Pre-Bowl Thoughts - Fiesta
What To Watch For
Fiesta Bowl Preview - TCU vs. Boise State
Although I rarely get sucked into supposed coaching chess matches, which are often overhyped media tools, this one between Boise State's Chris Petersen and TCU's Gary Patterson has a chance to be legitimately compelling.
On one side of the field is Patterson, one of the most underrated defensive minds in the country. He's made a living out of taking great athletes, regardless of their past experience or position, and molding them into hellacious defenders. All-Mountain West first teamers Jerry Hughes, Daryl Washington, Rafael Priest, and Nick Sanders are shining examples of how they coach up players in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs are all about speed and pursuit, boasting one of the fastest defenses you've probably never seen in action.
Over on the other side of the field is Petersen, an offensive wunderkind with a playbook that has more fancy gadgets than your local Brookstone retailer. Although he never attracts the hottest West Coast talent to Idaho, his offenses are always crisp, inventive, and unpredictable. It's sort of a job requirement when you're consistently landing kids that the Pac-10 passed on. When Petersen opens his bag of tricks, anything his possible, especially when he has the nation's most efficient passer, Kellen Moore, handling snaps.
Okay, so it's not Bobby Fischer vs. Boris Spassky, but Patterson matching wits with Petersen promises to bring a lot of interesting results and halftime adjustments. More than just two of the best coaches in the country, these guys are genuinely cerebral tacticians, making the coaching face-off as interesting as any that takes place on the field.
TCU mistakes… if they ever emerge at all. It's really rather simple: TCU beat Boise State, 17-16, in last year's Poinsettia Bowl despite dominating the Broncos in the trenches. Turnovers and other flop-sweat moments have periodically ambushed the Horned Frogs in the past, but this year, TCU managed to remain steady throughout the course of the regular season. If the Frogs play their best game, Boise's best won't be nearly enough. BSU needs to force turnovers and cause Texas Christian to doubt itself.
Welcome to the BCS kids table. After learning that employees of the Fiesta Bowl were encouraged (allegedly) to contribute to the campaigns of certain politicians,
can we question whether or not John Junker and the rest of the BCS crew
made sure the two non-BCS schools would be marooned away from the big conference participants? Boise State and TCU will collect a lot of cash. One of them will remain undefeated. But neither gets to prove its worth against a BCS school. Enjoy the clash between the nasty Frog defense and BSU's acrobatic O, but don't stop pining for what could have been.