By Chadd Cripe
© 2010 Idaho Statesman
While I was watching the “BCS Countdown” show Sunday night, Kirk Herbstreit and my dad made the same point at the same time — what has TCU done this year to make people think the Horned Frogs are better than last year, when they lost to the Broncos in the Fiesta Bowl?
And if you break down the numbers, it’s clear. While the Horned Frogs have been slightly more impressive this year against a schedule that ranks the same as last year, the Broncos have been far more impressive than last year against a schedule that ranks significantly higher than last year.
Here are the highlights:
— Boise State’s yardage margin (total offense minus total defense) is 312 yards this year — a 108 percent increase over last year. TCU’s yardage margin is 277 yards, a 28 percent increase.
— Boise State’s scoring margin is 34.4 points per game, a 37 percent increase. TCU’s scoring margin is 32.9, a 29 percent increase.
— Boise State has made larger gains than TCU in rushing offense, total offense, scoring offense, rush defense, total defense, scoring defense and sacks.
— Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore has improved his efficiency rating by 30.73 points — or 19 percent. That’s particularly impressive because Moore finished No. 2 in the nation last year. TCU quarterback Andy Dalton’s rating is up 9.8 percent.
— Boise State’s big wins in 2009 and 2010 are similar — the Broncos were more dominant against Oregon in 2009, but they beat Virginia Tech on the road. TCU’s big wins are similar, too — they crushed Utah this year and crushed Utah and BYU last year.
— Boise State’s most-criticized performance last year was a seven-point win at Tulsa. Its most-criticized performance this year was a 29-point win against Louisiana Tech, a game the Broncos led by 36 when the starters left. TCU’s most-criticized win last year was a three-point decision at Air Force. Its most criticized win this year was a 17-point decision at SMU.
— And, finally, TCU’s schedule ranks 62nd in the Sagarin Ratings. Its schedule was 60th last year. Boise State’s schedule currently ranks 72nd. Its schedule ranked 96th last year. In fact, the Broncos’ schedule this year is projected to finish ahead of TCU’s.
The point: If Boise State was the better team in January, when the Broncos won the Fiesta Bowl, and it’s the more improved team this year, what makes so many people think the Horned Frogs are the better team this year?
Boise State senior safety Jeron Johnson has been named one of eight semifinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which goes to a defensive player based on integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity.
Earlier, I posted the news that Boise State has received a $5 million pledge for stadium expansion earmarked for the new football complex in the north end zone.
Also, don’t forget to enter Brian Murphy’s Name the Score contest.