Some random TCU-Fiesta Bowl thoughts

January, 5, 2010
1/05/10
2:31
AM CT
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- As I sit here back at the hotel, a few things are running through my mind. So here are my thoughts. I welcome yours.

* I never expected TCU to come out nervous. When it came to big games this season, TCU was ready. BYU. Utah. They crushed those teams, jumping on them from the start. But the Frogs honestly looked a little scared on Monday. That surprised me.

* TCU's defense gave up 10 points. But it was not one of their best games. Boise State wide receivers were open (against a depleted secondary dealing with injuries) and quarterback Kellen Moore had way too much time to make decisions. TCU couldn't get enough pressure on him and he did enough to win the game.

* The fake punt was a good call. But it's what happened after that they cost TCU. The defense just seemed to go flat. They had worked so hard to stop them and force the punt and one 29-yard play altered the feel of the game. After the fake punt, Boise State was able to move it right down.

* One loss does not take away an entire season. I saw plenty of disappointed Frog fans. That's understandable. But this is still a top-10 team and it's one that should be ranked in the top-1o to start 2010. They didn't play well on Monday and still had a chance to tie the game. Heck, the tying touchdown pass was dropped with less than five minutes left.

* 2010, though, just got tougher. Boise State will be on TCU's radar screen the whole season. Why? Because the Broncos will start in front of TCU in 2010 and they have a tougher nonconference schedule with Virginia Tech on it. So if Boise State and TCU go undefeated, it's likely Boise State would stay in front. We'll see.

* I do think TCU will use this loss as motivation. That was a depressed locker room. And I understand the mood didn't change once the team got back to the team hotel tonight (they won't depart until tomorrow for Fort Worth). This will be just like that Utah game from 2008.

* Don't worry about Andy Dalton. He had a bad game. But he's mature beyond his years and I don't think this will impact him next season at all. He'll come out and play well. He didn't get much help from his receivers on Monday, either. I know Dalton threw the three picks -- one was particularly costly. But several receivers dropped big passes (including the TD pass late).

* I was also surprised TCU couldn't run the ball. Boise State's rush defense was not that great all season (Fresno State and Nevada ran on them). I thought TCU could have tried to run the ball more on Monday, too. They kind of helped make themselves one-dimensional. But give Boise State credit for that too.

* TCU sure will miss Jerry Hughes and Daryl Washington. Both have good NFL careers in front of them.

* One final note: From a guy that has watched TCU football for years, this program sure has come a long way from 1-10 in 1997, the year before Dennis Franchione and Gary Patterson arrived. Enjoy that, Frog fans. There's no reason to think TCU can't find a way to get back to a BCS bowl next year.
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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