Week 11 Preview: TCU and Utah Meet in an MWC Showdown for All the Marbles

Bleacher ReportContributor INovember 13, 2009

SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 07:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs throws a pass in the game against the San Diego State Aztecs on November 7, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.   TCU won 55-12.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

As far as bowl games go, the Armed Forces Bowl isn’t half bad.

Good name, late in the bowl season (Dec. 31 ), ESPN coverage, and two solid conference ties, the C-USA and Mountain West Conference.

Usually, the winner of the MWC would be headed to Forth Worth to play in this very worthy bowl game, but this year it's just a little different for the non-BCS conference schools.

See, this year both TCU and Boise State (of the WAC) have good shots at making a BCS bowl, and for TCU to avoid a date in Texas on New Year’s Eve and head to a BCS bowl, this weekend’s matchup with Utah is of the utmost importance.

The Horned Frogs have climbed all the way up the BCS standings in the last four weeks to No. 4, the highest ranked non-BCS school in the country. Where they sit now, TCU would be assured of a BCS bowl bid, but the Utes stand in their way.

A victory by Utah would likely give them the MWC conference title and send them to either the aforementioned Armed Forces Bowl or the Humanitarian Bowl, but this week all they’re focused on is the Horned Frogs.

The Utes have been in just this situation in the past. In fact, last year an undefeated Utes team faced a game Horned Frogs squad with the chance for a BCS bowl bid for Utah on the line, and Utah prevailed, making its way to the Sugar Bowl. The Utes hope the favor is not returned to TCU.

This MWC showdown highlights a weekend of very important conference matchups.

As we come down the stretch of the college football season, for the teams not vying for BCS glory, these weeks will decide whether they go to a bowl or sit at home and watch 68 other teams play one final game in one of the 34 bowls this season.

Also at stake this weekend is a Rose Bowl bid from the Big Ten. Iowa, who had been coasting to the Big Ten conference title and a shot at the Roses, experienced their first loss last weekend. Now they face Ohio State, the winner likely to win the conference and a date in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

The triumvirate ruling over college football this season—Texas, Alabama, and Florida—all go on the road this weekend to weaker in-conference opponents, looking to avoid upsets and put dampers on both their opponents' in-conference and overall records.

The season winds down, and bowl games begin to fill; crunch time for the nation’s best is approaching. This is when college football is at its finest, with the postseason on the line, and as much as you think you know about the season thus far may have absolutely nothing to do with what we could see in the coming weeks.

Those weeks start now.