Utah showdown could alter path to the Championship

Utah showdown could alter path to the Championship

After passing Boise State in the BCS standings this week, TCU is in a position to contend for a spot in the BCS National Championship game. But that will mean nothing if TCU doesn’t win this week against No. 5 Utah, head coach Gary Patterson said.

“We’re not going there to be respectful,” Patterson said. “We’re going there to have an opportunity to win by one point with however we need to do it.”

Not only does the game have huge national implications, but the winner will take over the top spot in the Mountain West Conference.

“The championship has always gone through Utah, it’s gone through Fort Worth, whether it be BYU, Utah or ourselves,” Patterson said. “Here we are again.”

He said he would start preparing for Utah’s atmosphere tonight by playing loud music behind the offense during practice.

Senior quarterback Andy Dalton said Utah is a tough place to play because their fans have bought into what the team has done.

“They’re [Utah fans] loud; they’re noisy, obnoxious. They do a great job, especially on offense, with the crowd noise,” Dalton said.

Both teams are undefeated, and Patterson said he admired the job Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has done this year.

He said a lot of Utah’s success had come from sophomore quarterback Jordan Wynn.

“When he manages the game and when he gets them in the right play, and when they run the football and they play action, they’re very good at what they do,” Patterson said. “We have to prepare for that.”

Last season, Wynn was starting his first career game on the road when the Utes came to Fort Worth and were crushed 55-28. Patterson said he read that Wynn decided to go to Utah after watching Utah’s 13-10 win over TCU in 2008. Wynn had originally committed to the University of Colorado.

Offensively, Patterson said that although turnovers and special teams mistakes can cost him the game, the Frogs can’t be conservative on the road.

“You can’t stay safe. Especially as the visiting team, if you stay safe, you get beat,” he said. “That doesn’t mean you have to be crazy, but you’ve go to be ready to go.”

If all that wasn’t big enough for the game, this also will be the last time the two teams play in the MWC. Next season, Utah will leave for the Pac-10 conference.

Patterson said his players practiced with a lot of energy so far this week despite arriving home from Las Vegas just an hour before Sunday’s practice.