The college football world is changing, with teams from outside the six power conferences challenging for BCS berths. This weekend brings the biggest matchup between non-BCS conference teams since ... January, when TCU and Boise State played in the Fiesta Bowl. Saturday, No. 4 TCU and No. 6 Utah will move into the center of the college football universe for three hours, earning the ESPN
TCU enters the game as a five-point favorite. The Frogs have failed to cover in three of their last four meetings with Utah. Utah has covered five straight times as a home underdog, including the '08 matchup, and the Utes are 5-0-1 against the number in their last six home games. Numbers trend toward Utah.
TCU's defense has held Mountain West opponents scoreless on 52 of 55 possessions this season.
TCU is the better team on paper, but the home field will be an equalizer in this one. Special teams will be critical. TCU kicker Ross Evans is 3-for-6 on field goals in two games against Utah and 34-for-38 the rest of his career. Utah's Shaky Smithson is the nation's leading punt returner and has taken two back for touchdowns, but TCU returner Jeremy Kerley is just as dangerous. If TCU can break even on special teams, its defense should be the difference in a slugfest.