Fresno State added a big time opponent to its 2017 football schedule with the addition of Alabama Crimson Tide to the schedule, according to the Fresno Bee. This is, of course, a one-time game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and will pay the Bulldogs a much needed payday of $1.4 million.
Fresno State was known for under Pat Hill to play any team, any where, but the results were not there. The Bulldogs scheduling strategy has changed a bit since Hill was let go, but adding big games, even for money, can have its benefits for the football team in playing a power program like Alabama.
“To me, it’s something that makes it exciting in the offseason,” head coach Tim DeRuyter said. “They know, ‘Hey, not only are we competing for a Mountain West championship, we’re also going after some of the best teams in the country be it on the West Coast or wherever.’
“If we continue to develop our program the way we want to develop it, we’d like to think we can compete against those teams. Now, in any given year, those teams might be one of the top 10 teams in the country, and we realize that. But we also want to build to where we can go toe-to-toe with those guys.”
A win over Alabama would do wonders for the Bulldogs program, but this particular game is 100 percent that Fresno State needs the money, and if they can pull off an unlikely upset that would be an added bonus. Fresno State's finances are not great since they are bringing in zero monies from their 2015 non-conference schedule.
"We need to net $1 million a year and this year we're at zero," new athletic Jim Bartko said via the Fresno Bee. "You go from $1.2 million last year to zero this year — and when I say zero that means what we're getting paid to go to Ole Miss and BYU is the same amount we're paying Abilene Christian and Utah to come here.
"We can't have that. For our conference, we have to be around $1 million a year. If we can schedule the next 10 years out, where we know we're getting a $1 million a year net, then you can budget much easier."
Not to go off topic, but how much is Fresno State paying Abilene Christian to cause their net money from their non-conference schedule to be at zero for this next season?
Fresno State's scheduling goal is to play two teams who rank in the top-40 to be able to generate the needed $1 million per year. Look for the Bulldogs to play two Power Five schools per year, likely on the road more often than not, a peer Group of Five team and a FCS team from time to time.
A date for this game against Alabama is not set, but the addition of the Crimson Tide wraps up Fresno State's 2017 non-conference slate.The Bulldogs are opening the season at home against Incarnate Word on Sept. 2, visit Washington on Sept. 16 and host BYU on Nov. 4.
That 2017 schedule should bring in $2 million for the Fresno State program, assuming there are no changes.