It’s impossible to tell how good the San Diego Chargers might be after four games as they head into Sunday’s road game against the Denver Broncos.

On the positive side, the Chargers didn’t start slow for the first time in Norv Turner’s five seasons as coach and take a 3-1 record into Sunday’s game at Denver.

On the call-me-skeptical side, the three teams the Chargers have beaten (Minnesota, Kansas City and Miami) are a combined 1-11. That one win came when the Chiefs beat the Vikings last Sunday.

On the negative side, the Chargers were outclassed by the New England Patriots in their lone road game of the season. Tom Brady passed for 423 yards and the Chargers committed four turnovers.

The Chargers have won eight of their last 10 games against Denver and their last loss in the Mile High City (in 2008) was partly to due to Ed Hochuli’s botched officiating call.

The Broncos (1-3) were crushed by the Green Bay Packers last Sunday. Denver’s lone victory was against the Cincinnati Bengals.

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers is off to a shaky start and has thrown more interceptions (six) than touchdown passes (five). Receiver Vincent Jackson has 20 receptions for 374 yards but Rivers misses tight end Antonio Gates, sidelined with a foot injury.

The Chargers have a bye following the Broncos’ game and then visit the New York Jets.

Opportunity knocks for Aztecs

San Diego State hosts Texas Christian on Saturday and it is time for the Aztecs to give the Horned Frogs a tough game.

San Diego State (3-1) had a bye last week so it has had ample time to prepare for TCU, which lost to SMU in overtime last week.

This year’s version of the Horned Frogs (3-2) represents a dropoff from last year’s splendid squad that defeated Wisconsin in Rose Bowl.

TCU’s defense is allowing 27.8 points and gave up 50 to Baylor and 40 to SMU in its two defeats. San Diego State has enough firepower in quarterback Ryan Lindley and Ronnie Hillman (second in the nation in rushing behind Oregon star LaMichael James) to at least put points on the scoreboard.

But whether or not the Aztecs can hold TCU down is a big issue. The Horned Frogs are averaging 41.9 points and have repeatedly drubbed San Diego State in recent seasons – think scores like 52-0 in 2006, 41-7 in 2008 and 55-12 in 2009.

Last year’s 40-35 loss to the Horned Frogs wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. The Aztecs were woeful on offense for most of the game and had a 40-minute stretch in which they didn’t have a single first down.

On the other hand, San Diego State trailed 37-14 at one point. In previous seasons, that final score would have ended up 58-14 instead of the Aztecs rallying in the final quarter.

One area in which TCU has a huge edge is head coach – Gary Patterson is one of the nation’s top coaches and is superior to San Diego State’s Rocky Long.

Who knows – maybe TCU has spent more time thinking about its conference affiliation issue than preparing for the Aztecs.

Boise State quarterback needs big game

Boise State visits Fresno State on the ESPN stage on Friday night and it is a game in which Kellen Moore needs to shine.

With the Broncos now in the Mountain West, this rates as their final ESPN appearance before becoming largely invisible to the nation the rest of the campaign.

Moore is coming off a game in which he threw for a career-low 142 yards and was intercepted twice by Nevada. That type of game wasn’t good for Moore’s slim Heisman Trophy hopes.

Moore tossed 12 touchdown passes over the first three games and is currently running fourth among the quarterbacks in the Heisman race – behind Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Baylor’s Robert Griffith III and Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson.

Putting up huge numbers against a mediocre Fresno State defense is a must. The Bulldogs couldn’t stop Mississippi last week and the Rebels entered the game with one of the worst offensives in the country.

Moore needs one of his patented 400-yard, four-touchdown games in front of the ESPN audience to remain a factor in the Heisman race. (see stellar preview here …

Fresno State’s quarterback is Derek Carr, the younger brother of former Bulldogs star David Carr.


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