Broncos could leap Frogs

Utah didn't do TCU any favors this weekend.

Then again, the Horned Frogs didn't help themselves very much, either.

After TCU played its closest game of the season, beating San Diego State 40-35 at home on Saturday, Boise State passed the Horned Frogs for the No. 3 spot in both the Harris Interactive Poll and USA Today coaches' poll, which make up two-thirds of the BCS formula.

But based on TCU's overall strength in six computer polls used in the BCS formula, the Horned Frogs remained No. 3 in the BCS standings, behind No. 1 Oregon and No. 2 Auburn and ahead of No. 4 Boise State.

Whether the Horned Frogs can stay in front of the Broncos the next three weeks is up for debate. TCU plays only one more game -- at lowly New Mexico on Nov. 27 -- before the final BCS standings are released on Dec. 5. The top two teams in the final BCS standings will play in the Jan. 10 BCS National Championship Game in Glendale, Ariz.

The Broncos, who blasted Idaho 52-14 on the road on Friday night, play three more games before the final BCS standings are released. Boise State hosts Fresno State on Friday night, plays at No. 18 Nevada on Nov. 26 and hosts Utah State on Dec. 4. The Horned Frogs and Broncos are separated by only .0332 points in the BCS standings, so beating the Wolf Pack might very well push Boise State in front.

The Horned Frogs lost ground in the human polls after struggling to put away the Aztecs, who had a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter. A week ago, TCU passed Boise State in the two polls after it blasted Utah 47-7 on the road. But the Utes lost at Notre Dame 28-3 on Saturday.

Of course, Oregon or Auburn would have to lose for the third-place team in the BCS standings to matter.

While many voters were apparently more impressed with Boise State this past weekend, many of the six computer polls remain more enamored with the Horned Frogs. TCU has an average ranking of No. 3 in the computer polls, including a lofty No. 1 rating in Richard Billingsley's poll. Under BCS guidelines, the highest and lowest computer averages are tossed out and the other four ratings are averaged.

Boise State's computer average is No. 6 because it is ranked No. 5 or higher in only two of the six computer polls. The Broncos are No. 12 in Jeff Sagarin's ratings and No. 8 in Peter Wolfe's rankings.

Mark Schlabach covers college sports for ESPN.com. He co-authored Bobby Bowden's memoir, "Called To Coach," which was published by Simon & Schuster. The book is available in stores and can be ordered here. You can contact him at schlabachma@yahoo.com.