Ed. Note: We looked at Long Beach State as part of our Mid-Major Top 20 previews. Chris Hondros has gone even further in depth on his new video preview for the 49ers. Here is a little preview of the content that he covers in that video:
Long Beach State was picked as the preseason favorite to win the Big West conference, and they won't be tracking toward that title silently. They are going to be put in the national spotlight given their nonconference schedule, and between 11 and 13 appearances on either regional of national television broadcasts.
All-conference returnee James Ennis will look to lead this team as one of only two seniors on the roster, and the only returning starter. Alongside Ennis, sophomore Mike Caffey, Arizona State-transfer Keala King, Loyola Marymount-transfer Edgar Garibay, and junior Jerramy King (a redshirt last year) will likely fill out the starting five.
Expect the 49ers to have a rough time during the nonconference portion of the schedule, as they opted not to play an exhibition game this year. After a homecoming game against North Alabama, Long Beach has three extremely difficult games in six days: at USC, at home against No. 11 North Carolina and at No. 12 Arizona.
The schedule only gets worse from there. After games against Fresno State and Loyola Marymount, the 49ers travel east to take on No. 9 Syracuse and No. 4 Ohio State. After what should be an easy win over BYU-Hawaii (Ed. Note: Jet Chang!), Long Beach State completes its nonconference schedule against No. 13 UCLA.
That's five ranked teams in a little over a month. If Long Beach State can go 6-5 non-conference or even 7-4 with some close showings, they'll be more than prepared for conference play and could have played there way into a possible bubble spot.