FRESNO, Calif. - - Football fans ready for the 2009 Fresno State season are in for a treat. In announcing the upcoming football schedule, Fresno State also announced that season ticket prices will not increase for the 2009 season.
Fresno State hosts two games in the first three weeks of the season, and within the first month, plays three teams that went to bowl games in 2008 (Wisconsin, Boise State and Cincinnati).
The Dogs are coming of a season that saw them go to a bowl game for the ninth time in 10 years. Head coach Pat Hill enters his 13th season with the program.
Fresno State opens the season at home on Sept. 5 against UC-Davis, members of the Great West Football Conference. The Bulldogs have not played the Aggies since 1952 and own an 11-5-1 all-time record in the series. Under long-time coach Bob Biggs, the Aggies have won 10 games or more five times in 16 seasons. UC Davis upset Stanford in 2005 and will also be playing Boise State this season.
After opening the season at home, Fresno State takes to the road for a non-conference game at Wisconsin. The Bulldogs and Badgers have played three memorable games this decade, including last season in Bulldog Stadium. Wisconsin played Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl last season. The Bulldogs played at Wisconsin in 2001, beating the Badgers 32-20. The Badgers kicked a last-second field goal to edge the Dogs 23-21 in the 2002 season opener.
The highlight of the home schedule is a Friday night nationally televised game against defending WAC champion Boise State on Sept. 18. The Broncos finished the 2008 season with a 12-1 record and were ranked 13th in the final USA Today Coaches' Poll.
The Bulldogs return to the road the following week at Cincinnati. The Bearcats, champions of the Big East Conference, had a record of 11-3 and were 17th in the final 2008 coaches' poll. Cincinnati played ACC Champion Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. This will be the first meeting between the two schools and Cincinnati will play in Bulldog Stadium on Sept. 18, 2010.
"That will be a really tough four-game stretch," said Hill. "Traveling to the Midwest for two games will be great. Both Wisconsin and Cincinnati have talent and they are the types of non-conference teams we like to play. We are excited to open the season at home with UC Davis. That's a great game for California college football. Playing Boise State that early in the season at home on ESPN will also bring a lot of excitement and exposure for our university."
The Dogs get a week off after the Cincinnati game before their first WAC road trip, at Hawaii on Oct. 10.
The Bulldogs host rival San Jose State for Homecoming on Oct. 17. The Dogs and Spartans will renew their long-standing rivalry that dates back to 1921. Fresno State leads the all-time series 37-33-3 and has won 13 of the last 14 games, including last season at Spartan Stadium.
Fresno State plays at New Mexico State on Oct. 24. The Aggies are under the direction of new coach Dwayne Walker, former UCLA defensive coordinator.
The Utah State Aggies, under new coach Gary Anderson, will come to campus on Halloween. Anderson is taking over the program after being the defensive coordinator at Utah the last few seasons. The Bulldogs and Aggies will kickoff at 2 p.m. on Oct. 31.
Two challenging road trips are on the schedule after the Utah State game, as the Bulldogs head to Idaho and Nevada in back-to-back games, Nov. 7 and Nov. 14, respectively.
Louisiana Tech, the reigning Independence Bowl Champion, travels to Fresno State on Nov. 21 to close the WAC and home schedule for the 2009 season. La Tech was one of the most improved teams in the WAC in 2008 and beat Fresno State last season.
Fresno State concludes the regular season Dec. 5 at Illinois, its second Big Ten road opponent on the season. The Bulldogs and Fighting Illini have never played. Illinois is the only Big Ten school with a home game on that day.
"To finish the regular season with such a high-profile non-conference game is something new for us," said Hill. "I think the schedule works out well for us and having two bye weeks will help our team as we go through such a tough schedule."
The Bulldogs have one EPSN game per the Western Athletic Conference agreement and the WAC is expected to announce at least six more football games on the ESPN networks. Once ESPN has announced those games, the Bulldog Sports Network will make its selections for broadcast.
Due to the Big Ten television agreement, the game times for both the Wisconsin and Illinois game time, as well as any television being provided for those games, will be released at a later date. In addition, Cincinnati will announce its television coverage and kickoff time at a later date.
Beginning Wednesday, April 1, Bulldog fans can order their season tickets and for the exciting 2009 season.