FRESNO, Calif. - The 2011 Bulldog football schedule was finalized today when the Western Athletic Conference announced the league schedule for the coming season.
Fresno State's upcoming docket features 13 games and is being considered one of the best in the program's 89-year history.
The Bulldog non-conference schedule features opponents from the Big Ten, Pac 12, SEC and Mountain West Conferences.
Fresno State will open the season on Sept. 3 against the Cal Bears at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. It will be just the third meeting between the two schools with Fresno State holding a 2-0 lead in the series. Fresno State won the last meeting 17-3 in 2000 at Bulldog Stadium. The telecast and kickoff time will be announced in the coming weeks.
Because Fresno State plays at Hawai'i this season, it is eligible to play 13 regular season games. The Dogs will play six home games, six on the road and one neutral site game. Fresno State has not played 13 regular season games since 2003. Of the 13 games, nine will be within a reasonable driving distance of Fresno, eight in California, plus the WAC game at rival Nevada on October 22.
"This is a tough schedule no doubt," said head coach Pat Hill. "We are really looking forward to it. It's great for our fans with nine local games. Having Ole Miss and Boise State at home is great for our non-WAC schedule. We are looking forward to the season opener at Candlestick Park against Cal. Our players are really excited about the season. They have been working hard in the off season and spring practices and they are eager to take the Bulldog football program from good to great. Playing this kind of schedule is big-time and what they signed up for."
The Bulldogs will host three non-conference opponents, two which have never played in Fresno. North Dakota invades Bulldog Stadium on Sept. 16 for the home opener and then the Dogs host back-to-back games against Ole Miss of the SEC and No. 10 Boise State on Oct. 1 and Oct. 7, respectively. The Rebels will be the first team from the SEC to play in Bulldog Stadium. Fresno State lost at Ole Miss 55-38 last season in the first meeting between the two schools.
Fresno State will travel to Nebraska for the first-ever meeting with the Cornhuskers on Sept. 10. That begins a series that will see the Huskers return to Bulldog Stadium Sept. 13, 2014. Nebraska won the Big 12 North last season and lost to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game. The Huskers are heading to the Big Ten Conference beginning next season.
Fresno State opens the WAC schedule on Sept. 24 at Idaho.
The toughest stretch of the WAC schedule will be back-to-back road games at New Mexico State and Hawai'i in mid-November. Those are the two longest conference trips of the season for the Bulldogs, who will travel over 6,600 combined miles for those games.
The Dogs will close the season on Dec. 3 at San Diego State. The Bulldogs and Aztecs have not played since 2002, a 16-14 Fresno State win at Bulldog Stadium. The two schools will be conference members beginning in 2012 when Fresno State joins the Mountain West Conference. The game will be played at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Fresno State and San Diego State have played 50 times in a series that began in 1923. The Aztecs were 9-4 last season and made their first bowl appearance since 1998. SDSU defeated Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl in its own stadium.
As of Monday, one Bulldog game has been selected for national television. The Dogs will play Boise State on Friday, Oct. 7, at 6 p.m. on ESPN. The remainder of the WAC ESPN television schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.
2011 Fresno State Football Schedule
Date Opponent (Time)
Sept. 3 vs. California at San Francisco, Calif. (TBA)
Sept. 10 at Nebraska (TBA)
Sept. 17 North Dakota (7 p.m.)
Sept. 24 at *Idaho (TBA)
Oct. 1 Mississippi (7 p.m.)
Oct. 7 Boise State (6 p.m./ESPN)
Oct. 15 *Utah State (7 p.m./HOMECOMING)
Oct. 22 at *Nevada (TBA)
Nov. 5 *La Tech (5 p.m.)
Nov. 12 at *New Mexico State (TBA)
Nov. 19 at *Hawai'i (TBA)
Nov. 26 *San Jose State (5 p.m.)
Dec. 3 at San Diego State (TBA)