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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

The Countdown

No. 19: T.C.U.

A healthy Oregon State, then ranked No. 24 in the nation, hung around for most of three quarters in the season opener. San Diego State made things interesting with 14 early points and 14 late points in November. Wisconsin came within a two-point conversion of overtime in the Rose Bowl. No one else sniffed T.C.U.; no one else seemed to be in the same stratosphere at the Horned Frogs, winners of 27 of their last 28 games, winners of 98 games over the last decade. Like a wind-up doll, pull their string and watch the Horned Frogs go to work: they’ll run down your throat, hit you deep, dominate on special teams, not let you do squat on the ground, intercept your attempts, break your back, break your heart. Last year’s team wasn’t just vintage T.C.U., though it was vintage T.C.U. under Gary Patterson. Last year’s team was vintage football, like the kind of football Vince Lombardi espoused in Green Bay — like the kind you may see on a football how-to video. How do you go 13-0? At its most basic, you run the football and stop opponents from doing the same. T.C.U. does that and more.

Conference
Mountain West

Location
Fort Worth, Tex.

Nickname
Horned Frogs

Returning starters
9 (3 offense, 6 defense)

Last year’s ranking
No. 6

2010 record
(13-0, 8-0)

Last year’s
re-ranking

No. 2

2011 schedule

  • Sept. 2
    at Baylor
  • Sept. 10
    at Air Force
  • Sept. 17
    La.-Monroe
  • Sept. 24
    Portland St.
  • Sept. 30
    S.M.U.
  • Oct. 8
    at San Diego St.
  • Oct. 22
    New Mexico
  • Oct. 28
    B.Y.U. (in Arlington, Tex.)
  • Nov. 5
    at Wyoming
  • Nov. 12
    at Boise St.
  • Nov. 19
    Colorado St.
  • Dec. 3
    U.N.L.V.

Last year’s prediction

Now, what if T.C.U. does run the table: can it play for a national title? Don’t think about whether the Horned Frogs deserve to, because, well, they would. Perfect two years in a row, with wins in 2010 over Oregon State, Baylor, S.M.U., Air Force, B.Y.U. and Utah? If T.C.U. is one of two undefeated teams at the end of the regular season, it would be highway robbery if it didn’t meet the other 12-0 — or 13-0 — team for the title. So that’s what T.C.U. needs: to run the table and have a few teams ahead of it — at least three, maybe four — drop a game in the regular season.

2010 recap

In a nutshell The Horned Frogs won two games by five points or less: the Aztecs and Badgers. Another team, Oregon State, got within single-digits. The rest? T.C.U. won by an average final score of 45.0-8.1 against the remaining 10 teams on its schedule. Carnage. Defense? The best in the land for the third straight season. Against the run? After leading the F.B.S. in 2008 and finishing third in 2009, T.C.U. tumbled — tongue firmly in cheek — all the way down to sixth. The horror! Offense? Fourth nationally in scoring, 10th in rushing and 12th overall. Special teams? Fifteenth in kickoffs, seventh in kickoff returns and sixth in punt returns. The most solid, well-coached, consistent, error-free team in the country? Yes, in my opinion. Now, the big question: T.C.U. and Auburn on Monday, Jan. 10 — who wins? I’m not going to say who wins if the two meet 100 times; I’d probably go with Auburn, though not by very much. On that specific night, however, I really, truly, firmly believe that the Horned Frogs would have won. And that means nothing, but still…

High point Remember all that talk about Utah wanting some revenge over 2009’s blowout loss in Fort Worth? I’m not going to say it was over before the two teams stepped on the field, but it was over after about five minutes. The final score, 47-7, does the game justice. A Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin was pleasing to anyone who adores traditional football values — the work done in the trenches — over flash.

Low point Not applicable. Maybe we can point towards the win over San Diego State, which hurt T.C.U. with some national voters who look only at the final score.

Tidbit T.C.U. has played a whole bunch of teams more than once over its decade under Gary Patterson, but only four such opponents have posted a winning record over the Horned Frogs. One is Boise State, which was has sandwiched a pair of wins over T.C.U. with a loss in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl. The others are U.A.B., which lost in 2003 but won in 2001 and 2004; Cincinnati, which lost in 2003 but won in 2002 and 2004; and East Carolina, which beat T.C.U. in 2001 and 2002.

