The 'Dogs agreed to a home-and-home with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and will travel to Minneapolis on September 8, 2018, before Minnesota returns the favor by coming to Bulldog Stadium on September 7, 2019. The two teams have never faced each other before, but Minnesota has steadily improved under head coach Jerry Kill with 8-5 records the past two seasons, and Fresno State has gone just 3-7 against Big Ten opponents since 2000.
Fresno's other opponent is the UCLA Bruins, who haven't faced one another since 2008 and already had an agreement in place to square off in the Rose Bowl in 2018. The second one-off game will also take place in Pasadena, but not until September 18, 2021. UCLA owns the overall series with a 6-2 advantage, but Fresno State has won two in a row.
Says athletic director Jim Bartko, "These games reflect our future scheduling philosophy as we look to find consistency over a 10-year period where we can create opportunities to bring in necessary income for the athletic department while also being able to showcase Fresno State football across the country. We will always look to balance our schedules with a mix of big-time opponents coming into Bulldog Stadium for the Red Wave to see."
For right now, the agreements shore up the argument against whatever questions critics might have about their scheduling outside of the Mountain West, as the Bulldogs will face two Power 5 opponents in four of the next five seasons.