Dallas Colleges: Salt Lake City

It's looking like a Purple World

November, 6, 2010

What a day for the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs. Not only did they end a three-game losing streak at No. 5 Utah by dismantling and demoralizing the Utes from the start, but they also got some help in their quest to become the first non-automatic qualifier to play for the BCS national championship.

Soon after TCU (10-0, 6-0 Mountain West) walked off with its 47-7 trouncing of the Utes (8-1, 5-1), the No. 10 LSU Tigers upset the No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide 24-21, hanging a second loss on the defending champions and virtually eliminating them from this season's title race.

So who's left? The No. 1 Oregon Ducks and No. 2 Auburn Tigers both romped Saturday, and one of those two will have to lose to open the door for TCU and their non-AQ brother, the No. 4 Boise State Broncos, impressive winners over Hawaii. One-loss teams the No. 7 Nebraska Cornhuskers, slim winners over Iowa State, and the No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners, who have a tough gig Saturday night in College Station, seemingly remain in the hunt. But those two could meet in the Big 12 title game and eliminate one. (UPDATE: Scratch Oklahoma, which lost to Texas A&M.)

But that's in the future. Here's a closer look at TCU's huge win in Salt Lake City courtesy of the TCU media relations department:

" Quarterback Andy Dalton has a career-high 350 yards passing. He compeleted 21 of 26 passes. His previous career best was 344 yards at Stanford in 2007.

" Jimmy Young's 11-yard third-quarter touchdown catch was the 12th of his career, tying him with Phillip Epps (1978 to '81) for seventh all time at TCU. Young's five receptions for 84 yards have moved him into fifth place all time at TCU for both receptions (136) and yards (2,161).

" On his 26-yard touchdown reception from receiver Jeremy Kerley, Bart Johnson extended his team-best and career-high streak to 32 consecutive games with a reception. The catch also pushed Johnson over 1,000 career receiving yards.

" In six Mountain West Conference games this season, TCU has outscored its opponents 236-23. The Horned Frogs have allowed just three touchdowns.

" TCU limited Utah to only 199 yards of total offense. Only one opponent in six MWC games has reached 200 yards in offense against TCU. Meanwhile, the Frogs had 558 yards of offense to surpass the 500-yard mark for the third straight game and the fifth time this season.

" The Horned Frogs held their opponent to single digits in scoring for the seventh time in 10 games this season.

" TCU allowed 148 yards passing and remains the only team in the nation not to allow an opponent to reach 200 yards in the air in a game this season.

" TCU snapped Utah’s Mountain West Conference record home winning streak at 21 games. It was also the third-longest active streak in the nation. TCU’s 19-game home winning streak is now the longest current MWC mark and third-longest in the NCAA.

" Tanner Brock’s interception and 57-yard return in the third quarter marked his first career pick. Brock set a career high with 12 tackles, topping his previous high of 11 set earlier this season against BYU.

No denying it, TCU-Utah is big, big game

November, 5, 2010
FORT WORTH, Texas -- It's not Auburn-Alabama, Michigan-Ohio State or Texas-Oklahoma. But, TCU-Utah has grown into quite a little rivalry and this season there might not be a more important game in college football.

The Frogs (9-0, 5-0 Mountain West) are ranked No. 3 in the BCS standings and the Utes (8-0, 5-0) are No. 5. The winner of Saturday afternoon's game in Salt Lake City will be in prime position not only to play in a BCS game, but to actually have a shot at the once unthinkable for non-automatic qualifiers -- the national championship game.

"That’s what we’ve been working towards, is for people to think that this is a big ballgame,"TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "Us beating Utah in overtime [in 2005] or them beating us in 2006, nobody said much about it. Now you’re in 2010 and you’re playing the same ballgame, and now one’s [No. 3] and one’s [No. 5]. We’ve come a long way as a league. We’ve come a long way as programs and what we’re trying to get accomplished. It says a lot about where we’ve been and what we’re trying to do and where we’re still trying to go."

