Broncos will play TCU in Poinsettia Bowl

Broncos will play TCU in Poinsettia Bowl
BOISE - The darlings of the BCS two years ago, Boise State got pushed aside this time.

The Broncos don't mind. Not with the matchup they've drawn facing No. 11 TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23.

"We wanted to go to the BCS, but I believe this is the best bowl game there is outside the BCS," Boise State receiver Vinny Perretta said.
"We did everything we could do. I'm not going to sit here and complain about it."

The meeting between the ninth-ranked Broncos and No. 11 Horned Frogs might be the marquee matchup of any of the non-BCS bowl games.

The Broncos were a longshot to land one of the two at-large berths available in the BCS, especially with Utah from the Mountain West ranked two spots higher. The Utes are headed to the Sugar Bowl and a meeting with Alabama, while the Fiesta Bowl went with the massive drawing power of Ohio State ahead of Boise State, even though the Broncos were ranked one spot higher in the final BCS standings.

"Early on (the players) were all hoping it would be a BCS game, but if we couldn't go to those, this would be their No. 1 choice," Boise State coach Chris Petersen said.

Again the Broncos needed some maneuvering by the Western Athletic Conference to put together the matchup. In 2003 and 2004, the WAC worked with bowls to create strong matchups for the Broncos, who were the league champs both times. In 2003, Boise State went to Texas to play TCU in the Fort Worth Bowl, a game won by the Broncos 34-31.

The following year Boise State took Utah's spot in the Liberty Bowl when Utah became the first school from a non-BCS conference to crash the big money bowls. Louisville ended up beating Boise State 44-40 in a wild game.
No one was surprised this time around that Boise State was bypassed by the Fiesta Bowl in favor of Ohio State.

TCU coach Gary Patterson expected this rumored meeting with the Broncos to become reality, to the point his staff started breaking down game tape last week.

"We started about a week ago and started watching it along with recruiting," Patterson said on a conference call. "They're enough of a test."

There was some effort to keep Boise State at home playing on its blue turf in the Humanitarian Bowl, potentially against Ball State from the Mid-American Conference. But talks about the matchup of the two mid-majors fell apart last week and would have been hampered even more after Ball State's loss to Buffalo in the MAC championship game.

Instead, it will be Nevada and Maryland playing in Boise a week after the Broncos' matchup with TCU. For the Horned Frogs, it's the first time they'll play in a bowl game with the two teams having a combined ranking this high since the 1959 Bluebonnet Bowl, when No. 11 Clemson defeated No. 7 TCU 23-7.

"I totally think TCU is a BCS team and most of the people who know about TCU think the same," Petersen said. "This is the best team we will have played all year. It will present a tremendous challenge to us without question."