Utah Utes football: Utah plummets to 15, TCU moves to No. 3 college football polls
SALT LAKE CITY — For most of the season, Boise State was at the forefront of the debate regarding BCS non-automatic qualifiers and their chances of crashing the national title game.
Now TCU is in the spotlight, something even "one-game-at-a-time" coach Gary Patterson acknowledged Saturday after beating then-No. 6 Utah 47-7 on the road.
"The bottom line is that they put themselves on a different plateau," Patterson said. "They have to finish the season and we can only control what we can control. But I thought they made a statement. Everybody else in the country, when they go into someone else's house in a big game, they usually end up getting beat."
It happened to then-No. 1 Alabama at South Carolina on Oct. 9. Then to newly crowned No. 1 Ohio State at Wisconsin the following week. And Oklahoma, the first BSC No. 1, fell two weeks ago at Missouri.
TCU's win over Utah, which was No. 5 in the BCS, bumped the Frogs to 10-0 for the second straight year and third time in the last eight seasons. TCU also has a 23-game regular-season winning streak is 36-3 in its last 39 games and, with 558 yards of offense, surpassed the 500-yard mark for the third straight game and fifth time this season.
Plus, in thoroughly dismantling Utah before a sellout, standing-room-only crowd, TCU more than made amends for a 13-10 loss in that same stadium two years earlier.
"No coach would have predicted this," Patterson said of the 40-point win.
Will it ultimately be enough to vault the Frogs into the BCS title game?
"I can't call the BCS flawed until I see how it ends up," Patterson said. "If we finish 12-0, we'll feel we did all we could do."
The problem is, TCU needs help — just like Boise State. Oregon appears unlikely to lose with remaining games against Cal, fading Arizona and Oregon State. But if Auburn looses to Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 26, the Frogs could leapfrog into the No. 2 spot.
With such a complete team — a record-setting quarterback in Andy Dalton, the nation's top-ranked defense and spectacular special teams — TCU showed it can play with anyone.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham sure is a believer.
"TCU thoroughly outplayed us and it was not even close," he said. "I still believe we are a good team, but it was painfully obvious today that we are not as good as TCU."
The Frogs host San Diego State on Saturday in the final game at Amon G. Carter Stadium before a major renovation. Then, after an off week, TCU finishes at New Mexico on Nov. 27.
"We got another game to play," Patterson said, noting the upcoming distractions of senior day and renovations to the 80-year-old stadium. But TCU got past the biggest hurdle on its schedule, winning at a place it had never won before.
"Everybody understands what kind of a team Utah has, and for us to do it the way we did ... says a lot about what we've done as a program and what we do," Patterson said. "We wanted to be peaking at the end of the year and I think we have an opportunity to do that."
AP Top 25
The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 6, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking:
Record Pts Pv
1. Oregon (49) 9-0 1,484 1
2. Auburn (2) 10-0 1,396 3
3. TCU (2) 10-0 1,391 4
4. Boise St. (7) 8-0 1,366 2
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