BCS Update: Fear the Frogs
Fear the Frogs: If either Florida, Alabama or Texas slips up, TCU would be very worthy of a spot in the national championship game. The Horned Frogs completely destroyed a good Utah team 55-28 on Saturday night. Remember, TCU also went to Clemson and won (14-10), and also destroyed BYU (38-7). TCU is legitimate. The Horned Frogs were up 38-14 on Utah by halftime. TCU’s excellent defense held Utah to just 284 yards of total offense. Andy Dalton was good, completing 17 of 29 passes for 207 yards with a touchdown and an interception. But the Horned Frogs rolled up 342 rushing yards, led by Ed Wesley’s 137 yards on just 12 carries. TCU only has Wyoming and New Mexico remaining, two teams with a combined record of 4-15. The Horned Frogs will finish the regular season 12-0 and play in either the Orange or Fiesta as a BCS at-large selection. But, as I mentioned, the national title game is not out of the picture.
TCU makes a case for a BCS Championship berth
TCU deserves shot at BCS title game
The question isn’t whether or not TCU belongs in the BCS Championship, because it’s a moot point as long as the SEC champion and Texas are unbeaten. The question going into the Utah game was whether or not TCU belonged ahead of Cincinnati and Boise State in the fight to keep the coveted No. 4 spot, and that question was answered.
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Along the way, another question might have also been answered. Yes, it’s time to demand that TCU be put into the BCS Championship game — assuming it beats Wyoming and New Mexico without a problem — if the SEC Champion or Texas suffers a loss.The Horned Frogs not only pass the eyeball test, but also has the “they deserve it” factor on their side with this win, along with the wins at BYU and Clemson.At this point in the season (before the SEC Championship), does Florida have a better resume victory than TCU’s win over the Tigers? And before you answer, take a look at LSU’s performance against Louisiana Tech this week.Georgia? Tennessee? Beating Clemson in Death Valley isn’t the be-all-end-all, but it stacks up with anything the Gators have done, and it might outflank anything Alabama has done, considering its biggest win is over Virginia Tech.You might disagree, but considering how mediocre the SEC has been, it’s not a stretch to at least put TCU in the “deserve” part of the discussion (while Boise State, for example, can’t even get into the conversation pit).The most impressive win for Texas this year was … um, uh, Oklahoma? BYU beat OU, TCU beat BYU, and so on. Oklahoma State? Uhhhh, not really.Again, when it comes to who deserves to be in, it’s not like Texas is head-and-shoulders in over the Horned Frogs.So it’s now time to change our thinking. TCU, you deserve to play for the national championship if the opening is there. And you might deserve it even if the opening isn’t.— Pete Fiutak
Frogs an offensive force
For years under Gary Patterson, TCU has been a quality program. This season, the Horned Frogs have been downright scary in getting off to a 10-0 start. The difference? The offense has finally narrowed the gap on the D.Ever since LT left Fort Worth for San Diego, the Frogs were perennially a great defensive program that had to compensate for a spotty offense. Well, not any longer. This is a complete football team that can now beat you a number of different ways and is a legitimate top-5 squad.Oh, the TCU defense is still awfully ornery, but the offense might be better, chewing up over 250 yards a game on the ground and getting outstanding play behind center from veteran QB Andy Dalton.That Utah defense that allowed a ridiculous 55 points at Amon G. Carter Stadium tonight? Yeah, it was giving up just 16 points a game before making the trip south. The backfield is particularly loaded, coming at you in waves. Joseph Turner can pick up the tough yards. Redshirt freshman Ed Wesley has tremendous top-end speed. And true freshman Matthew Tucker continues to be a pleasant surprise and a big-play threat.TCU of 2009 is a lot like Utah of 2008. In other words, it will no longer qualify as an upset if the Horned Frogs finish the season with a win in the Fiesta, Sugar or Orange Bowl.— Richard Cirminiello
Frogs find focus
1. Remember the stage fright that would sabotage TCU in a high-stakes game? It’s gone for the moment. TCU would flinch, sweat and stutter on the big stage in past seasons, but in 2009, the Frogs have found a fierce and flinty focus.Yes, their biggest games have been televised by two niche networks and not by mainstream broadcast outlets, but when kickoff time arrives against Utah or BYU, that’s not what young men are thinking about. TCU needed to deliver the goods against its Mountain West rivals, and that’s exactly what the Purple People have done.If they survive a trip to Wyoming, one can pencil in a home win against New Mexico and put this team in a BCS bowl. Hopefully, the Frogs will get to play the Florida-Alabama loser in the Sugar Bowl; such a game would offer the best and truest test of this athletic outfit’s considerable capabilities.2. TCU is performing a public service to America by once again exposing the Bowl Championship Series as the fraud it’s always been.No, this isn’t an attempt to lobby for change or propose a specific kind of plan (been there, done that, for more times than we can count). This is merely a thank-you to the Horned Frogs for giving football fans the small but real satisfaction of knowing that injustice lingers, even if the sport’s power brokers rake in bowls of cash and unconvincingly assure us that all is well.Integrity is its own reward, and being on the side of goodness carries its own sweet taste, even if larger political forces and moneyed interests hold sway in society. Go ahead, BCS chieftains: Keep proclaiming empty words from the mountaintop about the virtues of the regular season, in which “every game is a playoff.” Keep saying the system works, even as TCU is about to be deprived of a shot at the national championship, just like Utah in 2008.No, we don’t need congressional hearings (or worse, public relations firms) to waste time and money on behalf of pro-BCS or anti-BCS campaigns. Those of us who love and appreciate college football will simply know that TCU (like Boise State and perhaps Cincinnati) has not been participating in playoff games this season.The Horned Frogs have been competing for a nice postseason game, but not a national title … not under the current system we have, at any rate. TCU won’t be playing for the whole enchilada, but the force from Fort Worth has at least ensured that for yet another year, the BCS emperor has no clothes.That’s not valuable in the same way that the alleviation of poverty is valuable, but on its own small scale, it matters to people who care about this 140-year-old sport.— Matt Zemek
Don’t underestimate TCU
Welcome to the BCS, Horned Frogs. TCU won its biggest game since a late-1950s triumph over Texas secured an SWC title and a Cotton Bowl berth, and it was done in such an emphatic fashion that no one in the Mountain West — or anywhere else for that matter —could question the Frogs’ primacy.TCU obliterated the Utes from the opening kick and won every facet of the game, save a 2-2 square-off in turnovers. The Utes entered the game angered at being double-digit underdogs and probably exited it hoping the people who thought them good enough to think they were within 20 points of Texas Christian didn’t see the game. There were some questions about whether the Frogs’ offense could score enough, but how do 55 points and 549 total yards sound?Barring a cataclysmic end to the season against Wyoming or New Mexico, the Frogs are headed to a BCS bowl to carry the Mountain West and mid-major banners, and woe to the team that underestimates TCU, because the Frogs will bury them.Gary Patterson has long been considered one of the hottest prospects on the coaching docket, and his status will grow even more after this season. While TCU explores ways to keep him around, the rest of the BCS bowl squads had better hope they don’t run into this thresher come January.— Michael Bradley