College Football Predictions – Fresno St Bulldogs 2019 College Football Preview
Record – 12-2
ATS – 10-4
The Bulldogs booked a Mountain West Championship, a bowl victory and their first twelve-win season in program history. They had to do it the hard way in the title game by winning in OT on the SMURF TURF in Boise. Fresno St is an amazing 22-6 in two years under the leadership of HC Jeff Tedford and have made a remarkable transformation from a 2016 team that won just a single game.
If Fresno St is going to pull off a repeat they will have to do it with a lot of new faces. Let’s see what lies ahead for the Bulldogs this year.
2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating
West Division – #2
Mountain West – #4
Fresno St Bulldogs 2019 Outlook
The Bulldogs racked up 34.6 PPG last year (#3 MW) but must move forward without their underrated and ultra-efficient QB Marcus McMaryion (69%, 25-5 TD to INT, 3,600 yards, 8 rushing TD LY). The battle for the starting QB role will be decided during fall camp and it’s hard to say what will happen at this point. The most likely options are last year’s back-up Jorge Reyna (12 attempts LY) or redshirt freshman Ben Wooldridge. Whatever the outcome, the Bulldogs are certain to take a hit in terms of QB production. The RB unit is in good shape entering the season as they return their top-two (Ronnie Rivers, Jordan Mims) who combined for 16 rushing TDs a season ago.
There are two big concerns regarding the offense. The WR corps is undergoing a reload and they will certainly miss NFL-draftee (Cardinals) KeeSean Johnson who bagged 95 catches last season for over 1,300 yards and 8 TDs. Their TE Jared Rice (2nd Team MW) will become an even more important target with a new QB under center. The Bulldogs also lose four starters from an outstanding offensive line that allowed a mere 12 sacks last season.
New OC Ryan Grubb will have his work cut out for him in year one. We expect the Bulldogs to have an offense comparable to the 2017 unit (27.1 PPG).
Fresno St has played some phenomenal defense over the past two seasons and they were exceptional in 2018 allowing a mere 14.1 PPG (#3 FBS). They were #1 in the conference in scoring defense, #1 in total defense (322 YPG) and #5 vs the run (132 YPG).
The Bulldogs lose four of their top-five tacklers from last season’s elite stop unit but have one of the best LBs in the Mountain West in Mykal Walker returning to his position. Walker was #2 on the team in stops LY and led the team with 14 TFL. The defensive line is in solid shape with three returning starters and nice size in the interior. Fresno St was excellent defending the pass a season ago as they led the Mountain West in pass efficiency D and sported a fantastic 15-19 TD to INT mark. Two starters are back in the secondary including star SS Juju Hughes who was a 2nd Team MW honoree in 2018.
The Bulldogs still own one of the premier defenses in the Mountain West but we project them to allow closer to 20 PPG (14.1, 17.9 PPG L2Y).
Things look ok. Punter Blake Cusick does an excellent job but PK Asa Fuller was just 3/9 from 40+ yards on FG attempts last year. They need to find new KRs.
Overall – Things get off to nasty start with a road trip to USC. Yikes. The rest of the docket looks pretty favorable as they miss Boise St in conference action and don’t face back-to-back road games.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at USC (August 31)
It’s a lot to ask the Bulldogs to hang with USC on the road using a new starting QB. They will be double-digit underdogs in this tilt but we will not be backing the Bulldogs in this spot.
Season Win Total
Over 8 +100
Under 8 -120
That looks about right. They still have one of the best rosters in the conference but it’s hard to know what to expect from their offense. Will take a pass on this market.
AHOY! Trivia nuggets ahead!
MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Negative
This is going to be a good test for the Bulldogs. They enter the season with a ton of lost production on both sides of the ball. HC Jeff Tedford has done a great job at Fresno St but this year will prove to be a challenge. The first two games are nasty. USC is tough to beat at home and Minnesota is a potential JUGGERNAUT in the Big Ten.
Fresno has been UNCONSCIOUS vs the point spread over the last two years booking a record of 20-6-2 ATS. WHOA NELLIE. There is no doubt that REGRESSION TO THE MEAN GUY is licking his chops and loading his betting accounts in anticipation of a Fresno St collapse. We won’t go that far, but we have a slightly negative outlook on their prospects vs Vegas this year.
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