie and are winless in three trips to Wyoming all time, though the last time they were there was back in 1996. The Cowboys have quietly been one of the most prolific offenses in the country, ranking No. 9 in the country averaging 516.0 yards per game. Quarterback Brett Smith ranks No. 7 in the country in total offense, averaging 349.5 yards per game as he’s racked up 2,367 yards passing, 429 yards rushing and 22 total touchdowns on the year. In the right conditions, they can be a handful in a shootout.
Fresno State has already survived a number of close calls and shootouts this season. They opened the season with a 52-51 overtime win against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, held off a rally by the Hawaii Warriors in a 42-37 road win, escaped the Boise State Broncos 41-40 and needed overtime to put away the San Diego State Aztecs 35-28. While you could argue that makes this Bulldogs’ team battle-tested when things get tough, it could be that Fresno has been playing with fire all season and is due to get burned.
Wyoming isn’t a game that will jump off the schedule at you to grab your attention, especially if you’re looking ahead to a regular season finale against the San Jose State Spartans that will determine the Mountain West Conference title game like Fresno State could be. The Bulldogs can’t afford to overlook this Cowboys’ team, however, as they have been know to rise up and play their best at home. With so much at stake for Fresno, can they maintain their focus and avoid the trap game against Wyoming?