While perusing the latest college football rankings, one noticed that the list is littered with the usual suspects.
- Penn State
Wait, does that say TCU? That’s absurd!
Your eyes are not deceiving you. On the strength of consecutive wins against ranked opponents, TCU is #6. They are also sitting at the top of the Big XII, due to their impressive road upset of Oklahoma State two weeks ago and Oklahoma’s stunning home defeat at the hands of perpetual conference punching bag, Iowa State last Saturday.
Make no mistake about it folks, TCU is a legit contender not just a for spot in college football’s final four, but to win the whole enchilada.
What? That’s absurd!
Texas Christian University is situated deep in the heart of Fort Worth, Texas. Fort Worth and TCU are intertwined in many ways. Not the least of which is the Rodney Dangerfield-like way they “get no respect”.
Fort Worth is a city of over 800,000 in a metropolitan area of over 7,000,000. And yet despite its stature as the 16th most populous city in the United States, it is, and much to the consternation of its inhabitants, constantly referred to by outsiders as “oh, you mean Dallas?”
And TCU, a private Disciples of Christ university that matriculates nearly 9,000 undergraduates, is consistently overlooked as a college football power. This, despite the fact that since 2000, the Horned Frogs have accumulated eleven 10 win seasons.
But recent history tells us that a majority of football fans still look at the Horned Frogs as “The Little Sisters of the Poor”.
There was 2009, when both Boise State and TCU qualified for the BCS. So instead of allowing these teams an opportunity against a power conference school, they pitted them together in the Fiesta Bowl.
There was 2010, when Auburn was declared the undisputed national champion even though TCU had a flawless record and had defeated Big Ten champ Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
And then there was 2014. After joining the Big XII, TCU was ranked #3 going into the final weekend of the newly minted College Football Playoff. Then, after beating Iowa State by 52 points, they were dropped to #6 and left out of the playoff in favor of more traditional powers.
After years of being overlooked, they are ready to kick the door down.
Led by QB Kenny Hill, the SEC castoff formerly of Texas A&M, the Frogs are a collection of talented players that were somehow overlooked by traditional powers such as Texas and Oklahoma.
Do you see a pattern here? Like the school and the city they call home, they have been overlooked. This makes them hungry and dangerous. And this is their shot.
The road will not be easy, though. Starting with an always challenging trip to play Kansas State this Saturday, it is laden with many dangerous obstacles that can trip them up before they get their feet on the ground. Trips to Norman, Lubbock, and Ames also await them. They have home dates against a suddenly competent Texas team, perennial headache Kansas, and a wounded rival in Baylor.
There is also, assuming they finish this gauntlet in the top two of their conference, a conference championship at the end of the regular season. While they will benefit from the game being just a twenty minute bus ride to Arlington, it will almost certainly be a rematch against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, or even Texas. And with those schools wielding a tremendous alumni base in the area, AT&T Stadium could turn into a road atmosphere for the local team.
So it will be incredibly difficult for TCU to make it through the next eight Saturdays as a top four team. Admittedly, it’s a hard concept to wrap one’s brain around.
Just don’t call it absurd.