Monday, Nov. 9, 2009 | 2 a.m.
Each week during the 2009 football season, we'll take a look at the winners and losers from the weekend in the Mountain West Conference.
Winner: Surprise, surprise ...
Consider this your weekly TCU update, as this marks the third week in a row in which the Horned Frogs lead off this blog. I know it may look repetitive at this point, but someone give me a good reason not to do so, and it'll be taken under consideration.
What'd the Horned Frogs do this weekend? Well, it went pretty much as expected, in the form of a 55-12 plowing of San Diego State.
It was pretty ho-hum. SDSU moved the ball a bit, but never really was a big threat. Meanwhile, TCU junior quarterback Andy Dalton completed 14 of 20 pass attempts and scored four total touchdowns.
The big news that made TCU the Mountain West's big winner of the weekend, though, came on Sunday night.
The Horned Frogs are now completely in the driver's seat behind the "The Big Three" (Florida-Alabama-Texas) in the latest BCS standings. They're right ahead of Cincinnati and Boise State.
Gary Patterson's club gets one more shot at earning some major juice with the voters next weekend. Before mopping up the 2009 season against Wyoming and New Mexico (two teams with a combined 4-14 record), they host 8-1 Utah next Saturday. Utah went undefeated a year ago, and obviously has some pull around the country. Another lopsided score could put the Horned Frogs on easy street.
Loser: Colorado State
You know, I still think the Rams were pretty justified in getting some early season hype when they started 3-0. Beating Colorado in Boulder was admirable, and seeing the way UNR is steam-rolling people now in the WAC, that win looks better and better.
But in falling to 3-7 and out of bowl contention on Saturday night thanks to a 35-16 loss at Sam Boyd Stadium to UNLV, Colorado State looked flat-out punchless. Nothing short of it. Sloppy.
In what was the program's first ever loss in Las Vegas to the Rebels, CSU held the ball for 37:59, but had trouble producing points ... obviously. Meanwhile, the porous defense allowed UNLV to score touchdowns on each of its four trips into the red zone, and the Rams' quarterback duo of Grant Stucker and Jon Eastman became the victims of the first interception for the UNLV defense since Sept. 19.
They tried an endless amount of trick plays, which came across as a sign of desperation.
Winner: UNLV QB Omar Clayton
While Colorado was treading water any way it possibly could on offense, Clayton — for the second time in three weeks — looked the part of the calm general of the Rebels' offense.
His numbers weren't eye-popping, going 10-of-17 for 147 yards and two total touchdowns, but he didn't turn the ball over, which gave him three games in a row without doing so.
UNLV still has a glimmer of hope in terms of getting to 6-6 and attaining bowl eligibility, and Clayton will have to stay on his recent course for the Rebels to have a chance. He can't be the quarterback who threw nine interceptions in his first six starts of the 2009 campaign.
The Cowboys are in the midst of an offensive drought that rivals the one they suffered through to start the season.
Following an embarrassing 52-0 home loss at the hands of a peeved-off BYU squad, Wyoming now has scored just 10 points in its last three games combined.
The shocker? All three were losses.
Oddly enough, at 4-5, it's never too late for the Pokes to get on the straight and narrow again and get to 6-6. That said, next weekend's road game at 4-5 San Diego State is pivotal for both programs.
Winner: Quarterbacks in Utah
You know what to expect from Max Hall when the BYU senior quarterback is coming off of both a rough home loss and a bye week against an inferior opponent.
He proved that theory true by going 20-of-22 for 312 yards and four touchdowns at Wyoming.
Equally impressive this weekend was Utah freshman Jordan Wynn in his first career start.
By going 18-of-28 for 297 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, Wynn, now bulked up to 195 pounds, showed a firm grasp of the spread offense. Utah strolled past New Mexico, 45-14, after a slow start.
In recent weeks, the Utes had simply been squeaking by, but behind Wynn, they again look legitimately dangerous with that stout defense thrown into the mix.
Now we'll see how the kid holds up at TCU next weekend.
Loser: New Mexico
Now 0-10, New Mexico has one shot left at a win this season, hosting Colorado State next weekend.
The following Saturday has the Lobos rounding out TCU's regular season slate. Could that be the biggest spread the Vegas oddsmakers put out there this season?
In a nutshell, things just aren't getting any better for coach Mike Locksley in year one.