TCU (-7.5) vs. Boise State
8:00 pm ET
This is the bowl I have been looking forward to more than any other (though I still think it would have been better to have these teams play Cincinnati and Florida instead of each other again). I really haven’t got a good sense of how this one is going to turn out, but I am a bit surprised by the size of the spread. TCU played a significantly tougher schedule overall, but Boise State’s win over Oregon was the most impressive that either team had all year. That perceived slight could be good motivation for Boise State – not that they need it. It’s interesting to note that this is the first time that undefeated teams have played each other in a bowl game without a national championship on the line. Both teams have a lot to offer on both sides of the ball. TCU is brilliant defensively, and very good on offense as well. Boise State is explosive on offense, and showed against Oregon that they can smother on defense as well. Both teams are reasonably healthy, and they are both exceptionally well coached so they are going to be ready for his one. It was a brilliant game last year when the two teams met and TCU got a narrow win, and I expect even more from this one. The best individual matchup I will be keeping my eye on is Boise State QB Kellen Moore against TCU sack machine Jerry Hughes. Moore and the Broncos need to find a way to contain the TCU pass rush if they want to be able to come out on top.
Boise State played the bowl game of the decade against Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, and the last decade has had some other classics – 2003’s Ohio State win over Miami in double overtime for the national championship, West Virginia-Oklahoma in 2008, and even Texas-Ohio State last year. Here’s hoping that this year’s edition joins that company.