TCU Keeps Winning; Holds at No. 4 Ranking

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Wide receiver Bart Johnson #6 of the TCU Horned Frogs celebrates a touchdown with Andy Dalton #14 in the third quarter against the SMU Mustangs at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on September 24, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.

    Teams from BCS conferences keep leapfrogging TCU in polls, and the Horned Frogs don't seem to care.

    One of last year's BCS busters, TCU held steady at No. 4 in The Associated Press poll on Sunday. The Horned Frogs were passed this time when Auburn jumped from a spot behind to TCU to a spot ahead after knocking off LSU in a battle of Southeastern Conference unbeatens.

    "We just go out and try to play the best game we can," safety Colin Jones said after the Horned Frogs dispatched Air Force 38-7 for their school-record 21st consecutive regular-season win Saturday night. "If we keep doing that, everything will work out."

    TCU (8-0, 4-0 Mountain West) keeps winning, but isn't moving even though a top 5 team has lost each of the past three weeks. The AP ranking matches where TCU stood after the first weekend of the regular season. The Frogs later dropped a spot after trailing SMU briefly in the third quarter of a 41-24 win, one of only three times they've trailed this season.

    The Frogs regained the No. 4 spot after a 45-0 win over Wyoming, and they stayed there last week when Oklahoma jumped from No. 6 to No. 3 after blowing out Iowa State while TCU fiddled around with BYU for a half in a 31-3 win.

    TCU, which did improve a spot in the BCS standings to No. 4 on Sunday night, figured to be the only ranked team in the Lone Star State again after Texas lost at home to Iowa State and dropped out for the second time this season. But Baylor moved in at No. 25 after becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 1994 with a win over Kansas State.

    Those are the same Bears who never had a chance in a September visit to Fort Worth, falling behind 35-3 by halftime in a 45-10 loss to TCU.

    So, are the Frogs the best in Texas, home to four teams from the Big 12, a BCS darling?

    "I don't know," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "Right now we're trying to be the best team in the Mountain West Conference."

    The Frogs figure to be heavy favorites at UNLV on Saturday night, then visit No. 8 Utah in a game that will eliminate one BCS-busting hopeful.

    "If it was easy, anybody could do it," Patterson said.

    TCU made it look easy in the second half against Air Force, which was ranked before a loss to San Diego State the week before coming to Texas and lost by just three at Oklahoma early in the season. TCU running back Ed Wesley outgained the nation's leading rushing offense, 209-184, and scored twice while quarterback Andy Dalton compiled 278 total yards and two touchdowns.

    The Frogs controlled the first half with big plays -- six that were longer than 20 yards -- then wore down the Falcons with scoring drives of 80 and 78 yards on their only two possessions of the third quarter, which ended with TCU in front 31-7.

    "Air Force is a great team, and hopefully people see that," said Dalton, who had a career-long, 47-yard run on the drive that made it 31-7. "But the whole style points thing, it doesn't matter as long as we're winning the ball game."

    TCU kept the top spot nationally in scoring defense (nine points per game) despite allowing a touchdown for the first time in October. Air Force was the first Mountain West team to get in the end zone against TCU after an 89-yard drive on its opening possession.

    Still, the Frogs held the Falcons 163 yards below their nation-leading rushing average to win a school-record 19th straight game at Amon Carter Stadium, where Air Force is now 0-5 against TCU and 1-7 when you include three Armed Forces Bowl appearances.

    "That was one of our more complete efforts," Patterson said. "It's about being disciplined, getting physical, doing the things we need to do and we've gotten to 8-0. Now we need to move on."

    Even if they're not moving up in the polls.