I'll be totally honest here. I have been dead wrong on Fresno State's games the past two weeks, taking the Bulldogs and the points. They got bombed in both. Let's try again: FSU is +9 on college football odds Saturday at San Diego State. The total is 56.
Fresno Can't Stop Anyone
Fresno State used to a be a fine program. It was ranked as high as 15th in the Associated Press poll in 2013 and finished 11-2 -- that team was quarterbacked by Derek Carr, who is currently having a very nice second season with the Oakland Raiders. Last year the Bulldogs finished 6-8 but did make a bowl game, losing to Southern Cal in the Las Vegas Bowl.
This year's team is a mess, on and off the field so I wonder if Coach Tim DeRuyter is feeling a bit of heat. FSU opened the season with a 34-13 win over little Abilene Christian but was rocked 73-21 at Ole Miss on Sept. 12 and 45-24 at home to Utah on Sept. 19. OK, those were two ranked teams. But last Saturday as a 5-point underdog on college football odds, Fresno was housed by a so-so San Jose State team, 49-23. The Bulldogs were outgained 543-247. San Jose State held the ball for over 15 more minutes than the Bulldogs had it and ran 19 more plays.
Now to be fair to me, when I previewed that game, I didn't know if FSU starting quarterback Zack Greenlee was going to play after an arrest. He didn't. Junior Ford Childress drew the start in place of the suspended Greenlee. He became the third quarterback to start this year for the Bulldogs, which means this is the first time since at least 1979 that the Bulldogs have started three different players at quarterback. Childress was 19 of 32 passing for 159 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
Greenlee has been reinstated and will start against San Diego State, but it won't matter if Fresno State doesn't fix its terrible defense. Childress won't be his backup as he has been lost for the season to an internal injury. Greenlee will be backed up by redshirt freshman Kilton Anderson at San Diego State and freshman walk-on Jesse Hanckel is the third-string quarterback.
Junior linebacker Brandon Hughes also returns following a one-game suspension. Receiver Da’Mari Scott had an MRI on a shoulder injury suffered during the opening kickoff against San Jose State and is questionable. Linebacker Tobenna Okeke (lower body injury) is out 2-6 weeks.
Fresno State is 1-3 against the spread on college football odds this season and 3-1 'over/under.'
SDSU Also On Three-Game Skid
San Diego State (1-3) was one of the preseason favorites in the Mountain West's Mountain Division; it finished tied atop the division last year with Fresno. And maybe the Aztecs will be fine now that non-conference play is over. Their lone win was 37-3 in the season opener against San Diego. Last Saturday, SDSU was beaten 37-21 at Penn State. The Aztecs' three turnovers -- all fumbles -- led to 21 of the Nittany Lions' 37 points.
Maxwell Smith struggled at quarterback for San Diego State, completing only 10-for-29 for 141 with a touchdowns. Donnel Pumphrey rushed 18 times for 56 yard and a score. And Mikah Holder caught four passes for 78 yards and a TD. The Aztecs had a lead against a Power 5 school for the fifth straight game. They had a touchdown in the first three quarters at a Power 5 opponent for the first time since at least 2001.
San Diego State has won six consecutive conference home games, dating back to a 35-28 loss to No. 15 Fresno State on Oct. 26, 2013. The Aztecs have won 12 straight home contests against unranked conference opponents. That is the sixth-longest active streak in the country and the longest active streak in the Mountain West. During that 12-game home conference win streak against unranked opponents, San Diego State has outscored its opposition by an average score of 34.9 to 17.5. The Aztecs are +16 in turnover margin those games.
They have lost three straight in this series. Last year it was 24-13 at Fresno. SDSU is 0-4 ATS on college football picks this year and 2-2 O/U.