The Frogs have their work cut out at sold-out Rice-Eccles Stadium. TCU has never won there. Two years ago, TCU doubled Utah's offensive production, yet still lost, 13-10 to ruin a shot at a BCS game. Last year in Fort Worth, the Frogs jumped out to a big lead, cruised to victory and cleared the way to a first-ever BCS appearance.

The Frogs are 0-3 in Salt Lake and quarterback Andy Dalton has played in two of those games. He knows how difficult it is to play there. Patterson began pumping loud music in at practice during offensive drills and prepping with hand signs and visuals to offset the crowd noise, aspects not often needed in most MWC venues. Close to 47,000 are expected to be at the game.

"They’re loud, noisy, obnoxious. They do a great job, especially when you’re on offense with the crowd noise and just all the stuff that goies into it," Dalton said. "I think they’re going to black out the game again. Last time we there it was at nighttime, it was all black, black uniforms, so I think they’re fans really bought into everything, which makes it a tough place to play."

Since the Frogs beat SMU 41-24 back on Sept. 24, the defense has allowed 16 points in the last five games and TCU has won by an average of 34.6 points. The Utes are coming off a 28-23 win over Air Force. The 28 points were the fewest Utah as scored since the season-opening 27-24 overtime win over then-No. 15 Pittsburgh. Since, Utah has scored at least 56 points four times.

Something's got to give. The Frogs know the Utes will use redemption for last season's blowout as a motivator, just as TCU used the 13-10 loss at Utah in 2008 heading into last year's game.

"Biggest thing is I remember the locker room after the game," Dalton said of that 2008 loss. "To see that we played pretty well and got so close and we didn’t end up winning the game; to see the guys, guys that had worked so hard, in tears, that’s a feeling that you never want to feel."

Frogs eye title game as Big East maneuvers

November, 2, 2010
As the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs prepare for their biggest game of the season at the No. 5 Utah Uteson Saturday afternoon, a game that could ultimately vault the winner into the BCS national championship game, TCU's future in the Mountain West Conference became a bit more sketchy Tuesday as the Big East formerly approved plans to explore adding two football programs.

TCU is reportedly high on the Big East's expansion wish list. The Frogs, who played in their first BCS game last season, would have interest in joining the Big East because the conference currently holds the golden key to BCS inclusion as an automatic qualifier.

The MWC is a non-automatic qualifer, meaning the conference's champion does not automatically receive a bid to the far more lucrative BCS bowl games. Non-AQ conference teams must meet guidelines just to make them eligible for inclusion and do not reap the same financial windfall as AQs.

TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte on Tuesday acknowledged that Big East school presidents were meeting and setting the parameters for expansion, although he had little to say to advance the subject. There appears to be some trepidation at TCU that the Big East can keep its current eight football-playing schools -- Syracuse, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, South Florida, Rutgers, Louisville, Cincinnati and Connecticut-- together, and that subsequent replacement expansion would further water-down the league, eventually causing it to lose its AQ status.

One such school is Rutgers. Some believe the New Jersey school remains a high-priority target of the Big Ten, which will consist of 12 teams beginning in 2011-12. There are also fears that the ACC could again invade the Big East as it did earlier in the decade when Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami switched allegiances.

TCU coach Gary Patterson is solely focused on Saturday's showdown in Salt Lake City. The Frogs (9-0, 5-0 MWC) moved up to No. 3 in the lastest BCS poll with the Utes at No. 5 (8-0, 5-0 MWC). No. 4 Boise State (7-0) in the WAC gives the non-AQs three teams in the top five of the BCS rankings.

For all three, the dream of playing for a national championship is alive heading into the final month of the regular season.

If TCU beats Utah and then closes out its remaining two games unblemised, and either No. 1 Oregon (8-0) or No. 2 Auburn (9-0) lose one of their remaining games, the Frogs could move into the top two. A top-two ranking in the final BCS poll in early December would land TCU in the national championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

"[Two years ago], basically Utah was playing TCU for a BCS spot, not playing for a national championship," Patterson said. "Then last year, both Boise and us end up getting to that place [BCS game], but we didn't get a chance to [play for the national championship]. Now we're talking about, because we all started higher [in the poll], now we're all sitting in a situation where that's [the national championship game] a conversation."