TCU 47, Utah 7
The Horned Frogs knew the Utes better than the Utes knew themselves. They enacted a gameplan that exposed the Utes weaknesses in every area. The Utes were outcoached and outplayed from the first minute to the last. Coach Whittingham has typically been a solid coach in big games (he is 5-0 in bowl games after all), but he team looked unprepared and shocked from the very outset.
Even though the Utes were utterly destroyed in this game, Saturday was a fun day. I arrived up on campus just before 8:00 AM to watch College Gameday with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, and Desmond Howard. One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday morning is to watch the show which culminates with the announcers picking who they think will win the game, with Corso wearing the mascot's headgear as an indication of who he thinks will win. Throughout the show, they were very civil to the Utes but Howard and Corso wisely picked the Horned Frogs to win the game. Just before Corso donned the Horned Frog headgear, he turned around to the large crowd and stated "You know, this place (Salt Lake City) is almost as nice as Provo!". Ouch. That's some major smack to a Ute fan...
After Gameday we had a couple of hours to kill before we went to the Ute Walk, which is where the fans can high-five and cheer on the team as they walk from the team buses to the stadium. Just like as at Gameday, there were thousands of fans lined up to cheer the team on. It was great, but just one more way in which the team was pressured.
We arrived to the stadium 60 minutes before kickoff and 30 minutes or so before kickoff the stadium was full, 15 minutes before kickoff the stadium was packed. Never before has a home game at Rice-Eccles Stadium filled up so early with a tension-laced crowd. The atmosphere throughout the day was simply amazing. And then the kickoff happened.
It became apparent pretty quickly that the Utes were once again unprepared for the Horned Frogs speed and gameplan. Without getting into the details, it seemed as though the Horned Frogs knew the Utes better than they knew themselves. The Utes gameplan was to try and get TCU's QB Andy Dalton rattled, but the TCU defense was able to quickly rattle the Utes' QB Jordan Wynn and the Utes became just another team for the Horned Frogs to easily steam roll.
Obviously, the Utes were overrated. They have since dropped to 14th in the BCS standings, which I believe is a fairly accurate ranking of the skills of this team. Boise St. TCU and Oregon just seem to be in a class of their own. Possibly Auburn can be included in that group as well. I'm pulling for the Horned Frogs to have a chance to play in the National Championship game - even though Boise St. killed the Horned Frogs in their BCS game last year. It would be an awesome championship game if the #1 offense (Oregon) met the #1 defense (TCU).
EDIT: I forgot to mention that I think Utah somewhat suffered from all of the hype that surrounded the game. The blackout, the butt-ugly wounded warrior cam jerseys, College Gameday, 2nd largest crowd in RES history, etc. That being said, I think that Utah could have played their best game of the year and still lost by 3 touchdowns. The Utes are just not on the same level as TCU. /EDIT
I believe that the Utes will be able to regroup and head into South Bend next week ready to take on the mighty Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Whittingham was outcoached this last Saturday, but I believe that he is still a good enough coach to get his team back into shape by this next weekend. Sometimes, it's good to be humbled.