2010 BCS Bowl Preview: 5 Things to Watch for in the Fiesta Bowl

One of the more intriguing matchups of the 2009-2010 bowl season takes place in Glendale, Arizona when No. 4 TCU takes on No. 6 Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl on January 4. As part of our 2010 BCS Bowl Preview, here are five things to watch for in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.

1. The most controversial matchup of the bowl season
The TCU-Boise State matchup represents everything that’s wrong with the current BCS system. Instead of these two teams having the opportunity to prove themselves against BCS conference teams, the Horned Frogs and Broncos will play each other…again. These same two teams squared off last year in the Poinsettia Bowl and while it was a tightly contested game, true college fans would rather see how TCU and Boise would fair against a program like Florida or Georgia Tech. Instead, neither team will be able to prove much, which is exactly how the BCS wants it. Nevertheless, this is an exciting matchup that comes fully stocked with plenty of intrigue and drama associated with the game.

2. TCU’s No. 1 defense vs. Boise’s No. 1 scoring offense
It doesn’t get any better then when the No. 1 defense in the country gets to take on the No. 1 scoring offense. Along with being first in the nation in total defense, the Horned Frogs have the sixth best scoring defense, the third best run defense and the fourth best pass defense. Thanks to Jerry Hughes, Daryl Washington, Tank Carder and a host of others, TCU arguably has the fastest and most aggressive defense in the nation. But don’t expect the Broncos to cower to the Frogs’ dominant defense. Led by quarterback Kellen Moore, Boise ranks first in scoring, 20th in rushing and 30th in passing. They average over 44 points per game, are No. 1 in sacks allowed and 8th in total offense. But if there was one thing they struggle with, it’s red zone efficiency. Thanks to their spread offense, Boise can score quickly with big plays. But the closer they get to the end zone, the harder it becomes for them to score because they lack a power running game. Can Boise improve in that area in order to beat TCU?

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The Official Fiesta Bowl Smack Talk Thread: Boise State vs. TCU

In one of the more anticipated matchups of the 2009-2010 bowl season, the Boise State Broncos will take on the TCU Horned Frogs in the Fiesta Bowl this year. In order to get you ready for a game, here’s a quick glance at the matchup, key stats and more.

2010 Fiesta Bowl Game Information
Matchup: Boise State vs. TCU
Venue: University of Phoenix Stadium
Kickoff: 8PM ET
Odds: TCU –7

Key Stats:
The Horned Frogs come into this game as one of the more accomplished teams in college football this season. Led by quarterback Andy Dalton, TCU ranks fourth in total offense, fourth in scoring offense and fifth in rushing offense. The Horned Frogs also have the top defense in the nation, rank third in run defense and third in pass defense. As if they don’t dominate enough statistical categories, the Frogs also have the best kickoff return unit in the country.

Of course, Boise State is certainly no push over when it comes to rankings this season. The Broncos have the eighth best offense in the nation and rank No. 1 in scoring while averaging over 44 points a game. They’re balanced attack is led by quarterback Kellen Moore and running back Jeremy Avery, who have paved the way for the 20th best rushing and 30th best passing offense in college football. Defensively, Boise ranks 13th in total defense, 40th against the run and 13th in pass defense. The Broncos have also allowed the fewest sacks of any team in college football this season.

The Bottom Line:
This is the most controversial matchup of the bowl season considering both of these teams would rather play BCS opponents in order to prove themselves. Plus, they already met in the Poinsettia Bowl last year, so this is a matchup college football fans have already seen. That said, this could also turn out to be the best bowl game of the year outside of the national title game. Will Moore lead Boise State to an upset win, or will TCU’s No. 1 ranked defense put the clamps down on the Broncos’ potent offense again this year?

Let the smack talk begin:

Who will win the 2010 Fiesta Bowl?
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Mandel: Ranking the Bowls 1-34

SI.com’s Stewart Mandel recently ranked all 34 bowl games.

Here are his top 5:

1) BCS National Championship Game (Jan. 7): Alabama (13-0) vs. Texas (13-0). It’s the first-ever matchup of two 13-0 teams. Colt McCoy. Mark Ingram. Rolando McClain. Sergio Kindle. Yeah, I’m thinking you might want to tune in.