Tidbit (rush defense edition) How good has the T.C.U. run defense been since 2008? Over the last three years, the Horned Frogs have allowed a total of 2,951 yards on the ground — 1,296 last fall, 1,043 in 2009 and a ridiculous 612 yards in 2008. That three-year total would have ranked T.C.U. 118th nationally in 2010, ahead of New Mexico and Kansas State and just four yards behind East Carolina. The 2,951-yard total would been 117th in 2009 and 118th in 2008.

Tidbit (starters edition) T.C.U. returns only 18 players with one or more career starts heading into 2011. That’s a quite a drop from last fall, when the Horned Frogs returned 16 full-time starters and roughly 15 more with past starting experience.

Former players in the N.F.L.

23 RB Aaron Brown (Detroit), OT Marcus Cannon (New England), CB Drew Coleman (Jacksonville), QB Andy Dalton (Cincinnati), TE Evan Frosch (Cleveland), LS Clint Gresham (Seattle), LB David Hawthorne (Seattle), DE Jerry Hughes (Indianapolis), CB Alex Aliboye (Dallas), WR Bart Johnson (Cincinnati), S Colin Jones (San Francisco), WR Jeremy Kerley (New York Jets), OG Jake Kirkpatrick (Indianapolis), OT Marshall Newhouse (Green Bay), LB Jason Phillips (Baltimore), S Rafael Priest (Atlanta), OT Herb Taylor (Denver), CB Jason Teague (Houston), RB LaDanian Tomlinson (New York Jets), OT Michael Toudouze (Arizona), LB Daryl Washington (Arizona), CB Malcolm Williams (New England), WR Jimmy Young (Chicago).

Arbitrary top five list

All-time Washington Redskins quarterbacks
1. Sammy Baugh (1937-52).
2. Sonny Jurgensen (1964-74).
3. Joe Thiesmann (1974-85).
4. Billy Kilmer (1971-78).
5. Mark Rypien (1988-93).

Coaching

Gary Patterson (Kansas State ’83), 98-28 after a decade with the Frogs. He is the first coach in university history to post more than two 10-win seasons (2002-3, 2005-6, 2008-10), and his .778 career winning percentage through 126 games is the program’s best mark of the modern era. Minus an unexpected 5-6 season in 2004, the Horned Frogs have been consistently strong each season since 2002. Patterson’s forte is defense, and his attention to that side of the ball has manifested itself in the top units T.C.U. has put together over the last half-decade. Patterson spent three years as the T.C.U. defensive coordinator (1998-2000) before being promoted following Dennis Franchione’s departure for Alabama. It is altogether fitting that Patterson was hired to replace Franchione, given how important the former Texas A&M head coach was to his career. Patterson’s professional fortunes mirrored those of his professional mentor; he followed his predecessor up the coaching ladder, from Pittsburg State to New Mexico up to T.C.U. Patterson has built upon Franchione’s success — the Frogs went 10-2 in 2000, his final season — pushing T.C.U. into the top stratosphere of non-B.C.S. conference programs. T.C.U.’s 92-21 record since 2002 trails only Boise State for the best record among non-B.C.S. conference programs. Already a major figure, Patterson’s stature will grow immensely once T.C.U. heads to the Big East and dominates the nation’s weakest B.C.S. conference.

Players to watch

Few quarterbacks enter the 2011 season under a brighter spotlight than T.C.U. sophomore Casey Pachall: all he needs to do is replace a four-year starter in Andy Dalton, one who fits very nicely into the program’s fine history of excellence at the position. Pachall landed barely a taste of playing time as a freshman last fall, cleaning up the mess in eight games with roughly half of his nine attempts — and his one touchdown pass — coming in a 49-point win over New Mexico. His numbers against the Lobos did come in the first half, to be fair, when Dalton went down to injury, but any snaps — garbage time or no — against U.N.M. do little to prepare a youngster for this endeavor. What I like about Pachall: most of all, he’s very Dalton-like in his size, throwing arm and running ability.

He may slide very seamlessly into the starting lineup. That T.C.U. opens with a pair of tough road games, however, won’t be great for Pachall’s confidence. In a perfect world, the Horned Frogs could ease into the year with an F.C.S. opponent and a lower-tier Mountain West team. That’s life, for Pachall and the Horned Frogs, so look for him to stumble a bit coming out of the gate. But there’s no doubting the talent that lead Pachall to land offers from across the nation, B.C.S. conference and otherwise, coming out of high school. He’ll get things going in time, but Pachall will be learning on the fly. I’m not going to say how quickly he develops will decide T.C.U.’s season, as the Horned Frogs can get things done offensively in other ways; how he develops will decide just how good this offense can be, however.

