Mountain West notes: Budget crunch could make Fresno State's reign short


budget crunch could make fresno state’s reign short

It all can be a matter of perspective.

If UNLV was nationally ranked and averaging 36,248 fans to its football stadium, administrators would build a statue to coach Bobby Hauck and name the field after him.

A crowd of 37,604 showed up at Fresno State on Saturday to watch the Bulldogs beat UNLV 38-14, their second-largest attendance since 2010. But The Fresno (Calif.) Bee bemoaned that the local populace wasn’t excited enough about an undefeated and exciting team to sell out the joint.

It was a good point, and as the column mentioned, the lack of amenities don’t make Bulldog Stadium an inviting place on a Saturday night. The remodeling by Burger King and McDonald’s restaurants make those more attractive dining options.

But the 15th-ranked Bulldogs would seem to have momentum with their 6-0 start, and the possibility of Bowl Championship Series riches could help the program move forward.

Except …

Fresno State is in a budget crunch, and athletic director Thomas Boeh seemed hesitant in a Bee interview to spend a dime toward improving facilities. The extra TV money that is coming in as well as the possible BCS dough will go to pay off debts rather than invest in the program.

So Fresno State is on top of the Mountain West for now, but it might be a short stay, what with usual power Boise State constantly looking for ways to upgrade its already sparkling facilities.

That commitment to winning is a major reason Boise State has kept Chris Petersen from the BCS big boys. Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter might be tempted to leave for a bigger-money opportunity regardless of the situation, but the Bulldogs’ shortsighted approach would make such a decision even easier.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Grant Hedrick will become the first Boise State quarterback in 11 years to start because of an injury to the starter. He replaces Joe Southwick, who suffered a broken right ankle early in Saturday’s game against UNR. Southwick is expected to miss at least three games. … Colorado State is showing signs of life, but two significant streaks stand in the Rams’ way as they prepare to play at Hawaii. The Rams, who smoked Wyoming 52-22 on Saturday, have not won consecutive games under second-year coach Jim McElwain. They also are 0-5 under McElwain when flying to a destination. … San Jose State quarterback David Fales originally walked on to Wyoming but stayed for only a short time. He faces the Cowboys on Saturday. … About 350 tickets remain for the UNR-UNLV game. The series generally has drawn strong crowds but hasn’t sold out in Reno since 2003. First-year Wolf Pack coach Brian Polian wants to change the nasty tone of the rivalry, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal, telling supporters: “I hope this can be a raucous atmosphere on Saturday. And I hope that when the visitors from the South leave, I hope that they leave disappointed, but I also hope that they leave saying, ‘You know what? That Wolf Pack fan base is a classy group of people.’ ”

POWER RANKINGS

1. No. 15 Fresno State (6-0, 3-0 MW). Last game: Defeated UNLV 38-14. Next game: at San Diego State, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 52-40 in 2012.

2. Boise State (5-2, 3-1). Last game: Defeated UNR 34-17. Next game: at Brigham Young, Friday. Won 7-6 in 2012.

3. San Jose State (3-3, 2-1). Last game: Defeated Colorado State 34-27. Next game: vs. Wyoming, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 30-10 in 1997.

4. San Diego State (3-3, 2-0). Last game: Defeated Air Force 27-20. Next game: vs. Fresno State, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 52-40 in 2012.

5. Utah State (4-4, 3-1). Last game: Defeated New Mexico 45-10. Next game: vs. Hawaii, Nov. 2. Last meeting: Won 35-31 in 2011.

6. Colorado State (3-4, 1-1). Last game: Defeated Wyoming 52-22. Next game: at Hawaii, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 42-27 in 2012.

7. UNR (3-4, 2-2). Last game: Lost to Boise State 34-17. Next game: vs. UNLV, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 42-37 in 2012.

8. Wyoming (4-3, 2-1). Last game: Lost to Colorado State 52-22. Next game: at San Jose State, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 30-10 in 1997.

9. UNLV (4-3, 2-1). Last game: Lost to Fresno State 38-14. Next game: at UNR, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 42-37 in 2012.

10. New Mexico (2-5, 0-3). Last game: Lost to Utah State 45-10. Next game: at San Diego State, Nov. 2. Last meeting: Lost 35-7 in 2011.

11. Air Force (1-6, 0-5). Last game: Lost to San Diego State 27-20. Next game: vs. Notre Dame, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 59-33 in 2011.

12. Hawaii (0-6, 0-4). Last game: Lost to UNLV 39-37. Next game: vs. Colorado State, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 42-27 in 2012.

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 15 Fresno State (6-0, 3-0 MW) at San Diego State (3-3, 2-0). Fresno State can grab a stranglehold on first place. An impressive victory also helps the Bulldogs in their quest for a BCS berth.

MARK ANDERSON/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

 

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