What the latest BCS ranking means for Fresno State

FRESNO, Calif.

One day after the Bulldogs pounded New Mexico to remain undefeated, Northern Illinois University jumped ahead of Fresno State in the national computer rankings. That means the Bulldogs have now taken a backseat to the Huskies for a chance at one of the nation's top big money bowl games.

Because of Bowl Championship Series rules, it's likely only one of the teams will go to a BCS game, even if both teams remain undefeated.

Brad Edwards, a BCS analyst for ESPN, says the BCS standings take into account two national polls and a combination of six computer analyses. The polls put the Bulldogs over the Huskies, but the computers gave the upper hand to Northern Illinois.

"The computers are only one-third of it," Edwards said. "The polls are two-thirds of it which shows you how big the gap is in the computers to offset what the polls show. The reason why is that Fresno state has played one of the weakest schedules in all of college football."

Edwards says the many of the Bulldogs opponents have had down seasons, which doesn't help Fresno State.

"At the time, Rutgers looked like a decent win," Edwards said of the Fresno State's game one win in overtime. "Right now Rutgers is just struggling to stay bowl game eligible."

While Northern Illinois University's schedule isn't exceptionally strong, many models put it higher than Fresno State.

Paul Ladwig, Senior Associate Director with Fresno State Athletics, say Fresno State is looking for its first BCS appearance.

"In the sense of this community, this university, this athletic department - this football team to go a BCS bowl game (would be) huge," he said, "It's the biggest stage in college football."

A BCS bowl game would offer about a $17 million payout.

"When they talk about a 17 million dollar bowl, schools don't get 17 million," Ladwig explained. "Whether it's us or another school, the money goes to the conference and the other schools get their chunk of the BCS money."

Brad Edwards says, now it will be tough for Fresno State to jump Northern Illinois in the standings, because the computers give NIU the upper hand over Fresno State.

"It looks like Northern Illinois has a considerable advantage," Edwards said. "The one thing I think could be a factor is that Northern Illinois played in a bowl game last year, and while they didn't embarrassed, they also they also didn't come close to beating Florida State and there might be a lot of people out there who might want to see someone else have a shot this year."

But for that to happen, the Bulldogs will have to make considerable gap in the national polls between them and the Huskies.

"When you consider that they're already several spots ahead of them that would be unlikely," Edwards explained.

Fresno State has one more regular season game, and a conference championship game to convince the pundits and the computers, they deserve to play in a BCS game.

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