The backfield remains intact. While changes are underway with the rest of the offense, one thing hasn’t changed: once again, T.C.U. will have one of the best group of running backs in the country. What’s not to like? You have the two-headed monster of Ed Wesley (1,078 yards and 11 scores) and Matthew Tucker (709 yards, 7 scores); few teams can do better than that, both in terms of production and experience. Then you have sophomore Waymon James (513 yards and 5 scores), who will push that pair for more and more snaps as he continues to develop. Add in junior Aundre Dean (223 yards, team-best 6.9 yards per carry) and you have as good a quartet as can be found anywhere. Have issues at quarterback? Then run the ball, run it again and run it again. T.C.U. can do that. Yeah, the Horned Frogs can do that.

It’ll be a new-look receiver corps, as T.C.U. looks to replace three of its top four at the position. The one who returns, sophomore Josh Boyce, is coming off one of the finest seasons by any freshman receiver in the country last fall. He didn’t land the headlines, thanks to the three seniors, buy Boyce delivered in a big way: 34 receptions for a team-best 646 yards and 6 scores, leading the team with 19.0 yards per catch. Can he do the same as the lead target? He might not average another 19.0 yards a catch, but Boyce will see his touches rise as Pachall’s favorite option. T.C.U. is also hoping for a bounce-back year from senior Antoine Hicks, who led the team in touchdowns in 2009 but struggled last fall, making only 13 grabs for 175 yards. Injuries played a role, but the Horned Frogs need more from Hicks. Rounding out the starting lineup is junior Syke Dawson (12 catches for 170 yards), who needs to refine his game in order to take better advantage of his top-notch speed. Look for T.C.U. to rely heavily on some youngsters to round out the depth chart: seniors Jercell Fort and Jonathan Jones don’t fall in this category, but the opportunity is there for freshmen like Ethan Grant, LaDarius Brown and David Bush, among others, to see playing time.

New faces abound, talented faces are gone, but anyone looking for a significant decline from the T.C.U. defense had better look elsewhere: the Horned Frogs will still rank among the nation’s best, even if this year’s group is unable to extend the program’s three-year streak of leading the F.B.S. in total defense. In my mind, T.C.U. could break in 11 new starters are still push teams around; this is because the system and coaching stands is more important the players, and has been over the last decade-plus of T.C.U. football. Might there be some growing pains early, as on the offensive side of the ball? Maybe. But unlike the offense, you can say with 100 percent certainty that T.C.U. will be as tough defensively by November as anyone.

The first order of business will be rebuilding the five-man secondary without four of last year’s starters. The Horned Frogs also have a new defensive backs coach in Trey Harvey, a former graduate assistant who replaces Texas Tech-bound Chad Glasgow. Harvey will have three new safeties to work with, and that’s a trouble spot for a defense that landed superb safety play in 2010. Two of the projected starters are seniors; one of that pair, weak safety Tekerrein Cuba (49 tackles), started six games in 2010. His experience will come in handy. Johnny Fobbs will take over at free safety after serving behind Tejay Johnson, so let’s hope he learned a thing or two from the departed all-American. Nothing has been decided at strong safety: T.C.U. could go with sophomore Trent Thomas, redshirt freshman Sam Carter or even an incoming freshman, so it’s a position to watch.

Look for senior Greg McCoy to be the breakout star of this defense in 2011. He was a first-year starter last fall, one who struggled early but really came on strong over the second half of the year. If McCoy can recapture his late-season form, he’ll be the greatest weapon this raw secondary can have. Teams may shy away from his side, but when they throw towards McCoy keep an eye on his ability to make plays on the ball. He’ll probably be joined in the starting lineup by sophomore Travaras Battle, who played quite a bit as a true freshman last fall. Another pair of sophomores, Jason Verrett and Elisha Olabode, could also push for time at cornerback, though Olabode is currently penciled in as a backup at free safety. Verrett was a JUCO transfer who arrived in time for spring practices.

