Boise State's preseason backup safety has more rushing touchdowns than the Heisman Trophy winner. TCU 's does not. Therefore Boise State will win the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.
Unfortunately, such direct comparisons are not valid arguments when predicting games, thus we sports fanatics spend hours meticulously looking at statistics and storylines that will influence our predictions.
Based on the following 10 intangibles, I believe Boise State will defeat TCU on Jan. 4 in a rematch of last season's Poinsettia Bowl.
In the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, Boise State brought 30,000 fans from Bronco Nation to Glendale. Also, in last season's Poinsettia Bowl, Boise State brought a much larger crowd than TCU. On the famous smurf-turf, Boise State has not lost a regular season game since 2001.
The Broncos perform well in front of their fans, and BSU is once again expected to bring a larger crowd than TCU.
The Glendale citizens supported Boise State in its last Fiesta Bowl appearance, and the crowd will provide a home-field advantage in favor of the Broncos this year as well.
Although this will not be a major factor into the outcome of the game, it still provides an interesting thought.
Heading into last season's bowl game, Boise State's tailback Ian Johnson, the most famous football player in Broncos' history, was tied with Marshall Faulk for the most rushing touchdowns in WAC history.
Knowing that this was Johnson's final game, the Broncos' coaching staff had to fit an IJ touchdown into the game plan (he set the record, see photo).
This time, there are no WAC records to break, so BSU can freely create their game plan.
The Broncos and Horned Frogs return virtually the same offenses from last year's matchup.
TCU's starting backfield remains the same, led by dual-threat quarterback Andy Dalton and running back Joseph Turner. Two of their top running backs this season were not on the field against Boise State last season, Matthew Tucker and Ed Wesley.
However, neither of these players are standouts, (both averaging less than 60 ypg. and scored under 10 td's) and will only play side roles in the Fiesta Bowl.
TCU does not have wide receivers that have been dominating the stats sheet this season.
Boise State must keep an eye on sophomore Antoine Hicks, who scored six times this season. Other than Hicks, Boise State played against the Horned Frogs other two top receivers, Jeremy Kerley and Jimmy Young, last season.
The similar personnel should be an advantage to Boise State, because they will be prepared to face the same players as last year.
Boise State has two studs that did not play in the Poinsettia Bowl. Sophomore running back Doug Martin averages over six yards per rush and has scored 14 touchdowns on the ground.
Martin was the player from the stat on the first page, a preseason backup safety that went back to his original position in the backfield and has had a terrific season.
Junior wide receiver Titus Young is a deep threat that leads the Broncos in receptions and has scored 14 touchdowns. Young was suspended for the entire 2008 season, including the bowl game.
He is a triple threat that has scored 10 receiving touchdowns, two rushing and two on kickoff returns (and another nullified from a penalty, and recovered a TD in the endzone after a Bronco fumble). His statistics are much more appealing than Hicks, leading in receptions, touchdowns, and yards.
After going undefeated last season but still missing a BCS bowl, the Broncos were thankful the same scenario didn't happen again this year.
TCU, however, was literally one second away from making it to the national championship. Expecting a hyped matchup versus Florida in Timothy Tebow's final game, the Horned Frogs were stunned to find themselves paired with WAC team they defeated last season.
Boise State will try to make the most out of this opportunity to prove to the doubters that they are an elite program and deserving of this BCS bid.
The Horned Frogs' mentality could go two different ways.
In one sense, TCU will be trapped into playing the same team they defeated last bowl season and will be angry from not getting a shot at a BCS powerhouse. On the contrary, TCU might play with a chip on their shoulder and prove to the BCS that they are worthy of playing in the national championship.
But I feel BSU will play with more passion than TCU because they are longing for more respect from the BCS, and TCU will have some cockiness playing a lower-ranked, WAC team that they defeated last season.
Boise State's corner back/punt returner Kyle Wilson has been the heart of Broncos' defense for four seasons. He started in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl as a freshman and recorded ten tackles.
