As sports fans looked at the schedules for the 2010 NCAA Football schedule, one Mountain West Conference game stood out beyond the rest. Utah, division rivals of Texas Christian University, is arguably the only team other than Oregon State in week 1, standing between the Horned Frogs and an otherwise easily reached undefeated season, and a shot at a National Championship.
This weekend, two of the last 5 undefeated teams this season will clash in Utah, as (3) TCU takes on (5) Utah. You may remember last season when TCU waxed the Utes 55-28 in Fort Worth, but this season, Utah is confident that they won’t go down as easy.
The Utes are 8-0 (5-0) this season, playing tremendously on both sides of the football. The Utes defense is only allowing an average of 14.1 points per game (6th in the FBS) and their offense is absolutely destroying opponents, by scoring an average of 45.3 points per game (3rd in the FBS). TCU, on the other hand, is only allowing an average of 8.7 points per game (1st in the FBS) and scoring 40.8 points per game (9th in the FBS).
When asked about their week 10 opponents, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham sounded concerned with TCU’s, what he called, “lights out defense.” “They’re number 1 in total defense, number 1 in scoring defense, number 1 in 3rd down defense,” Coach Whittingham said, “you name it, and they’re doin’ it defensively.”
Andy Dalton has been proving himself this season, in every category. Keep in mind that 160 is a perfect quarterback rating when you contemplate that Dalton has a combined QB rating of 158.7 this season. Dalton is also completing 66% of his passes for over 1,800 yards. When Dalton isn’t throwing the ball, the Frogs rely on Junior running back Ed Wesley. Wesley is referred to by many NFL scouts as the best thing to come out of TCU since LaDanian Tomlinson. Wesley is rapidly approaching his first 1,000 rushing yard season, with 938 yards, giving him 10 touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, TCU is led by Sophomore linebacker Tanner Brock. In 2009, he led the Frogs in tackles and special teams tackles. With two stud defensive ends, who have NFL scouts on their backs, the Horned Frogs defense looks to smother a hot Utes offense.
The biggest concern for TCU this week won’t necessarily be on who they’re playing, but where. TCU is 0-3 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in the past, and that is a major flaw in an otherwise stunning team. As unimportant as it seems, college teams in particular have trouble playing in loud, hostile environments, and the Utes fans know how to make a lot of noise with 45,000 people.
With the number one defense in all categories, and an overbearing offense, I don’t think the Utes have enough raw physical talent to stop this steamrolling TCU squad. But with all the hype in Salt Lake City, with a chance for Utah to become the first Mountain West team in the National Championship, TCU’s talented team against an also talented team with an aggravating environment, will make for a battle of the ages.
Tune in Staurday at 3:30 to see the game
About the Author
Written by James Harrison Jr.
I am a high school varsity athlete, currently a junior, and a sports writer on a nationally accredited high school newspaper. My goal is to become a sports analyst, and eventually work for ESPN. I know a lot about almost every sport, league, team and athlete, but my favorite sports to cover are football, hockey and baseball. Feel free to follow me on Twitter, @RobHarrison93, and also give me any thoughts/advice on my writing!