Here’s what T.C.U. has at linebacker: the best starting pairing in the country. No worse than in the top five, at least. You know the names by now — if you didn’t before the Rose Bowl, you do now: one is senior Tank Carder, the bowl’s defensive M.V.P. last seen batting down Wisconsin’s failed two-point try. Carder was pretty good before that, ending the year with 60 tackles (9.5 for loss) and 3.5 sacks. All told, the bottom line, all you need to know: first-team all-American. Junior strong side linebacker Tanner Brock (team-best 106 tackles, 5.5 for loss) was only a third-team all-American. So he’s the weak link — that’s a joke. Brock and Carder. Carder and Brock. Tackle after tackle, big play after big play. No one does it better. T.C.U. is absolutely terrific on the second level.

The defensive line didn’t suffer quite as many losses as did the secondary, but there are some holes to fill. The two full-time starters who return have tremendous promise. The first, sophomore end Stansly Maponga (32 tackles, 2.5 sacks), was a freshman all-American in 2010. With time and added snaps, Maponga will begin to develop better pass rush ability. It’ll be senior Braylon Broughton on the opposite side, but T.C.U. has enough depth to have a nice rotation at end. Junior Ross Forrest, a former walk-on, started once last fall. Keep an eye on sophomore Matt Anderson, another high school running back placed at end by the T.C.U. staff. You’d like to see more pressure on the quarterback, so perhaps Maponga can pick up the pace in that regard as a second-year starter.

The other returning starter is junior tackle D.J. Yendrey (18 tackles, 3 sacks), an all-Mountain West pick a season ago. I don’t question Yendrey’s ability to make plays in the backfield, as he showed several times lat fall. I wonder about his lack of great size, however, as at 273 pounds Yendrey’s not a prototypical interior linemen, even in a defense predicated on speed. The interior of the line as a whole doesn’t have great size: former reserve Jeremy Coleman, now a starter as a junior, will line up at nose tackle weighing less than 300 pounds. Yendrey’s backup, redshirt freshman David Johnson, fits into the same mold: smaller but quick, he’ll get pressure but might falter against the bigger lines. This tackle group is smaller than in recent memory.

Position battle(s) to watch

Offensive line Only one full-time starter returns, so T.C.U. is putting a lot on the plates of the additional three linemen with past starting experience. The full-time returning starter is senior left guard Kyle Dooley, who leads all returning players with 27 career starts. Dooley has played in the shadows over his first three years, behind several N.F.L.-caliber linemen, but will step into a key role in 2011. Patterson has been very blunt about the offensive line thus far, saying that outside of Dooley, the Horned Frogs aren’t where they need to be. It’s hard not to follow that logic: the three next-most experienced linemen bring nine career starts into 2011, and one, senior guard Spencer Thompson, should remain in a reserve role. But the right side of the line seems secure in the remaining pair: junior Blaize Foltz at guard, senior Jeff Olson at tackle. Their experience, though slight, is a nice sight to see along this rebuilding offensive front. It’ll probably be junior James Fry at center, replacing 2010 Rimington Trophy winner Jake Kirkpatrick. Those are some awfully big shoes to fill. The battle at left tackle remains far from decided. It was thought that sophomore James Dunbar had a strong enough spring to vault him into the starting role come September. That hasn’t been the case, as Dunbar has been pushed down the depth chart a spot by converted tight end Robert Deck, a senior. T.C.U. needs Dunbar to step up and grab the starting role. More than anything, actually, the new T.C.U. offensive line needs to develop a rapport, developing the sort of unity all good fronts seem to have. As at quarterback, this will only come with time.

Game(s) to watch

Several intriguing tests. Not that much tougher a schedule than a year ago, if roughly on the same plain, but how a younger team fares with this slate will be one of the more interesting storylines in college football. The season opens with back-to-back road dates two very talented teams in Baylor and Air Force. T.C.U. also gets B.Y.U. at a neutral site and Boise State and San Diego State on the road, so the five biggest games come away from home.

