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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
@TheChrony
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Utah will have non-BCS edge after victory

By Nick Pappas

This is a historic week. Not only do we have the first black president in office, but for the first time in history, two top 12 teams will meet on the turf at Rice-Ecces Stadium. Let’s hope the outcome will be as satisfying as the one on Tuesday.

There have been a lot of big games played at Rice-Eccles Stadium. I was a boy in 1994 when the ranked Cougars came into the old stadium and lost 34-31. It was the first time Utah achieved consecutive wins against BYU since 1972.

I was there in 2004 when Urban Meyer led the team to perfection, and I sat shocked on the cold bleachers in 2006 when John Beck’s prayer was answered after running around like a chicken for 11 seconds.

Today’s matchup is the biggest game in Rice-Eccles Stadium’s history, and the Cougars have nothing to do with it.

Books will be written tonight. Kyle Whittingham will either go on the shelf with the Ron McBride volumes, or he will lie behind glass alongside the greatness of Urban Meyer’s short tenure. The “Blackout” game will either bring a day of mourning or a high sunrise over the Wasatch Mountains.

Even if there is some sort of slide after this game, a victory would essentially lock up a share of the Mountain West crown for the Utes. The pressure is unbearable for the fans. I can’t imagine the sheer weight on the team. The Utes’ worthiness has been questioned all season long. TCU means validation. TCU is a game that will start the bandwagon rolling.

It won’t be easy. For those out there who check the Las Vegas lines, the gamblers have put their bellies to the table and anted up on TCU. The Horned Frogs’ defense is stellar8212;No. 2 in the country behind perennial contender USC. The TCU defense has also put a curtain over their offense, which is currently No. 29 in the country.

The Utes are close, though. Utah is No. 7 in defense and No. 32 in offense. While TCU continues to get national hype for its stout defense, Utah only gives up an average of .56 yards more per play. Offensively, the teams are at a standstill. TCU averages only three more yards per game than the Utes.

So, what’s the difference? Both are teams that rely heavily on the power of their defense. Both teams sit in the doldrums of the NCAA in penalty yards per game. What about rushing yards? TCU averages 4.48 a carry, while Utah averages 4.44. The difference between these two teams is a matter of decimals.

It’s as if the Utes will be playing themselves8212;an equally hungry, albeit purple version of themselves.

The difference, then, is the surroundings. TCU will leave the comfort of Fort Worth, where they derailed BYU’s Bowl Championship Series dreams, and come to Salt Lake City, where dreams still live.

The Horned Frogs will have to face 22 men who will never let the importance of the game out of their mind. TCU will hear the wild screams of the MUSS and the alumni who will come to witness history. They will watch 35,000 black towels waving in unison, willing the team to victory. The bowl committees are going to get a show.

The “Blackout” game is tonight. It’s going to be a dark day for TCU.

[email protected]

Nick Pappas

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