Why They’re Here: Even though they had some big losses on the defensive side of the ball, this is a team that has shown it can reload with the best of them. The offense returns nine starters, including quarterback Andy Dalton who could become a star this year. But even with an almost guaranteed great offense, the Horned Frogs will have their hands full.
The Good: The high-flying Horned Frogs offense will be back and probably better than ever. First team all-conference QB Andy Dalton will again be at the helm and we’ve all seen what he’s capable of. Coming off his AP Coach of the Year win, Gary Patterson seems more determined than ever to get TCU to the next level. The Frogs will also have last year’s loss to Boise State, a game in which they got physically manhandled, to motivate them all offseason.
The Bad: LB Daryl Washington was the heart and soul of not just the TCU defense, but the entire team. Andy Dalton showed he withers under pressure in last year’s Fiesta Bowl and with no Jerry Hughes around either, the Frogs are in desperate need of some leadership. I honestly don’t think there will be another TCU team as good as the team last year – that team was great on offense, defense and special teams. They’ll still be good on offense, but defense and special teams, where the Frogs were able to turn the tables in close games and separate themselves from competition last year, are big question marks.
The Last Word: Has any conference ever come out of nowhere to be legit as quickly as the Mountain West? With Utah, BYU, Air Force and TCU, the Mountain West has really put the rest of the college football world on notice. The MWC has been so impressive the past five seasons that the BCS is considering bringing them into the fold. That’s no small task considering the money-grubbing, conscience-free venture capitalists who run the system. If TCU can find a leader and a stud to replace Washington, they can be very good again. If not…
Final Record: 11-2
I’ve watched both TCU and Boise State play live once this year before the Fiesta Bowl. Here’s what I learned about the two teams and schools after watching Monday’s game.
1. Boise State had a great team this year.
I’ve been refusing to accept this conclusion all year and Monday night made it impossible to live in denial any more. After the Fiesta Bowl, I have to admit that Boise is probably the fourth best team in the nation – maybe even third. They physically manhandled Oregon this year and Oregon physically destroyed USC. I thought it was a fluke until last night.
2. Andy Dalton and Jerry Hughes aren’t that good.
Not only did Hughes, who I had considered one of the best defensive ends in the nation, not get a sack, he didn’t even get a QB pressure in the game. Given my first point, it’s understandable that he didn’t dominate the Boise St. O-line, but great players play great in big games and OK players disappear; Hughes disappeared.
As for Dalton, I thought he was one of the most underrated players in the country, but he proved me completely wrong. Not only did he throw three picks, including the game-ender, but he went 25-44 passing, and of his 25 completions, I think maybe five were on-target. If he wasn’t putting balls in the dirt, he was sailing passes and getting his receivers killed. Like I said about Hughes, great players play great in big games.
3. TCU has the lamest football gang sign ever.
Sure, hand gestures like the “hook ‘em horns” and “gator chomp” may be obnoxious, but at least they look cool. TCU’s little horned frog gang sign looked more like someone butchering Little Bunny Foo Foo than a school emblem.
4. The hot girls at TCU don’t travel.
I used to live in Fort Worth, Texas, about two miles from the TCU campus, and I know the kind of “talent” they have at that school. So either the camera men at the Fiesta Bowl were purposely avoiding the eye candy or the hot sorority girls at Texas Christian couldn’t get daddy to finance a trip to Glendale.
5. Boise State has the nerdiest students and alumni of any football school in the country.
Did you watch the game? I wanted to wedgie the entire student section and rob them for their lunch money.
6. The cheerleaders at TCU take football very, very seriously.
I have never, ever, not once in almost 20 years of watching football, seen a cheerleader cry after a loss. Never. At the end of the game they cut to one of TCU’s cheerleaders and she was sobbing like Tim Tebow. Wait, I made myself feel bad with that one. Seriously, though, the cheerleader was crying! Maybe her boyfriend is on the team and she knew he was going to hit her because they lost.
Did I go too far with that one?
Despite the fact TCU and Boise State made it to the Fiesta Bowl, the BCS still needs to be done away with and replaced by a true playoff!
That said, the Fiesta and Sugar Bowls should be two amazing games!
It’s a light week in college football with only one game between ranked opponents. Thankfully it’s a good one, as # 8 TCU visits #16 BYU in Provo, UT. Also, Bradford is out again and the first BCS poll of the season has Boise State at #4.