Statement GameMonday, October 26, 2009 18:00
We’re roughly two-thirds of the way through the college football regular season, smack dab in the middle of the conference portion of the season, a time when one has come to expect multiple Top 25 showdowns every week. Not so during Week 8, when only two such match-ups existed, and one of those was pitted #24 vs. #25–kind of an afterthought as Top 25 games go.
The marquee game of the weekend featured then #8 TCU at then #16 BYU. Yes, the premiere battle of Week 8 was a clash of two Mountain West Conference heavyweights, a big time rivalry game with Bowl Championship Series implications–for the top non-BCS conference.
How big was it? The ESPN College Gameday crew made Provo, Utah, its weekly home.
The Mountain West could not have asked for anything more. All eyes were on the MWC, even if the league’s television carriage agreement is with the less than universally-accessible Versus.
TCU realized this. The Horned Frogs didn’t just come to play, they came to make a statement. With the limelight on both the conference and the program as much as could ever be hoped for in a regular season game, TCU knew it was now or never to make a serious impression on the BCS voters.
The result? Texas Christian Horned Frogs 38, Brigham Young Cougars 7.
The Frogs have been plagued by slow starts for much of this season, but not in Provo, dropping the first 21 points on the board before the Cougars could muster the solitary touchdown. At 31-7, quarterback Andy Dalton was still throwing the ball. No playing it safe. No just settling for the win.
Coach Gary Patterson realized that he had an opportunity to turn a making an impression game into a statement game with a blowout, and the Horned Frogs answered his call. (Incidentally, Patterson was just named to the watch list for the 2009 Paul “Bear” Bryant Award for College Football of the Year).
That TCU had a great defense was no surprise–they had the top-ranked rushing D in all of college football last year and is again near the top in every defensive statistic again this season. But with 82 points in the last two weeks, the Horned Frogs offense is demonstrating it’s a force with which to be reckoned, too.
Not convinced? The voters and computers were. In the aftermath, the Frogs moved up two slots in the AP Poll to #8, leapfrogging victorious LSU (Miami lost); one slot in the USA Today/Coaches Poll to #6, jumping over undefeated Cincinnati; and, in the all important BCS standings, catapulting two slots past both Cincinnati and also unbeaten Boise State to stake a claim as this year’s BCS-buster at #6.
TCU made a statement on Saturday, “BCS, here we come.”
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