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Who's Better -- TCU or Boise St

   by Ben Burns - 10/13/2009

Life is tough in the MWC and WAC. Lose one game, and you go from a potential BCS bowl to the Humanitarian Bowl. That’s a mammoth pay cut, and a lot of pressure on the coaches from the non-BCS conferences.

As we head into the second half of the season, TCU and Boise State are the only non-BCS teams to have a shot at crashing the big boys’ party. Both are undefeated and ranked in the Top 10 of the Coaches and Harris Polls. But only one will be headed to a BCS Bowl, most likely the Fiesta or Orange Bowl, even if the both finish undefeated.

Right now, that team appears to be Boise State, which because of nothing more than the preseason polls, is ranked higher than TCU. The Horned Frogs beat the Broncos in last year’s Poinsettia Bowl, but lost more starters and didn’t receive as much preseason hype as Boise State.

It doesn’t seem to matter that the Horned Frogs have played a much tougher schedule. Because Boise State was ranked ahead of them to start the year, TCU is going to have a difficult time leapfrogging the Broncos. (Got to love the BCS!)

The Broncos (5-0, 4-1 ATS) sit at No. 6 in the Coaches’ and Harris Poll. Their best wins are vs. Oregon to start the season and at Fresno State. Tonight’s game at Tulsa, a road game at Louisiana Tech (Nov. 6) and a home game against improving Nevada (Nov. 27) are the toughest games left for the Broncos.

The Horned Frogs (5-0, 2-3 ATS) sit at No. 10 in the Coaches’ and Harris Poll. They own impressive road wins at Virginia and Clemson. A trip to BYU (Oct. 24) and a home date against Utah (Nov. 14) are the toughest road blocks facing the Frogs.

Statistically, both teams are excellent. Boise State owns the No. 5 scoring offense in the nation, averaging 40 points a game. The Broncos are No. 14 in total defense.

The Horned Frogs are built more around their defense, which ranks No. 7 in total defense. They have an exceptional pass rush, averaging 3.2 sacks per game and are solid in special teams. Offensively, they are built around the nation’s 12th best rushing attack, which averages 215 yards.

Both teams are very well-coached. Chris Peterson is 25-16 ATS in his three years. TCU’s Gary Patterson is on a 32-19-3 run.

As you can tell, these are two evenly matched squads, who both deserve a sniff of the BCS. But only one is going to get it. Who will it be?

The one glaring difference between the Broncos and Frogs is experience. Boise State has the fewest seniors on its roster in the nation. If the Broncos find themselves in a close game down the stretch, how will their young roster handle the pressure, knowing that a BCS bowl berth is one the line? Our guess is they’re due for a slip up somewhere along the way, allowing TCU to earn a spot in the BCS.

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