Why to watch: On the cusp of being ranked and unbeaten in league play, TCU remains the other team in a Mountain West conference that also includes unbeaten BYU and Utah. The Horned Frogs rebounded nicely from their only defeat of the year, dismantling San Diego State as starting QB Andy Dalton sat with a knee injury. With a visit from the Cougars just days away, head coach Gary Patterson needs to keep his players focused on the current game on the schedule. Colorado State has been one of the league's pleasant surprises, moving past the .500 mark in Steve Fairchild's first season with a 41-28 spanking of UNLV. The Rams have a rough road ahead, but with an upset of one of the conference elite, they can seriously think about bowl eligibility a year after going 3-9.
Why TCU might win: The Horned Frog defense has been otherworldly all season, leading the nation in total defense and run defense. Colorado State needs to move the ball on the ground with Gartrell Johnson, but that won't happen against a team that's allowing less than one yard a carry and just 22 yards a game. LB Jason Phillips and linemen Matt Panfil, Cody Moore, and Jerry Hughes lead a line that'll neutralize Johnson and put the ball in the erratic hands of QB Billy Farris.
Why Colorado State might win: You can't always count on a TCU offense that's 99th nationally throwing the ball and could be without Dalton for a second straight week. It's a little easier to defend the Horned Frog ground game when the threat of the passing game is almost non-existent. The Rams will stack the box with linebackers Ricky Brewer and Jeff Horinek, daring Marcus Jackson to beat them through the air. They've been ornery at home this season, winning all three games, including a pair of quality ones against Houston and UNLV.
Who to watch: The Rams have been so bad at defending the pass this year, Jackson might have opportunities for a big play or two on Saturday. When he does drop back, he'll be looking for long-ball threat Jimmy Young. In his first season as the Frogs' go-to guy, he's already hauled in a team-high 26 passes for 348 yards.
What will happen: Just five days before hosting BYU, TCU must go on the road to face an inspired Colorado State team. It's a classic trap game. Fortunately for the Frogs, they've got the nasty defense and the power running game to weather the storm. While it won't be easy, TCU will get out of Hughes Stadium with a hard-fought and closer-than-expected victory.
CFN Prediction: TCU 27 … Colorado State 14 ... Line: TCU -14.5
Must See Rating: (5 The Girls Next Door: Season 5 - 1 2008 Chicago Cub Playoff Highlights) … 2