By Mike Craven/@CravenMike and Emily Van Buskirk/@Emilnem
Despite sharing the Big 12 title with Baylor and entering the final week of the regular season in position to reach the College Football Playoff, TCU was left out in 2014. Will the Horned Frogs make it in 2015?
Why TCU Won’t Win The Title
TCU will not win a national championship this year because there is too much doubt surrounding its legitimacy – regarding the conference, the ability to dominate lesser foes and most importantly, beating Baylor.
It is true that Trevone Boykin is leading a stellar Horned Frog offense this year, no doubt, but the defense is the key problem for TCU. The loss of All-American senior linebacker Paul Dawson (also the team’s leading tackler) and safety Chris Hackett, who lead the team in interceptions, leaves the defensive cupboard a little bare. Young players in the secondary give slight cause for concern – only five starters back on defense will be a tough project even for Gary Patterson, especially without defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas.
But the biggest issue for TCU is its schedule – the Horned Frogs only left Texas twice last season before the Bowl game. This year they have five trips out of state – Minnesota, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma – and they need to dominate in those games to really impress the Playoff Committee.
And then there is the final game of the season against Baylor.
Many say TCU was lucky last year with minimal injuries and a crazy good turnover margin, but it’s hard to catch lightining in a bottle twice. –Emily
Why TCU Will Win The Title
The Big 12 is winnable and Baylor is the only thing standing in the way of TCU going undefeated in 2015.
Head coach Gary Patterson finally adopted the spread offense in 2014 and TCU’s offense reached heights it had never previously seen. The offense will be even better in 2015 with the return of Boykin, a preseason Heisman candidate. The quarterback set all the TCU passing records as a junior and has a stellar supporting cast against this year.
There are holes to fill on defense, but Patterson may be the best defensive-minded head coach in the entire nation. The guy is an absolute genius on the defensive side, and his 4-2-5 scheme is a problem for offenses because it is unique in so many ways.
The Big 12 was left out in 2014, but that won’t happen this season because no one is going undefeated in the ACC. Florida State got the nod last season because it was the defending champion and went undefeated through the regular season, but no one thinks the ACC is a better conference than the Big 12.
TCU also doesn’t need to navigate through a conference title game like all the other contenders. The Horned Frogs finish the season at home against Baylor, which should essentially be the Big 12 Championship. A winnable conference, a favorable schedule, a high-powered offense and a well-coached defense will lead TCU to a title. –Craven
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