#11 (10-2) #9(12-0)
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA 5PM PT TV:
This is a must see bowl game and is possibly going to be the best game outside of the BCS games, and probably better then some of those. Boise State is best known for beating Oklahoma in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, but unless you have noticed what Boise State has done they are much more then that. Boise State has a gaudy 80-10 record from 2002-2008 and their 'worst' season was a 9-4 season. During that same time TCU is 66-20, for just under 10 wins a season, so not as good but still impressive.
Never wanting to underestimate Boise, because they prove people wrong all the time this bowl seems to favor TCU. Now before Boise fans flood the comments section and play the underdog role and throw the 2006 Fiesta bowl win in my face, please understand that I like Boise State and are one of my favorite teams.
The WAC was down this year and outside of Boise State the next best teams are 4 teams lumped together with 7 wins in Fresno, Hawai'i, Louisiana Tech, and Nevada. They did have an amazing win in Eugene when they played Oregon and crushed their defense.
Boise State's strength on offense which is their running game with Ian Johnson who is only one touchdown away from breaking the all-time WAC record for touchdowns by a running back in San Diego State's Marshall Faulk. We know Johnson is a beast but over the past few years because of injuries and changes in the offense he does not have the stats he put up in the Fiesta Bowl year with 25 touchdowns and over 1,700 yards.
Boise State has a speed back in Jeremy Avery who has averaged nearly 6 yards a carry and is a change of pace back. TCU on rushing defense leads the nation by allowing 48 yards per game, so this could be a battle for both teams in who can run and who can stop the run.
The good thing about Boise is they have a very good passing attack and their quarterback, Kellen Moore, who is a redshirt freshman has tossed for 3,264 yards and 25 touchdowns. This team can beat a team either on the ground or with the passing game, and their passing game is very good in spreading the ball around as well.
TCU will need to play a defensive game similar to what they did against BYU and Utah, both of those teams have great offenses and TCU was able to create turnovers and score points.
TCU must apply pressure in the passing game and make Kellen Moore be uncomfortable when he drops back to pass. Defensive End Jerry Hughes, who lead the nation in sacks, is sure to get at least one and probably two sacks.
The Boise offensive line is good, but they lost Ryan Clady who was a first round pick at offensive tackle. Their line is inexperienced but talented but TCU should be able to apply pressure at some point in the game.
However if TCU can not produce pressure then the Boise passing game will be able to make plays and probably win the game.
On offense TCU is pretty solid, but ever since quarterback Andy Dalton returned from injury they have been even better. Dalton improved greatly from last year to this year and the team has a few receivers as well.
The running back situation is where TCU can make some damage because they use Aaron Brown and Joseph Turner in the backfield plus two other who have over 300 yards on the season and one includes Dalton.
Brown is an all-conference caliber back, but missed the first few games of the year and that is when Turner emerged as a real player for the Horned Frogs. Boise will need to watch both backs and also a wide receiver who lines up under center to run a direct snap.
Offense - 456.8 ypg, 294.08 ypg passing, 162.67 ypg rushing
Defense - 294.5 ypg, 189.58 ypg passing, 104.92 ypg rushing
Versus Bowl Teams -(W) Oregon, (W)Louisiana Tech, (W)Southern Miss., (W)Hawaii,(W) Fresno St.,(W) Nevada
Offense - 417.09 ypg, 201.42 ypg passing, 215.67 ypg rushing
Defense - 215.09 ypg, 166.42 ypg passing, 48.67 ypg rushing
Versus Bowl Teams - (L)Oklahoma, (W)Colorado St., (W)Brigham Young, (L)Utah, (W)Air Force
Prediction: TCU 21 Boise State 17