The TCU Horned Frogs (8-2, 5-0 MWC) will host the Colorado State Rams (3-6, 1-3 MWC) on Saturday, as they try to follow up their stunning upset of the then-No. 5 Boise State Broncos.
The win over the Broncos put the Horned Frogs back on the map, but are they there to stay?
Let’s delve into this matchup.
Where: Amon Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, Texas)
When: 3:30 p.m. EST on Nov. 19, 2011
TCU -33.5, according to SportsBook
The Horned Frogs are an overwhelming favorite coming into the game, which is expected after their monumental win over Boise State.
However, the Rams have only been blown out once this season. Other than a 50-point loss to the Broncos, the Rams have been within two touchdowns of their opponent at the end of the game.
TCU has also played its fair share of relatively close contests, with all but two games being decided by 21 points or less.
Teams in the Mountain West Conference want to make their potential last shot at TCU—who’s leaving the conference after the season—count.
Take Colorado State.
57.5, according to SportsBook
Neither team is in the Top 45 in the country in points scored against, but stats don’t tell the story in conference games. Each team will try different things against a familiar opponent, but with little success.
TCU beat Colorado State 27-0 last year when it was a much stronger team with Andy Dalton at the helm. It’s going to be even closer than that this year, with fewer points scored.
Key Injuries (According to College Injury Report)
Colorado State: Paul Madsen (OT) is questionable with an ankle injury. The Rams lineman has been out for a few consecutive games, but whether or not he’ll return this week is still up in the air.
BCS/Top 25 Poll Implications
No. 19 TCU surged into the rankings by beating Boise State. However, an early loss to Baylor and a midseason disappointment against SMU had already sent the Horned Frogs’ season into “below expectations” territory.
With a win over Colorado State, TCU would clinch at least a share of the Mountain West Conference title. A MWC triumph will not be enough to vault the Horned Frogs into an elite bowl game, but it could put them in a better position.
Teams above TCU need to lose for the Horned Frogs to move up the BCS rankings.
Keys to TCU Win
The Horned Frogs need to test the cornerbacks of Colorado State, just as they did against Boise State.
The best offensive weapon they have is their speed on the outside, and they need to use it to get out to an early lead against the Rams.
TCU can’t allow Colorado State to stay close, or the Horned Frogs will have their hands full on Saturday.
Keys to Colorado State Win
The Rams need to take some chances. They need to recognize they are the less talented team on the field and play inspired football to pull the upset.
However, Colorado State needs to make sure the risks it takes are calculated. If the Rams try to throw it deep 10 times, they might get picked off on five occasions. If the Rams vary up their offense throughout the game, they can try to catch the Horned Frogs off-guard.
The plan isn’t flawless, but neither is the Rams’ 91st-ranked offense.
TCU 28, Colorado State 13