Cal State Long Beach, picked by coaches and the media to finish seventh in the newly renamed Big West Conference, will open its season Saturday against Boise State University at Veterans Stadium in Long Beach.
Seventeen starters are back from last year's 4-7 team, which did not defeat a quality opponent. Two of the victories came against Division I-AA teams Montana State and Weber State and the other two were against New Mexico State and Pacific, both of which had losing records.
The focus of the team will again be on quarterback Jeff Graham, who has experienced receivers in Derek Washington (52 catches in 1987) and Mark Seay, as well as tight ends Brian Wiss and Jeff Beilman.
But the 49ers will miss the running of Michael Roberts and Ricco Wilson, who have redshirted. Roberts gained 577 yards last year.