This isn't the fearsome, multi-faceted rushing attack we've become accustomed to seeing from the Horned Frogs. After ranking ninth in the nation in rushing offense in 2006, TCU dropped to 40th in '07. Sophomore
TCU has been carried, in large part, by its defense. It ranks 18th in the nation against the run (yielding 109.4 ypg) and ninth in pass efficiency (104.7 rating). Senior defensive end
The Cougars' biggest question mark concerns the situation on their sideline. Can they win a bowl game without the services of their head coach,
While Houston's offense was potent enough under Briles to rank fourth in the nation in total yards, its D has been occasionally porous, allowing 48 points to Oregon, 37 to East Carolina, 48 to Rice and 56 to Tulsa. The Cougars still ranked first in the C-USA in total defense at 365.7 yards per game, which may say more about the league's lack of D than it does about Houston's ability to shut down opponents. The Cougs' main weapon on that side of the ball is junior defensive lineman
At face value, the fact that the Cougars are without Briles would seem to doom them for this game. But it also might be the kind of adversity they need to maintain focus on a bowl game held in their hometown. Look for Alridge to eventually wear down the Horned Frogs' D, and the better offense -- Houston's -- to prevail.