Season breakdown & prediction

In a nutshell Last year’s group would have done no worse than 11-1 with this year’s schedule. This year’s team might have a hard time getting back to double-digit wins, though the Horned Frogs aren’t going to drop off the map. I don’t like the way the year starts: back-to-back road games against two pretty good teams — one very good team in Air Force — isn’t a good way for this young team to break into action, especially at key spots like quarterback and in the secondary. That T.C.U. gets five very, very good teams away from home — Baylor, Air Force, San Diego State, B.Y.U. and Boise State — is also a little troubling. If last year’s team was a flash in the pan, a one- or two-year wonder, I would have little compunction identifying T.C.U. as a team primed for a slide. Good thing that this program is built for the long, long, long haul. Yeah, Pachall is young, green and untested. Yes, he might struggle early. But his early struggles will yield dividends down the stretch. You can say that for the entire team, offense and defense: the T.C.U. you see in September won’t be the same T.C.U. you see in November and December. The Horned Frogs will get better and better each week, you can bet the farm on that. So what’s the bottom line? In terms of wins and losses, don’t be shocked if T.C.U. slips to 8-4. Be surprised, but don’t be shocked. I’m more likely to wager 9-3, with perhaps a 1-1 start but terrific play in October, November and December. In the small picture, this may look like a one-year lull. In the big picture, T.C.U. will get its slight growing pains out of the way before heading to the Big East in 2012 and running roughshod over all comers. But in 2011, the combination of youth and a tough schedule will lead to a few stumbles.

Dream season The program’s last season in the Mountain West feels eerily familiar: 12-0, back in B.C.S. play.

Nightmare season For the first time since 2007, T.C.U. wins less than 11 games; for the first time since 2004, T.C.U. wins less than eight games.

In case you were wondering

Where do T.C.U. fans congregate? The clear top choice is Killer Frogs, the largest and most fervent T.C.U. fan site. Recruiting coverage can be found at Purple Menace and Big Purple Nation. In terms of T.C.U. blogs, check out The Purple Wimple and Horned Frogs Sports.

Word Count

Through 102 teams 317,998.

Up Next

Who is No. 18? Tomorrow’s program has been outscored in a season only once since 1991 and only four times since 1957.

You can also follow Paul Myerberg and Pre-Snap Read on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. anonymous... says:

    I have just recently started reading this site and I love it. You should post updates on facebook so I don’t miss any. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed what I’ve read thus far. Thanks

  2. M Meyer says:

    I’m guessing that Oklahoma State is next.

  3. M Meyer says:

    That was wrong. The Longhorns are next.

  4. Jay says:

    “Already a major figure, Patterson’s stature will grow immensely once T.C.U. heads to the Big East and dominates the nation’s weakest B.C.S. conference.”

    Is this a prediction? Sounds pretty declarative.

  5. Washington Irving says:

    Mary Rypien! Either PSR is getting into Jim Rome territory or after 320,000 words we finally have proof that Paul is not a machine.

    Paul: Waiting patiently for Rypien to come in and flip my desk over…

  6. Matt Rob says:

    Run roughshod over the Big East? God I can’t wait until Holgo hangs 40 points on them next year.

  7. Ezra says:

    I’ll eat my shorts if anybody in the BigEast scores 40 on TCU in ’12 (injuries excepted, of course). TCU held Texas Tech to 3 points in 2006; with a mature defense, this staff is kryptonite against a Leach-style offense. Considering all the growth on defense (especially on the line and secondary) that’s happening at TCU this season, WVU will leave Fort Worth in 2012 thoroughly stymied.

  8. Matt Rob says:

    I’ll provide the hot sauce.

  9. Matt Rob says:

    Nah, I agree that 40 points may be hyperbolic, but WVU’s defense will be as stout at TCU’s next year. The game may be more in the 24-21, 17-10 score range.

  10. Dave says:

    Paul, while technically accurate, isn’t it a little disingenuous to call the BYU game “away from home”? Arlington is about 15 miles from Fort Worth…

    Also, since I ragged on UF for a weak OOC schedule (and Miss. State was even worse!), I will in the interest of fairness note that Louisiana-Monroe and Portland State are nothing to brag about. Does anyone know if TCU tried to get home-and-homes with any other BCS teams besides Baylor this year and were spurned? Regardless, and to their credit, TCU is doing everything they can to improve their level of competition by moving up to the Big East.

    (of course, if Utah and BYU hadn’t bolted, the MWC would be the tougher conference this year, hands down – and I will join Ezra in eating my shorts if anyone in the Big East scores 40 on TCU in ’12.)

  11. Gunner says:

    19? Come on, if you find 5 teams that can beat them, you will be lucky. I’ve watched ‘em practice and watch out, Pachall is unreal talent.

