Wednesday, February 9, 2011

TCU Game Rumor: December 3rd

If true, what a great way to finish the season for these two football heavyweights! More info as it becomes available.

Bronco Men Slip A Bit Behind Utah State

Last week, the check of top times in the WAC this indoor track season showed that the Boise State and Utah State men would battle for the crown later this month in Nampa. The Aggie men right now are making better strides than Boise State and now it's Utah State holding a nine-point lead in projected points at the WAC Championships.

The way this battle has shaped up in recent years, Utah State dominates the running events and Boise State does better in the field. That looks to be the case again this year. Utah State holds a commanding 124-72 advantage over the Broncos in running events, with Louisiana Tech projected for 59 points and Idaho 20. Boise State leads the field events 101-49 over Utah State, but not enough to offset the huge gap in the running events. Idaho is projected for 49 points in the field while Tech is slated to get 10 at this point.

Overall, then, Utah State is currently projected for 182 points to 173 for Boise State and 69 each for Idaho and Louisiana Tech. The Broncos have one more meet prior to the championships; and the Aggies just happen to be one of the teams invited to the Boise State Team Challenge that begins Friday.

Action gets underway at Jackson's Track Friday afternoon at 3:30. Then it's full speed ahead to the WAC Championships February 24-26.

Clash of the Titans

This is the type of wrestling match made in heaven. #2 Boise State goes against #4 Oklahoma State Friday night in Stillwater. You have two of the top five wrestling teams this year and two of the top programs annually in the nation.

Championship teams win on the road, no matter who the opponent, no matter the location. Let’s not kid around—championship this year is exactly what both these teams are thinking. This one has all the drama. The dual at 133 pounds pits the top two wrestlers in the country: #1 Jordan Oliver of OSU vs. #2 Andrew Hochstrasser of Boise State.

Hochstrasser has waited a long time for this. He was one of the most promising prospects for Boise State when he signed his letter of intent and did not disappoint, going 29-8 and placing third at the Pac-10 Championships his freshman season. Andrew then went on a church mission but has returned with vigor. He won the Pac-10 title and finished fourth at the NCAA Championships in 2009. Hochstrasser was 8-0 last season in brief action due to difficulties off the mat. Hochstrasser is now a senior and is unbeaten in 21 matches this season. Oliver is 19-0 and as a sophomore, has unlimited potential. The two hooked up at the NWCA All-Star Classic exhibition November 21 with Oliver winning 8-7. Hochstrasser scored five of his seven points on escapes, indicating that Oliver very much was the aggressor. Oliver has won eight matches by pin and five matches by technical fall and has scored 82 takedowns.

Another eagerly-anticipated match is at 184 pounds—Cowboy fans believe Chris Perry can get the upset over #1 Kirk Smith. Perry has been wrestling well as of late and even though Smith is #1, he’ll have to continue to get better to back up his ranking.

Clayton Foster is another of OSU’s top grapplers. He is 17-0 this season and ranked #3 at 197 pounds. Foster has defeated eight ranked opponents this year, including a 16-5 major over #13 Brent Haynes of Missouri last Friday and a 4-0 victory over #12 Andy Johnson of Nebraska. Senior Neil Erisman has won five bouts in a row at 157 pounds with bonus points added in four of those. Redshirt freshman Chris Perry is also on a roll with eight consecutive victories, four against ranked opponents. Perry has worked his way up to a #9 national ranking.

Oklahoma State is a legendary wrestling program. Oklahoma State is the second wrestling program in history to win 1,000 duals, as they achieved the feat January 28 with a 44-0 win over Northern Colorado. Iowa State (1,011 wins) is the only other team to go over 1,000. If that scares Boise State wrestlers, they should tell Coach Greg Randall to leave them home. This isn’t a match for the faint of heart.

I’ve been saying that for Boise State to be a solid title contender, they need to be consistent throughout its lineup. The Broncos have four wrestlers either first or second in their weight category, but there are two wrestlers in their starting lineup that are unranked. Looking at Oklahoma State’s lineup, they have what it takes to win it all. I look at Friday’s probable matchups and what strikes me is that every one of the Cowboy wrestlers is ranked at least #17 nationally but one (heavyweight Blake Rosholt). And guess what? When returning All-American Alan Gelogaev returns from injury, he gives Oklahoma State a perfect 10-10 of wrestlers in its lineup that have a shot at All-America status. That is what is needed to win a national title. OSU has five wrestlers ranked in the top 10 compared to the four from Boise State. And even the most optimistic Bronco fan would tell you that Boise State has only 6-7 wrestlers that have a realistic chance at All-America. The top ten is where you really score your points, get additional chances for pins and technical falls, and are an upset away from attaining All-America status.

So what does Boise State have to do to match OSU’s potential at the National Championships? The Broncos very easily could win this dual, but that doesn’t mean they yet have the overall strength of Oklahoma State in a national setting. If Boise State is truly going to be the contender that the Cowboys are, Kurt Swartz, Alan Bartelli and J.T. Felix must all reach the Top 15 nationally and must be legitimate All-America candidates. Those three can start climbing that road Friday, a road that includes a win over their OSU opponent as a prerequisite.

In my mind, Boise State has to win this match. It is a tremendous opportunity for them, and it is what championship teams do. But to achieve the win, the entire Bronco team must come through, and that means pulling off some wins that would be considered “upsets” on paper.

The two wrestling powers have met four times previously with OSU winning all. The Cowboys are 2-0 in Stillwater, 1-0 in Boise and 1-0 at a neutral site. In the last meeting seven years ago, it was OSU 38, Boise State 0.

The match gets started Friday night at 6 Mountain Time. You can watch the dual live online at Click on “Multimedia” and roll your mouse to “Live Events” on the left-hand side. Scroll down to the Boise State-Oklahoma State dual and click the link to the video feed. Your feed will also include audio from the radio broadcast of the match. The bad thing there is you have to pay a subscription fee to watch the video. You can also follow the action through live results on the web site. Go to the main wrestling site and click the link to the primary story on the page for play-by-play results--those are free!

Here are the probable matchups for the showdown:

125: #8 Jon Morrison (16-4) vs. #16 Alan Bartelli (14-7)
133: #1 Jordan Oliver (19-0) vs. #2 Andrew Hochstrasser (21-0)
141: #17 Josh Kindig (20-6) vs. #18 Levi Jones (12-7)
149: #7 Jamal Parks (20-3) vs. #2 Jason Chamberlain (21-0)
157: #16 Neil Erisman (8-3) vs. #2 Adam Hall (21-0)
165: #12 Dallas Bailey (19-5) vs. unranked Kurt Swartz (10-7)
174: #14 Mike Benefiel vs. #15 Jake Swartz (16-11)
184: #10 Chris Perry (19-4) vs. #1 Kirk Smith (8-0)
197: #3 Clayton Foster (17-0) vs. #20 Matt Casperson (10-5)
285: unranked Blake Rosholt (6-5) or unranked Tyron Yoder (10-11) vs. unranked J.T. Felix (8-8)