Fresno State cracked into the Associated Press Top 25 rankings this week, but head coach Jeff Tedford is pumping the brakes on the hype as conference play starts on Saturday.
Tedford’s message was clear during his Monday press conference: “It really doesn’t mean anything right now. Really at the end of the year is what matters.”
The big picture: Fresno State won its first four games, sweeping its nonconference schedule, which included two wins over Power 5 schools in Purdue and Arizona State.
- While the Bulldogs are off to an 0-4 start, they open up their Mountain West Schedule on Saturday by hosting Nevada. The Wolfpack are on the other end of the spectrum, having limped out of the gate to an 0-4 start.
- Further, Fresno State is currently in the midst of a 13-game win streak dating back to last year, the second-longest winning streak in the nation behind reigning national champion Georgia.
- Nevada, on the other hand, has lost its last 14 games in a row, which included an 0-8 record in the Mountain West last year and a 41-14 loss to Fresno State.
- The Wolfpack opened up 2023 with a 66-14 loss at USC, only to return home the following week against FCS school Idaho and get stomped 33-6. Nevada battled close with Kansas, losing 31-24 and then led Texas State 17-0 at halftime before falling apart for a 35-24 loss.
What they’re saying: Despite Nevada’s 0-4 record, Tedford, as usual, isn’t downplaying the conference opener.
- “You’ve got to bring your A game every week in the conference,” Tedford said. “People are extra motivated for conference play, so you know you’re going to get everybody’s best shot.”
- He compared the team’s position this year to the 1-4 start last year, when the Bulldogs faced injuries and tough losses only to catapult themselves to an undefeated record the rest of the way.
- “Really when you’re 4-0, that can be even more challenging than 1-4, because of expectation and everybody patting you on the back and all that type of thing,” Tedford said. “It’s human nature to get in your comfort zone, so we have to do our best to stay out of that. We’re just going to go to work each week, one day at a time and just try to continue to get better every week.”