Fresno coach discusses UT game

Most mid-major football programs are content to play other mid-majors, win a conference title occasionally and turn a small profit at season's end. Not Fresno State. Head coach Pat Hill wants to play the big boys whenever possible. That's why his Bulldogs will be challenging Tennessee Saturday afternoon (3 o'clock kickoff) at Neyland Stadium.

''Anytime you get to play against a program the stature of Tennessee it's great for a program like ours,'' Hill said Tuesday. ''In the six years I've been here, we've been trying to play as tough a non-league schedule as we can, find out where our program ranks.

''In this day of college football, you've got the haves and have-nots, and we're one of those in a league that does not have a lot money coming into it from television contracts, bowl games and things of that nature,'' he added. ''If you're in a non-BCS conference I believe you've got to play as tough a caliber of teams as you can to give you any kind of chance to play for something big (a major bowl game) at the end of the year. We came very close in 2001 but didn't get it done.

''Anybody that's a Div. 1 football coach goes into the season hoping for an opportunity at the end of the season to play for something that's important. Every time Tennessee lines up, they're playing with the hopes of playing for a national championship. It's a longshot for us -- a very, very, very big longshot -- but you might as well take a shot at it.''

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