The Broncos narrowed the gap on the Horned Frogs in the Bowl Championship Series standings and put themselves in position to pass their BCS Buster rivals down the stretch.
The Horned Frogs and Broncos are vying for two prizes. The team in third place in the BCS standings is likely to be next in line for the national championship game if Auburn or Oregon slip up down the stretch.
Auburn plays Alabama the day after Thanksgiving and South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference title game.
Oregon has off this weekend, followed by a home game against Arizona and a road game against Oregon State.
Even if a title game spot doesn't come up, TCU and Boise State are still competing for an automatic BCS bid, one that would likely send the highest ranked team to the Rose Bowl while the other could get left out of the BCS altogether.
The Horned Frogs played their closest game of the season Saturday, a 40-35 victory against San Diego State in which they allowed the Aztecs back in the game with two long fourth-quarter touchdown passes.
TCU also was hurt by Utah's 28-3 loss at Notre Dame. The Horned Frogs beat the previously unbeaten Utes 47-7 in their prior game. It looked like a big win at the time and helped TCU widen its lead on Boise State in the BCS standings.
A week later, beating the Utes doesn't look so impressive and Boise State has crept closer. The Broncos beat Idaho 52-14 on Friday night.
With three more games to play, compared with one for TCU, the Broncos might have enough left to edge past the Frogs.
Boise State jumped TCU and moved into third in both the Harris and coaches' polls, though in both cases the Broncos and Frogs are separated by less than a dozen points. TCU still holds a decided edge in the computer ratings at third compared to Boise State's sixth.
That leaves Boise State with a BCS average of .8634 and TCU with an average of .8966.
Boise State plays Fresno State (6-3), Nevada (9-1), 18th in the BCS standings, and Utah State (4-6) over the next three weeks.
TCU has a week off before closing its season against New Mexico (1-9).