It seems weird, and in college football over the last century, it is.
Boise State and Fresno State will meet for the fourth time in two seasons on Saturday in the Mountain West championship game at Albertsons Stadium.
Such an occasion will have only happened three other times — UCF and Memphis will have played four games once Saturday’s American conference championship is complete, while Marshall and Western Michigan played twice apiece in 1999 and 2000 and Boston College and Virginia Tech did the same in the ACC in 2007 and 2008.
“It’s been interesting. ... I thought we’d be the only ones. I was thinking about that driving home the other night,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said.
The 372-day span encompassing the four Broncos-Bulldogs games is the shortest among the four pairings. They played in last year’s regular-season finale and conference championship in back-to-back weeks, then this season on Nov. 16 in Boise.
In the three meetings, which came in a 13-game span for both teams, Fresno State is 1-2 but holds a 59-58 scoring edge. Boise State has a 1,213-1,130 edge in yardage. So, not only are they familiar with one another, but they match up well.
“It’s definitely an interesting situation. You’ve got a good familiarity with the (other) team,” Boise State offensive coordinator Zak Hill said.
Both teams own the same 10-2 overall records and 7-1 Mountain West marks. Both are in the AP Top 25 — Boise State is 19th, Fresno State is 25th. Both have veteran quarterbacks and tough defenses. Both are, let this not be bulletin board material, physical squads.
Hill said the team must be cognizant of its own tendencies, to not fall into too much comfort, but considering how well the teams know one another and how even the battle has been, the Broncos will just need to do what they’ve done to get themselves to this point.
“I think if you go too far out of what you’ve been doing, you’re probably overthinking it a little bit,” Harsin said.
Boise State was a home underdog in a conference game for the first time since 1999 for the first Fresno State game (Boise State is a small favorite this time). The Broncos beat No. 14 Utah State on Saturday — the highest-ranked opponent to play Boise State on the Blue.
FIRST MW HONOR SINCE SEPTEMBER
Boise State junior running back Alexander Mattison was named Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week for his 37-carry, 200-yard, three-touchdown performance in Saturday’s win over Utah State. The 37 carries were a career high and third-most in Boise State history, and it was the Broncos’ 22nd 200-yard game.
It was the Broncos’ third Mountain West player of the week award this season, and the first since Sept. 10.
Mattison leads the Mountain West with 16 rushing touchdowns and is second with 1,215 yards rushing.
The Boise State-Utah State game was the highest-rated Mountain West game on a Saturday since 2012 on any of ESPN’s networks. ... The All-Mountain West teams, players of the year and coach of the year will be announced Wednesday. ... Boise State’s seven-game winning streak is the fifth-longest active in the nation. ... In conference championships that were regular-season rematches, the team that won the first meeting is 25-15.