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Fresno State Football 2022 Season Prediction, Preview, Awards, Bowl Game 2022

Even with a coaching change, Fresno State Football shouldn’t miss a beat in the 2022 season as the Bulldogs are primed to challenge at Mountain West.

Whenever Kalen DeBoer decided to leave Fresno State Football for Washington, it seemed like the Bulldogs would fall into a state of confusion. Luckily, Jeff Tedford has returned to the program and appears to be preventing that from happening.

Not only that, but he has every reason to believe the team he took over can go back to double-digit wins and potentially capture the Mountain West crown.

Coming in at #39 on the FanSided Top 50 preseason ranking is the Fresno State Bulldogs.

Fresno State Football 2021 Season Recap

In what was ultimately DeBoer’s final season with the program, he earned his chance to advance to a Power 5 league. Despite a battered quarterback that was the team’s driving force, they used a defense that was among the best in Mountain West and strong offense to reel off a 10-3 season and a 6-2 conference record .

As previously mentioned, DeBoer naturally left former head coach Jeff Tedford, who was at the helm from 2017-19, to take back the reins. That maintained the status quo for the Bulldogs and leaves the team eyeing a 2022 season where they can once again be one of the best teams at Mountain West.

Fresno State Bulldogs offense preview for the 2022 season

Returners (8): QB Jake Haener, WR Jalen Cropper, WR Josh Kelly, TE Raymond Pauwels Jr., OT Dontae Bull, OG Braylen Nelson, OC Bula Schmidt, OG Mose Vavao
Notable newcomers: WR Nikko Remigio (Cal), OL Daniel Taumalolo (College San Mateo)
striker: Jake Haener

Jake Haener toyed with the idea of ​​following DeBoer to Washington, where he actually started his career, but Tedford’s tenure convinced him to stay. Now it’s time for him to take another leap and establish himself as a legitimate NFL prospect, a plight he embarked on with a fantastic campaign last year.

He will have plenty of weapons to help him back in the fight with his top two pass catchers, Jalen Cropper and Josh Kelly, along with high hopes for Jordan Mims running back when he takes on longtime starter Ronnie Rivers. Newcomer Nikko Remigio will be a big factor as he caught 97 balls in the Pac-12 with Cal.

No matter how good Haener is, everyone needs the line that brings back four players who started six games or more in 2021 to be more consistent. Haener was beaten and unfortunately it showed at times. However, with that kind of experience and hopefully more consistency, there is at least reason for optimism about this group.

Fresno State Bulldogs defense preview for the 2022 season

Returners (7): DE David Perales, DT Leonard Payne Jr., LB Levelle Bailey, S Evan Williams, S Elijah Gates, CB Bralyn Lux, NB Justin Houston
Notable newcomers: CB Cam Lockridge (Hawaii), DT Joshua Pakola (Stanford), LB Raymond Scott (USC)
striker: Eva Williams

It was a huge leap in performance last season for the defensive side of the ball and Tedford and new/old defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, who held that position from 1997-2000, are hoping to continue the upward trend.

The driving force behind this will be a secondary returning both starting safeties – including group star and leader Evan Williams – a starting cornerback, hybrid ace in Justin Houston and several players who played significant snaps a year ago. This group should inspire confidence and may need to make up for some shortcomings beforehand.

David Perales and Leonard Payne Jr. are solid and Levelle Bailey was a banshee in midfield. However, depth on the line and at the linebacker is difficult to predict to be a bit of a nuisance, something Coyle will have to contend with if they want to be one of Mountain West’s best defenses for a second year in a row.

Fresno State Football Players Awards clock for the 2022 season

Jake Haener, Maxwell

It speaks to the 2021 season that Haener has brought up being on the Maxwell Award watch list, but it’s well deserved. If he can not only match his performance from last season, but improve on it while leading the Bulldogs to success, I wouldn’t count him for potentially earning some hardware.

Jalen Cropper, Biletnikov

Haener’s top running mate, Jalen Cropper, has lined up for the award, which honors the top wide receiver in the country. His ability to play at all levels of the field and as a veteran now with plenty of experience with Haener should make for a hugely successful campaign.

Nikko Remigio, Paul Hornung

Cal newcomer Remigio is on the watchlist for the award that honors college football’s most versatile player. That speaks volumes for him and for a player who could have a huge impact on the Bulldogs offense and possibly special teams as well.

The Fresno State Bulldogs’ biggest game on the 2022 schedule

After a non-conference schedule with two Pac-12 opponents, Fresno State will start the Mountain West game with a trip to Blue Turf to face Boise State on Oct. 8. And that will be a monumentally important duel.

With the MWC divisions abandoned, it’s huge for Tedford’s team to get ahead of the Broncos. There’s also a motivating factor at play, as the loss to Boise State was the only time the Bulldogs looked inept and inept in the 2021 season. With a potential Conference Championship spot to come as league play begins, this early October road trip will be a crucial one.

Fresno State Football Best Case Scenario

In virtually every scenario for the Bulldogs this season, a 3-1 start should be expected. UConn is a doormat, Cal Poly poses no threat, and while I like Oregon State and they’re a Power 5 team, I see Fresno State as a better team. The opposite is true when it comes to USC, but that’s still a good start leading into the Mountain West game.

With victories over San Jose State, New Mexico, Hawaii, UNLV and Wyoming likely to come without many problems, that leaves two away games in Boise State and Nevada, in addition to the swing games that will welcome San Diego State to the city . However, if you look at what Fresno State has to offer, they can win all three of those games.

That’s not the most likely scenario, but if Haener gets even better and things break right down in the trenches, the best-case scenario for Fresno State Football is a monstrous 11-1 season and an unbeaten campaign in conference play.

Fresno State Football Worst Case Scenario

In terms of best and worst cases for the 2022 season, there are some differences for Fresno State.

Let’s say Haener falls behind, DeBoer is gone, the offensive line is a problem, and the defense can’t solve the questions in the front seven. Well, that could get dicey. In that light, I think it’s at least possible for Oregon State to cut Fresno State and lead them 2-2 into the conference game that would start with a down-the-road loss to the Broncos.

We’re still giving this team surefire conference wins, but at the same time, that would really challenge San Diego State and Nevada. I don’t like what that could mean and if the problems are there from the beginning of the season all three of those games are possible losses. All things considered, this would put the Bulldogs up 7-5 on the season, so still bowling but well short of expectations.

Fresno State Football Season Prediction 2022

Full disclosure, I am a supporter of Jake Haener and think he has the goods to deliver this season. To me, the best-case scenario is far more likely than the worst-case scenario, especially given Tedford’s pedigree and history with that program.

So my previous statement on most scenarios, including a 3-1 start to the season, stands for this prediction. And by my standards, when I see how those teams stack up with Fresno State, they mostly win against Nevada and San Diego State. That leaves the Boise State game as the aforementioned biggest game of the year, but I have the Bulldogs falling short in this competition.

However, with that, Fresno State ends the year 10-2 and a 7-1 conference record, which should be good enough to give them a shot at the Mountain West Championship and a possible second attempt at defeating the Broncos.

Fresno State Football 2022 Bowl Game Prediction

Bill Bender’s latest bowl predictions at Sporting News call for the Bulldogs to face SMU on December 23 in the Gasparilla Bowl. Meanwhile, College Football News plays Fresno State against Florida Atlantic on Christmas Eve at the Easyport Hawaii Bowl.

Next: #38: Minnesota Golden Gophers

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