Upstarts Boise, TCU ready for Fiesta clash
GLENDALE, Ariz. - TC-Who?
The Texas Christian Horned Frogs are used to the question.
With a colorful history that includes two national titles - in the 1930s - the third-ranked Horned Frogs are no secret to college football fans. But they’re hoping to make themselves known to a wider audience when they take on sixth-ranked Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl tonight - just as the Broncos became national darlings after knocking off Oklahoma on the same field three years ago.
Unlike many of the non-title BCS bowls, this one has a compelling story line, and it goes beyond whether TCU’s stalwart defense can shut down Boise State’s video-game offense.
It’s the first time two schools from conferences without automatic BCS bids have met on college football’s grandest stage. A pair of unbeatens, too.
Mountain West champion TCU (12-0) earned a bid to break into the BCS for the first time. Its résumé includes wins at Clemson and Virginia, and routs of conference rivals Brigham Young and Utah.
Western Athletic Conference champ Boise State (13-0) became the first team from a non-automatic qualifying conference to receive an at-large bid. The Broncos launched their season with a 19-8 victory over eventual Pac-10 champion Oregon.
“I would say by having two non-qualifying schools in a BCS game, that has changed the landscape of college football forever as far as the BCS is concerned,’’ TCU coach Gary Patterson said.
The winner will join either Alabama or Texas as the nation’s only unbeaten teams, an outcome that won’t satisfy playoff advocates.
Patterson and Boise State coach Chris Petersen are open to playoff discussions. But for now, they’re happy to be basking in the desert as BCS qualifiers.
At first glance, the game presents an intriguing matchup of TCU’s defense against Boise State’s offense.
With Kellen Moore at the controls, the Broncos score 44.2 points per game, best in the country. The Horned Frogs concede 12.4 points per game, fourth nationally.
But TCU also has a potent attack, and it actually outgained Boise State this year, 469.1 yards per game to 460.5.