TCU (12-0) vs. Boise State (12-0)
In some alternate universe, unbeaten D-1 college football teams get a chance to play for the national title. Sadly, this universe doesn’t afford that opportunity, especially not to non-BCS conference contenders, so for the Horned Frogs of TCU and the Broncos of Boise State, the reward they received this year for an unblemished record was a bid to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, a rematch of last year’s Poinsettia Bowl.
Both teams rode streaks of convincing wins to secure two bids for members of the non-automatic qualifying conferences, the first time in the history of the BCS that that has occured.
However, instead of the chance that the non-BCS conference schools could get a chance to make their strength known against BCS schools, they will instead face each other in what promises to be the most interesting BCS bowl of the season — mostly for its BCS-buster undertones and implications and the gripes both teams will have with whomever is eventually named National Champion by the BCS.
Offense: Kellen Moore of Boise State was a bona fide Heisman candidate throughout the season until the favorites took over, but the quarterback of the Bronco offense is still among the nation’s best in passer efficiency and passer rating. The Broncos had the nation’s leading scoring offense, scoring more than 44 points per game during their romp to the WAC title and an undefeated season.
The Horned Frogs offense isn’t half bad either, dropping more than 50 points four times this season. Led by quarterback Andy Dalton, the Horned Frog offense picked apart defenses around the country, including ranked opponents including BYU and Utah and BCS conference member Virginia. The Horned Frogs also rushed for more than 250 yards per game, led by running backs Joseph Turner and Matthew Tucker.
Defense: Boise State’s defense had a little trouble with the WAC competition this season, giving up more than 30 points three times during their eight game conference schedule, but also managed to hold four opponents under 10 points during their undefeated season.
TCU is the only school in the country that was in the top four for both defense and offense, and this game may very well come down to the drives where the Frogs are up against the strong Boise State attack. Led by defensive end Jerry Hughes and linebacker Daryl Washington, the Horned Frog defense gave up more than 21 points just once, to Utah, and that was after TCU had put the game away early against the outmatched Utes.
Prediction: Boise State 28 vs. TCU 17. However much the TCU defense destroyed other offenses this season, the Boise State offense is going to be a whole new type of attack for the Horned Frogs, one which led by Kellen Moore, will do just enough to stop the Horned Frogs from beating the Broncos two straight years in bowl games.