Wednesday, May 18, 2011

TCU Takes Aim at Boise State in Their Final Year in the Mountain West Conference

The TCU Horned Frogs and the Boise State Broncos will finally battle in a game that does not have a BCS logo on the field. Both schools will play one season as conference foes in the Mountain West Conference before TCU ships off to the Big East for the 2012 season.

Three years ago, these two teams would meet in San Diego for the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl in a game that did not really mean all that much to either team. Not to say either team wanted to prove a point, it just was not the kind of bowl either of these teams were hoping for at the end of the season.

Tanner Brock (R-L) Tanner Brock #35 and Logan Sligar #59 of the TCU Horned Frogs react after making a tackle in the first half against the Boise State Broncos during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 4, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Mid-way through the first half the Broncos had held TCU scoreless before Aaron Brown scored on a 16-yard touchdown run to pull the Horned Frogs to within six, 13-7, at the half.

It seemed to be the momentum TCU needed. Their defense stepped up and held Boise State to just three points in the second half and pulled out a 17-16 win.

Just over a year later, these two teams would face each other again. This time it would pit the two mid-major teams against each other in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl. It was the first time in BCS history that a mid-major team, Boise State, would get an at large bid to play in a BCS bowl game.

Just like in the Poinsettia Bowl, Boise State jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead but would give up a late touchdown to TCU quarterback Andy Dalton with under a minute left in the first half. This game was shaping up to go exactly the same way as the Poinsettia Bowl had gone.

By the end of the third quarter TCU had tied the game, 10-10, and looked to be on their way to beating Boise State in a bowl game for the second straight year.

The Broncos were not about to let that happen. After a Doug Martin touchdown to give the Broncos a 17-10 lead, their defense would do the rest shutting TCU down for the remainder of the game and allowing Boise State to walk away with their second Fiesta Bowl victory, 17-10.

After two bowl games and a combined 60 points between these two teams, you would have to think that a conference showdown between TCU and Boise State would be one to watch. The Broncos can play the underdog all they want but it's TCU who wants to play spoiler in more ways than one.

After the departure of the Utah Utes to the PAC-12 and BYU going independent, TCU was the only big time team left in the Mountain West Conference. Rumors began to spread that the Horned Frogs were looking for greener pastures of their own.

Some thought the WAC and Mountain West would join forces once again to create one big conference in order to chase an automatic BCS berth. Others believed the MWC was wooing such schools as Houston, SMU, and others to try and keep the Horned Frogs from jumping ship.

After bringing on Boise State and following that up with Fresno State, Nevada, and Hawaii, all from the Western Athletic Conference, it looked like the MWC was going to get their wish and would be able to keep TCU close to home.

However, the Big East came calling with their automatic BCS bid and TCU could not resist the temptation of playing in a BCS bowl game year in and year out. It would benefit the program, and the school itself, in a lot of ways. It was more than enough to convince them to sign on the dotted line, allowing them to look forward to things to come.

So, in 2011, TCU and Boise State will battle as conference foes for the first and last time. A rivalry, though a small one, has begun between these two teams and this game may hold implications for not only further showdowns but also with bragging rights.

As the Horned Frogs finish up their final season as members of the Mountain West Conference, they can end their time by stealing victories and the conference championship trophy. Taking it with them to their new conference, thumbing their nose the whole way.

Their conference has already stolen from them, taking their home game against Boise State and handing it to the Broncos instead. The phrase "don't poke an angry dog with a stick," is exactly what the athletic directors from around the conference did by taking the home game away from the veteran and handing it to the rookie.

TCU wants to be the one to laugh last and laugh the longest. They would like nothing more than to throw a blowout on the Broncos and yelling out "how do you like us now" while boarding the team bus.

This could be an epic battle between these two super power mid-major programs and two already legendary coaches, Chris Petersen and Gary Patterson.

Boise State might get the most national attention, both good and bad, but TCU has waited a long time for their chance in the spotlight.

After their battle on November 12th, someone might end up writing a book titled, "The Silence of the Broncos."

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