The preseason All-American has not had a great season statistically, but his presence is a major component into how his opponents create their offensive game plans. He has three interceptions on the season, returning two of them for touchdowns.
Wilson, who is projected to be drafted in the second round of April's NFL Draft, has the most experience of anyone playing in the Fiesta Bowl. He is a defensive leader that is a key to Boise State's underrated defense.
TCU's offense is extremely consistent. At the wide receiver position, seven players have at least two touchdown receptions, and four receivers have more than four hundred yards receiving (BSU has 7,2). Since they have many receivers, Dalton can spread the ball across the field, creating mismatches.
Boise State's wide receiving corps are led by juniors Young and Austin Pettis. Pettis was leading the nation in touchdown receptions when he was injured in late November.
Boise State has yet to release if Pettis will return for the bowl game, but it's expected that he will be suited up and on the field. Both of these wide receivers have more than ten touchdowns and 800 yards receiving.
Hicks leads the Horned Frogs with merely six touchdown receptions, and there is not a receiver on the roster that has more than 500 yards receiving.
While TCU's consistent offense could be to their advantage because Dalton has many weapons, they do not have a go-to playmaker like Boise State's Young and Pettis. Both have proven that they can take over a game and be reliable in close-game situations.
Boise State's Chris Petersen has compiled an astounding 48-4 record as head coach of the Broncos. In his first season, Petersen won the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year for guiding the Broncos to an undefeated season in 2006.
Offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin is the mastermind behind the nation's top ranked offense. Justin Wilcox, defensive coordinator, has sparked attention for shifting a school known for its offense to being able to succeed on defensive as well. Both coordinators, as well Petersen, are often connected to coaching rumors at BCS schools.
TCU's Gary Patterson has done a great job of bringing the Frogs to national respect. They have two offensive coordinators, and Dick Bumpas in charge of the stifling defense. Bumpas is widely regarded as one of the top coordinators in the nation.
However, Boise State's coaching staff has more big-game experience than TCU's, and has proven it can lead the Broncos to victory in BCS bowls.
Since upsetting the No. 8 Fresno State Bulldogs in 2001, Boise State has been associated with pulling the monumental upsets.
Regarded as a weak (by BCS standards) and overrated team throughout most of the country, the Broncos have shined in the "Cinderella" role, most notably defeating the heavily-ranked Sooners in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
Once again, the Broncos are on the wrong side of the Vegas line, with initial odds favoring TCU by eight points. However, Boise State already upset the Oregon Ducks in the season opener, and will look to cap off another magical run of perfection with a Fiesta Bowl victory.
A major key to last year's loss was Boise State inability to contain TCU's defensive line. Led by All-American Jerry Hughes, TCU once again has one of the country's best pass rushes.
However, Boise State's offensive line has vastly improved. This bunch surrendered the fewest sacks in the nation this season (five). The Broncos should be able to contain Hughes and TCU's snazzy 4-2-5 defense, at least enough to let Moore find the open man.
The battle in the trenches, with the nation's best on both sides of the line, will once again be a key to the game's outcome.
The Lord is on the Broncos side.
Although none of us knew it at the time, the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl loss ended up being a blessing for Boise State. In this decade, the Broncos have not lost to a team in back-to-back seasons.
Boise State does not take losing very well, frankly because they aren't used to it. The Broncos boast the best winning percentage this decade, and will be fired up to avenge their loss.
Both teams will be fired up for this game.
Both teams are trying to make a statement to the nation that they are on the same echelon as the BCS powerhouses.
However, Boise State has that bitter taste of losing at the end of last year, and has a flaming desire to make sure it doesn't happen this season.
The statistics and SOS show it all—TCU is just flat out better than Boise State. Playing in a much tougher conference, the Horned Frogs have dominated their opponents on both sides of the ball. However, as the old sports adage states, the best team doesn't always win the game.
Final Prediction: Hoping to solidify their place among the college football elite by avenging their loss from last year's bowl game, Boise State will wear the Cinderella shoe once again.
Boise State 27, TCU 20.