FRESNO, Calif. — Now comes the easy part for Fresno State — or so it appears on paper.
The 10th-ranked Bulldogs have captured the nation's attention this fall with impressive victories over Colorado, Oregon State and Wisconsin. Quarterback David Carr has stamped himself as a prime contender for the Heisman Trophy, even becoming the first Fresno State athlete to make the cover of Sports Illustrated.
The Bulldogs are in the national spotlight, but staying there will be difficult. For the rest of the season, Fresno State will play with the knowledge it could lose its hope for a BCS spot even with a less-than-convincing victory.
As the nation's big programs move into high-profile conference schedules, Fresno State is tending to its slate of relatively meek WAC opponents, continuing on Saturday night against Louisiana Tech in a matchup of Bulldogs against Bulldogs.
"We've just got to keep winning. If we keep winning, good things are going to happen," Fresno State coach Pat Hill said.
"We're No. 10 in the nation because people believe we are a good football program. Fresno State, in the eyes of the people who vote, is a legitimate football team. We've just got to keep playing and get better each week."
Fresno State's 16-game home winning streak — the third-longest in the nation — goes on the line for the first time since the Bulldogs upset then-No. 10 Oregon State four weeks ago. Bulldog Stadium is sold out for homecoming.
Louisiana Tech will have its hands full against Carr, who passed for 318 yards and three TDs in Fresno State's 37-18 win at Tulsa last week.
To remain in an improbable hunt for a BCS bid, Fresno State (4-0, 1-0 WAC) must keep winning big while hoping for a lot of help along the way.
That's why the Bulldogs will be cheering for No. 19 Oregon State as it goes up against 12th-ranked UCLA on Saturday. Every time the Beavers win, they'll boost Fresno State's strength-of-schedule rating in the complicated BCS formula.
Louisiana Tech hasn't played since a 30-23 loss at Oklahoma State on Sept. 8.