    Surprised more people didn’t raise hell, they weren’t given a chance to compete for national title. Not exactly fair, is it?

    TCU does have one big weakness. They don’t have a backup QB. Waiting for the best QB ever committed, Matthews from Kansas.

  12. Wally says:

    TCU had a home game scheduled with Texas Tech for this year. However Tech canceled the game late this spring. Tuberville is quoted, “TCU is not a team that we would like to play right now”. I guess that he would rank the Frogs higher than 19.

  13. Frog Zoo says:

    @Dave: We were scheduled to play Texas Tech and home but they backed out for the second straight year. It has been well documented, google it.

    Tech backing out along with Utah & BYU leaving the conference left us in a scheduling bind. However, our future ooc schedules are impressive imo with OU & UVA coming to Fort Worth in 2012 along with home and home’s with LSU (2013-14) and Arkansas(2015-16).

  14. Ezra says:

    Matt Rob–
    I guess my shorts are safe, then. (not that they were ever in any danger, truth be told)

  15. Ezra says:

    It’s hard to schedule OOC games with quality opponents when those quality opponents do not want to schedule anything but cupcakes OOC.

    Why come to Fort Worth, get your a@$& handed to you with a relatively small check (because TCU’s stadium is not large) when you can schedule directional A&M, stay home, and keep most of the proceeds?

  16. Clayton says:

    Sorry, but I just don’t TCU dominating the Big East. Anyone that follows the Big East knows it’s just super competitive every year. Cincinnati went 12-0 in 2009 and that was a rarity, and there were some very close calls. Think back to the 2007 WVU team that was all set to go to the National Championship and then lost to a pitiful Pittsburgh team. Sorry, if that WVU team with Pat White, Steve Slaton and Noel Devine couldn’t run the table in the Big East, I just have a hard time seeing TCU doing it. The Big East isn’t the MWC, people just seem to keep forgetting that.

    There are no New Mexicos, Colorado States, Wyomings, or UNLVs. Sorry. The amount of talent present in the Big East is leaps and bounds better than the MWC.

  17. michael says:

    The Mountain West is far better than the big least – and has been for a long, long time. When the best team in your conference used to be among the best teams in the CUSA or MWC, the fact that you are given an automatic qualification is predicated entirely upon bias and inequity. TCU should have stayed in the better league.

  18. Patrick says:

    The Big East champion frequently gets its ass handed to it in BCS games — see Utah 2004 against Pitt, Florida 2009 against Cincy and OU vs. Connecticut last year. The best of the MWC hasn’t been embarrassed like that in a bowl game in over a decade.

  19. UberD says:

    a decade of proven results from the frogs should worry any big east team. this is not jim wacker’s purple. patterson can coach and don’t look now but big time recruits are finding their way to ft.worth too.

  20. Matt Rob says:

    The 2004 win is a ridiculous comparison. Utah was undefeated and should have played a much tougher opponent. 1/4 of the Big East had bolted for the ACC. Four teams shared the Big East title, tied at 4-3, and Pitt happened to get the nod (none of them deserved it). The two teams that left the Big East finished 10-3 and 9-4, and one of them, VTech, won the ACC that year.

    Cincy laid two eggs in BCS games, and UConn was embarrassing last year, but the Big East is 6-7 in BCS games, and blown out its share of teams as well. Selective data usage is misleading, bro.

  21. gtwrek says:

    I’ll never forget the TCU-Utah game last year. In the all-time history of football, I don’t think a team has ever been more embarrased at home than Utah was last year.

    TCU put their foot on their throat and made them QUIT. I’ve never seen anything like it. A top 10 team just dominated and made to quit on their home field. Can’t think of anything else like it.

    What a farewell gift, that I’m sure is going to mess with the Ute’s psyche going into the Pac 12. If they were dominated that bad by TCU, what on earth is USC, Oregon, etc. going to do to them.

  22. Dave says:

    @ Gunner –

    TCU was never going to get into the title game over an undefeated Auburn or Oregon – as good as they were (and I think they were awesome), when 3 teams are undefeated you have to look at strength of schedule, and running the SEC/Pac-10 table trumps running the MWC table.

    The REAL debate would have began if there hadn’t been 2 undefeated teams from BCS conferences. In my mind, an undefeated TCU gets the nod over any 1-loss BCS team, regardless of conference, but plenty posters on here would disagree.

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