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    Fresno State Bulldogs Look to Defend Mountain West Crown

    By Lucas M.

    The Fresno State Bulldogs are one of the most unheralded football teams in the country. However, they made some serious noise last year in head coach Tim DeRuyter’s first season as coach, rolling to a 9-4 record and a conference title. However, the team finished the season with a horrendous 43-10 loss to SMU in the Hawaii Bowl, and looks to avoid the same late season collapse that plagued them last year.

    “Part of our mantra this year is 9-4 is not good enough — not for this year’s team,” DeRuyter said. “To me, this team is capable of winning every single game. If you go into a season that 9-4 is OK, I think you’re doing a disservice to your team.

    “Now, going out and saying we have the potential to go 12-0, that doesn’t mean we’re going to do it. We’ve got to go out and prove it. You’ve got to have some breaks along the way. Our key guys have got to stay healthy. But this team is very capable of it, and I have no problem challenging our guys with that.”

    The Bulldogs retained most of their key coaches and many of their key players, including senior QB Derek Carr, brother of former number one-overall pick David Carr. The transition from last year to this year should be smooth, with Carr expected to be one of the best QBs in the country.

    “Any time you go into a second year of a system, you make a quantum leap of efficiency,” DeRuyter said. “Players (know) what they did right and what they did wrong in the offseason (and) really grow and build and develop. … “Both sides of the ball are extremely confident. When you’ve got a core nucleus of seven or eight starters on either side of the ball, that familiarity in the systems and with each other, having success to validate it, does nothing but help your confidence.”

    “We all know the potential of this team,” DeRuyter said. “Part of the thing is, we’ve got to ignore a lot of the noise that’s out there. We didn’t do a good job of that last December when people told us how good we were for winning the Mountain West championship. We didn’t handle that very well. I need to do a better job keeping some of that noise away from some of our guys. We’re doing a better job of that this year. They realized they touched that stove. They don’t want to go there again anymore.”

    Here are all the odds for the Mountain West Conference this season. Fresno State is predicted by Vegas to finish second in the conference. All odds come courtesy of Bovada.lv.

    Odds to win the 2013-2014 Mountain West Conference     

    • Boise State                  7/5
    • Fresno State                2/1
    • Utah State                   11/2
    • San Diego State          13/2
    • San Jose State             10/1
    • Colorado State                        33/1
    • Nevada                        33/1
    • Air Force                     40/1
    • Hawaii                         40/1
    • Wyoming                    40/1
    • New Mexico               100/1
    • UNLV                         100/1

    Odds to win the 2013-2014 Mountain West Conference – Mountain Division        

    • Boise State                  2/5
    • Utah State                   11/4
    • Colorado State                        12/1
    • Air Force                     15/1
    • Wyoming                    15/1
    • New Mexico               40/1

    Odds to win the 2013-2014 Mountain West Conference – West Division   

    • Fresno State                5/7
    • San Diego State          11/4
    • San Jose State             9/2
    • Nevada                        12/1
    • Hawaii                         14/1
    • UNLV                         40/1