Dueling Columns: Will Utah game resemble last season?

Atmosphere is just right for high quality Frog performance

To say Saturday’s game against Utah would be the turning-point night in the Frogs’ season was an understatement the minute the purple clad warriors walked off the field in Provo after thumping the Cougars. But to say that Saturday’s game is a turning point in TCU football history might be a little more appropriate.

Avid Frog fans will not have experienced anything like the atmosphere that will electrify Amon Carter Stadium on Saturday once it collides with the anxious anticipation that has engulfed the campus for the past week. No game has had as much hype as this weekend’s since the late ’30s, when TCU played SMU in Fort Worth in what many viewed as the national championship game.

However, this game is no different than any other the Frogs have played this season. They are the team with the most talent and momentum, and it’s their game to lose. Pus, all the intangibles are in the Frogs’ favor.

This season, TCU has played up to their potential in the games that featured a large, loud crowd and high national exposure. The team seems to feed off the energy of the crowd, especially evident in the game against Colorado State, where it seemed like the team took a while to get going because of the sparse crowd. There is no way the Frogs won’t bring their A-game for the sea of purple that will be present Saturday.

The Frogs are the more talented, more experienced team and on paper should win this game. But this game is about more than stats and strategy. This game will be full of emotion and pride, characteristics the Frogs have displayed this year. Frog kicker Ross Evans will have his chance for sweet retribution, and the Frogs should come out winners by a field goal.

Sports Editor Travis L. Brown is a senior news-editoral journalism major from Dallas.

Utes find similarities in this year’s matchup

The 2009 matchup between the Utes and the Horned Frogs is quite reminiscent of the 2008 game between the two Mountain West Conference powerhouses. Not only are both teams undefeated in conference, but once again the matchup has major implications both within the conference as well as for the Bowl Championship Series.

But the similarities don’t end there. In 2008 the Utes revealed their “blackout” jerseys for the first time, just as TCU will be unveiling their new Nike Pro Combat jerseys this Saturday.

The final parallel between the 2008 and 2009 matchup will be the outcome.

While the Horned Frogs are heavy favorites over the Utes, Utah has made the tough decisions necessary to top the No. 4 team in the country.

Against Wyoming two weeks ago, Utah’s head coach Kyle Whittingham made the decision to bring offensive coordinator Dave Shcramm out of the box and down onto the field and gave play-calling responsibilities to receivers coach Aaron Roderick. But that wasn’t the only change on offense. At halftime, Whittingham benched starter junior quarterback Terrance Cain in favor of true freshman quarterback Jordan Wynn.

Since then the Utah offense has opened up and become more productive then ever. Pair the consistency of junior running back Eddie Wide, who has rushed for six straight 100-yard rushing performances, with the big-play capabilities of Wynn and his strong arm, and the Utes will be bringing an offense to Fort Worth that is more potent than ever.

While TCU has had an amazing run to 9-0 in 2009, the Horned Frogs have not gone up against a defense like Utah’s all season long. The outstanding linebacker core, made up of seniors Stevenson Sylvester, Mike Wright and Kepa Gaison, will stuff the run and force Andy Dalton to throw into a much improved secondary headlined by senior free safety Robert Johnson, who has five interceptions on the year.

The Utes are major underdogs in Saturday’s showdown, but Utah was also an underdog the last time the Utes faced a No. 4 team, Alabama, in the Sugar Bowl – and we all remember how that went.

Bryan Chouinard is the assistant sports editor at the Daily Utah Chronicle.