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WISCONSIN AT FRESNO STATE

PREDICTION AND ANALYSIS

9/13/08

In perhaps the 2nd best game of the week, Wisconsin travels west to take on Fresno State in a non conference affair. Several things point to this as a potential upset game, although with Wisconsin only favored by a deuce I guess it wouldn't be much of an upset. Fresno State and coach Pat Hill have been known for 12 years as willing to take on anyone, anywhere. Thru the years, they have done just that and have pulled off some great upsets along the way. Pat Hill is a master motivator in getting his kids to buy into the us against them mentality. The "we get no respect" approach if you will and long before this season started billed this game as the biggest game in the history of the program. Think Fresno and it's fans will be pumped?

Of course anytime a team like Fresno gets to host a BCS school like Wisconsin, it's huge. It truly is a chance for Fresno to insert itself into the national picture and earn some respect, which makes Pat Hill's motivational job kind of easy actually. Over the years Fresno has knocked off some Giants. The highest ranked team ever to come into Fresno to play a game was Oregon State back in 2001. They were ranked #10, just like Wisky is now, and left with their tail between their legs after losing to Fresno 44-24. Also in 2001, they traveled to Wisconsin and knocked off the Badgers 32-20 and then returned the following year and lost a 2 point decision. Since then they have knocked of Kansas State, lost a close shootout to USC and almost beat them while USC was ranked #1, almost beat Oregon twice and had a few 9+ win seasons.

But a closer look also shows us that Fresno hasn't always been competitive against big time programs. During this time there have also been some lopsided losses. Tennessee, Oklahoma, Boise, Hawaii, LSU and Oregon all beat Fresno comfortably. In fact they have lost more games to big time programs than they have one, so perhaps the wins get magnified and the losses kind of get swept under the rug.  While they are a dangerous team, it's not as if they have a spotless record of upsetting big schools, or for that matter even playing them close.

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Certainly when looking at their schedule a year ago, there's nothing to suggest that they are a force to be reckoned with judging from having been in shootouts with teams like Nevada, Idaho and Utah State. Of course the schedule is always the knock on teams like Fresno and always will be, magnifying the importance of these opportunities.

Wisconsin not exactly dominant a year ago either. A good year, but not great. They had their share of shootouts as well, with the likes of Mich State and Illinois and didn't put away teams they should have. Since both return a large number of starters, judging from last year, the door would seem to be open for Fresno here. Can't tell much from either teams performances so far this year as Wisky beat two cupcakes and we really don't know who good, or bad, Rutgers is yet.

We've already mentioned the emotional angle here. Motivational edges in college ball are huge. But there can also be a downside at times. There are times when the motivation isn't enough to last 60 minutes and talent takes over. We've all heard of the story about the 90 lb woman who was able to lift a car off the ground to save her child. That same woman could never repeat that feat under normal circumstances. Well, we're going to use that approach here. We simply aren't certain about the Fresno talent level. It's possible that once the adrenalin wears off and the talent on the field takes over, Fresno may have a tough time dealing with Wisconsin's size. Getting pounded by 300 pounders all day long can have that kind of affect.

But there's no doubt that Fresno will be sky high to start the game under that state, could probably play with anyone in the country for 15 or 30 minutes. So we're going to make two small 1* plays here on the 1st quarter and the 1st half.

1* Fresno pk -110 over Wisconsin 1st quarter

1* Fresno pk -105 over Wisconsin 1st half

 

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