SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter gave his players ear plugs early in the season to tune out any outside noise about BCS standings or anything else out of their control.
Never was that more important than this week when the 16th-ranked Bulldogs prepared to wrap up a perfect regular season by winning at San Jose State on Friday.
"If you start worrying about the end result, we'll get distracted," DeRuyter said.
One day after celebrating the clinching of a spot in the Mountain West title game, the Bulldogs (10-0, 7-0) were greeted with the news that they fell one spot in the BCS standings to 16th and Northern Illinois jumped two spots to 14th.
To qualify for a BCS bowl, Fresno State needs to finish ahead of the Huskies and either place in the top 12 of the BCS standings or top 16 if they are ahead of a champion from an automatic qualifying conference. Central Florida is in position to win the American Athletic Conference auto-bid, but is 19th in the latest standings.
Instead of feeling slighted, the Bulldogs quickly shrugged off the news and began preparing to face the Spartans (5-6, 4-3).
"If we let what the polls or people say about us affect us, it will," star quarterback Derek Carr said. "We'll just continue to work hard. That was the feeling. Of course you get frustrated because you can't control it, but we just continue to work hard."
The Bulldogs have the lead over the Huskies in the polls that determine two-thirds of the BCS standings but are 10 spots back in the computer rankings. That could change this week with Northern Illinois having beaten one-win Western Michigan on Tuesday and Fresno State playing a stronger opponent in the Spartans.
"I think it will all work itself out," DeRuyter said. "The people I've heard from say the computers at the end of the year kind of even out and we'll see. If at the end of the year if things don't work out maybe I'll have an opinion about it."
Here are five things to watch when Fresno State visits San Jose State:
RECORD-SETTING QUARTERBACKS: This game features two of the top quarterbacks in the Mountain West in Carr and San Jose State's David Fales, who both are expected to move onto the NFL next season. Fales needs two completions to hold the career marks at the school for completions, touchdowns and yards passing. Carr already has those records at Fresno State.