Can it get any better for the Mountain West Conference? When the league decided to expand, Commissioner Craig Thompson targeted Texas Christian, then a member of Conference USA, because of its large market in Dallas and its recent success; the Horned Frogs went a combined 21-4 in 2002 and 2003 before falling to 5-6 last season. The move looks ingenious today after TCU's 17-10 victory over Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. The MWC already had Utah, which last season became the first non-BCS school ever to earn a berth in one of the four major bowls. Now the league can claim the sport's biggest story of the season after one week. . . . Penn State won, which apparently meant Pittsburgh fans lost. When the Nittany Lions' 23-13 victory over South Florida was announced at Heinz Field last night, Pittsburgh fans loudly jeered.
There is no quarterback clarity at Tennessee this morning. Coach Phillip Fulmer recently tapped Erik Ainge the starter but expected to also play Rick Clausen against Alabama-Birmingham. Ainge completed 5 of 14 passes and threw two interceptions. Clausen connected on 17 of 24 passes for 217 yards and looked far more relaxed under center, meaning he could get the nod to start Sept. 17 against Florida. The situation needs to be fixed in a hurry because road dates at Florida and Louisiana State loom next. . . . The ACC's bottom half took a hit this week, with Wake Forest losing to Vanderbilt and Duke dropping a close game against East Carolina. . . . Bowling Green quarterback Omar Jacobs was correct: He would be able to move the ball at will against Wisconsin. But the Falcons' defense wilted at Camp Randall, thus undercutting Jacobs's Heisman hopes.
Ohio State's 34-14 victory over Miami (Ohio) was nowhere near as close as the score indicated and provided the Buckeyes a fine tuneup for next week's showdown with Texas, perhaps the game of the year. Ohio State only committed two penalties yesterday. . . . If Bowling Green's defense could not handle Wisconsin, a middling Big Ten school that scored 35 points in the second quarter yesterday, wait until the Falcons visit Boise State on Sept. 21 and get a load of "Pete's Poison," the wild offense designed by Broncos offensive coordinator Chris Petersen. And maybe, just maybe, Boise's offense will be functional by then, after it was muted by Georgia yesterday, looking as poor as it has this decade. . . . If the Horned Frogs hope to be this season's Utah, two dicey games remain: vs. Utah on Sept. 15 and at Wyoming on Oct. 8.