Boise State 35, TCU 36, FINAL
The No. 5 Boise State Broncos will meet the TCU Horned Frogs for first and last time as in-conference foes on Saturday afternoon in what has been dubbed the unofficial Mountain West Conference championship game. What could have been the greatest non-AQ rivalry in history has been reduced to rubble by conference realignment.
The Horned Frogs will call the Big 12 home next year and Boise State has been in talks with the Big East over expansion to an east and west division for the past month.
Currently, the Broncos have the edge over TCU with two wins to just one loss, and the only times these two teams have faced each other were in bowls. TCU won the Poinsettia Bowl in 2008, while Boise State won the Fort Worth Bowl in 2003, and the Fiesta Bowl in 2009. The Broncos have only outscored TCU by nine points in all three matches, combined.
This becomes even more juicy as, in an apparent snub to the Horned Frogs, the Mountain West Conference moved the game to Boise, where the Broncos have not lost an in-conference game on The Blue in 12 years, when they were a member of the Big West Conference. Boise State also has the longest home winning streak in college football, at 35.
In recent years a game between these two teams would generally mean a defensive shootout would ensue but it seems like this is less of a possibility this year. The difference is that Boise State boasts the 12th ranked defense in the country, while TCU is 34th.
If the Broncos could score 35 against the 26th-ranked defense of the Georgia Bulldogs in Atlanta, they won't have a problem at home against the Horned Frogs.
The Horned Frogs have really come alive since losing to SMU on Oct. 1, but those wins have come against some suspect teams. TCU has yet play against, let alone beat a Top 25 team this year. Baylor has crept up in to the Top 25 but are a far cry from Boise State.
Even so, I believe this will be Boise State's toughest test this year and that includes the game against Georgia.
Boise State looked very shaky against UNLV last week despite walking away with the 48-21 win. During the first half it seemed like the Broncos had lost their mojo on both sides of the ball as it was the sloppiest play I have seen all year from Boise State. At the half of that game Boise State was up by only seven.
If Boise State opens the game against TCU like they did against UNLV they may have an uphill battle. But it seems team is much more focused this week, at least according to Bronco defensive lineman Chase Baker.
It was straight to business. You could hear a pin drop," Baker told Boise's ABC affiliate KIVI channel six. "You can just feel it, it's a different atmosphere right now, and TCU kind of brings that out in us. We're a lot more focused this week than we have been in the past weeks," he said.
However, TCU is no slouch as it is one of only two teams to not allow Kellen Moore to throw a touchdown pass in a game during his record breaking career and the Horned Frogs did it twice.
That was when TCU was the defensive powerhouse of old though, usually boasting the No. 1 or 2 defense in the country. This is not the case this year and Boise State has way to much firepower both in the air and on the ground for a mediocre TCU defense to handle.
Meanwhile, Boise State does, in fact, have one of the top defenses in the country and TCU could struggle to move the ball effectively especially in Bronco Stadium where Boise State is unstoppable.
Where to watch: Versus, DirecTV-603, Dish Network- 151, Cableone-326(Boise), Time Warner-31 or 786 (Dallas)
When: 3:30 PM ET
Spread: Boise State by 16 with an O/U of 58
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