2) Sugar (Jan. 1): Cincinnati (12-0) vs. Florida (12-1). It’s spread vs. spread, Tim Tebow vs. Tony Pike, Mardy Gilyard vs. Joe Haden. It may be a letdown game for the Gators, but it should still be entertaining.

3) Fiesta (Jan. 4): TCU (12-0) vs. Boise State (13-0). Enough with the outrage, people: You know you’re going to watch. The nation’s No. 1 passer, Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore, goes up against the nation’s top-ranked defense.

4) Rose (Jan. 1): Ohio State (10-2) vs. Oregon (10-2). Dangerous dual-threat star Jeremiah Masoli is what Terrelle Pryor was supposed to be. But the Buckeyes present the toughest defense the Ducks have faced since Boise.

5) Orange (Jan. 5): Georgia Tech (11-2) vs. Iowa (10-2). You remember the Hawkeyes. They love low scores and dramatic finishes. With a month to prepare, can Pat Angerer, Tyler Sash and Co. stifle Josh Nesbitt and the triple-option?

That’s how I would have my top 5, although the Fiesta and Sugar bowls might be interchangeable. I love watching TCU’s defense play and I’m intrigued about how Gary Patterson will game plan to stop Boise’s offense. That said, I’m interested to see how Cincinnati responds after Brian Kelly ditched them for Notre Dame.

I know Georgia Tech’s triple-option is exciting to watch and Iowa does have a solid front seven, but that matchup just doesn’t have the same appeal as the other four. Maybe it’ll wind up being the best BCS game of the season, but the matchup offers little sizzle compared to the other top bowls.

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Boise State knocks off Nevada, wins share of WAC title

Boise State knocks off Nevada, wins share of WAC title With their 44-33 win over Nevada on Friday night, Boise State seized a share of the WAC title.

The two teams repeated recent history after the Broncos jumped out a big lead only to have the Wolf Pack make it a game towards the end of the first half. Last season, Boise was up 21 points twice before Nevada came back and made it a one-possession game in the fourth quarter. In 2007, the Broncos had a 21-7 lead evaporate before finally beating the Wolf Pack in the fourth overtime.

On Friday, Boise cruised to a 27-3 second quarter lead before Nevada crawled back right before half with two touchdowns under four minutes. The Broncos also had a 44-26 lead in the fourth until the Wolf Pack added a garbage touchdown at the end to make the score respectable.

Kellen Moore finished with 262 yards on 17-of-33 passing for five touchdowns. Sophomore tailback Doug Martin also added 128 yards on 16 carries as the Broncos racked up 165 rushing yards.

Of course, that was nothing compared to the 242 rushing yards Nevada compiled. Vai Taua was once again as good as advertised, rushing for 160 yards on 24 carries and one touchdown (which went for 71 yards).

In the end, Nevada just couldn’t string enough drives together in the second half to seize the momentum in the game and turn the tide in their favor. Even after Taua busted off the 71-yard to put them up by eight and they recovered a Boise fumble on the next possession, the Wolf Pack couldn’t flip the script.

A win once again just wasn’t in the cards for Nevada.

Boise State to be tested by Nevada

While the attention will primarily be on No. 6 Boise State, Nevada has plenty to play for when the two teams clash at Bronco Stadium on Friday night.

The Wolf Pack has won eight straight games coming into tonight’s contest and a win would mean a guaranteed share of the WAC title. They’ve given the Broncos trouble the past two years, losing by only a combined nine points.

Boise State’s mission tonight is simple: Stop the run. Nevada has the top rushing attack in the nation and have three 1,000-yard rushers. The Broncos simply haven’t seen a running game as good as the Wolf Pack offers and have had trouble with teams that can run right up the gut. Still, they’re only allowing 115 rushing yards per game and dominated other top ground attacks in Fresno State and Idaho.

On the other side of the ball, Nevada’s defense better be ready to step up. The Wolf Pack rank 119th in the nation in pass defense and is giving up 286.27 yards per game. Kellen Moore must be licking his chops to take on such a horrid secondary, but he needs to limit turnovers that will give Nevada scoring opportunities.

Outside of a home game against a 3-8 New Mexico State team, this is it for Boise State: Get past Nevada on Black Friday and their BCS dreams will stay alive.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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