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Mountain West football's best team ever: 2010 TCU vs. 2014 Colorado State

The Horned Frogs won a Rose Bowl, but it didn't get them much respect in the fan vote. Can the Rams seize an opportunity?

Tank Carder demolished a few quarterbacks in 2010.
Tank Carder demolished a few quarterbacks in 2010.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

It isn't every day that a team from the Mountain West plays their way to the Granddaddy of Them All, but that's exactly what happened in 2010. The TCU Horned Frogs came into that season with high expectations, having started sixth in the preseason AP poll, and did not disappoint. Only an Iron Bowl for the ages came between Gary Patterson's best Frogs ever and a shot at the national title.

So why in the world did they only finish fourth in our overall vote?

Perhaps that's a question worth discussing in the comments, but it remains that the result gives them what could be the toughest matchup among the top four seeds. The Rams' first entry in this tournament should not be overlooked. Both teams can claim to have had NFL-caliber quarterbacks, playmakers at the skill positions and anchors along the offensive line.

Tale of the tape

Overall record: 2010 TCU - 13-0 (8-0 MWC); 2014 Colorado State - 10-3 (6-2)

Best wins: 2010 TCU - vs Wisconsin, 21-19 (Rose Bowl); 2014 Colorado State - vs. Utah State, 16-13

Worst loss: 2010 TCU - none; 2014 Colorado State - vs. Utah, 45-10 (Las Vegas Bowl)

Seasons summarized in a sentence: The 2010 Frogs rode one of the most dominant defenses of the 21st century to Pasadena and triumphed over a very talented Wisconsin squad. The 2014 Rams, meanwhile, leaned on their powerful offense to win 10 games for the first time in over a decade.

Fun fact: The 2014 Rams gave up just thirteen points in a win against Utah State, their lowest total of the season. Opponents of the 2010 Horned Frogs averaged 12 points per contest.

Memorable players

TCU: Andy Dalton has an argument as the best Mountain West quarterback ever, and he was never better than he was in 2010 when he threw for 2,857 yards and 27 touchdowns. The defense, however, was the heart of the team as usual, with Defensive Player of the Year Tank Carder leading the attack alongside defensive lineman Wayne Daniels, linebacker Tanner Brock and defensive back Tejay Johnson. And Jeremy Kerley earned his third all-conference selection in 2010 as a return specialist, the only MWC player to do so that year.

Colorado State: Garrett Grayson, like Dalton, was the conference's Offensive Player of the Year after powering the Rams with 3,779 yards passing and 32 scores. It helped, however, that he had Rashard Higgins to throw to, as the dynamic sophomore receiver led the MWC in receptions, yards and touchdowns, averaging over 18 yards per catch for good measure. Dee Hart transferred from Alabama and made himself right at home in Fort Collins, powering for nearly 1,300 yards and 16 touchdowns.