We’ve got an early edition of the BCS Buster Power Rankings coming out this week, as the Horned Frogs take a weekend off and the Broncos played the second of three straight Friday-night appearances in prime time for a national audience.
These two teams have three games remaining between them, just three more chances to keep themselves perched in the BCS crosshairs.
TCU has the easy road to finish the regular season undefeated, and in turn the Mountain West title is already in the bag for Gary Patterson’s crew. Boise State doesn’t enjoy that luxury, but they get something else instead that might be more beneficial — one last showcase against a top-20 team to help sway voters’ minds and boost their strength of schedule for the computers.
Both teams have reached double digits in the win column and are two of just four remaining teams without a loss yet to their record. Both have continued to prove this season, as they have in recent years, that mid-major status in conference affiliation is anything but indicative of a team’s true ability. Will that translate to a title-game berth for one of them and repeat BCS trips for both? Unless Oregon or Auburn lose before December 5 the former is unlikely, but the latter is still fully in play…
1. BOISE STATE BRONCOS (WAC/10-0)
- Last Week: 1st
- Last Game: W v. Fresno State 51-0
- Next Game: November 26 @ Nevada
Fresno State is no pushover. With RB Robbie Rouse and QB Ryan Colburn guiding an offense that averages 400 yards and over 30 points a game, the Bulldogs came to Boise at 6-3 on the season. Just a week earlier they lost a 35-34 heartbreaker to Nevada.
But Pat Hill’s team couldn’t sustain anything offensively against the Broncos, gaining just 125 yards and nine first downs. In the process Fresno State suffered their first shutout loss in twelve seasons, thoroughly bested by the hosts on their Smurf Turf.
Boise State still languishes behind Auburn and Oregon in the respect column, though, and needs help to reach the title game. No matter where they go bowling, however, the Broncos have done nothing all season to dispel my preseason assertion that they are the deepest, most well-coached team in college football. And yet they still could be shut out of the BCS, just like two years ago, if TCU manages to stay ahead of them in the BCS standings over the final three weeks…
2. TCU HORNED FROGS (MWC/11-0)
- Last Week: 2nd
- Last Game: W v. San Diego State 40-35 (Nov. 13)
- Next Game: November 27 @ New Mexico
… and if TCU does stay ahead of Boise, it won’t be a travesty insomuch that the Horned Frogs are being rewarded for what has been an equally-impressive season by an equally-skilled and veteran roster. The travesty will be that two elite squads were arbitrarily forced to battle for just one guaranteed spot while elsewhere mediocrity is rewarded (see: Big East, ACC).
It is truly an injustice that these two BCS Busters are forced to duke it out with one another in the court of public perception yet still get no guarantees for their troubles. And with the two teams having squared off against each other in their past two bowl games, with TCU winning the Poinsettia Bowl in 2008 and Boise returning the favor in the Fiesta Bowl last year, there’s not much to separate these two.
One thing working in TCU’s favor is the heightened respect afforded the Mountain West. But that could work against them as well in the last few weeks before the final BCS selections the first Sunday of December. With just conference pushover New Mexico left to face, TCU has no more opportunities to bolster its resume.
With Boise bound to get a boost from both the Fresno victory and their trip to Reno next week to face a ranked Nevada team (should they win), TCU must trounce the Lobos and hope that, unlike in these Power Rankings, they can stay ahead of a surging Boise squad for two more weeks…
- BCS Buster Power Rankings: Week 11
- BCS Buster Power Rankings: Week 10
- BCS Buster Power Rankings: Week 6