The TCU Horned Frogs haven’t coped with so many changes since joining the Big 12 in 2012. And at least they had continuity in the coaching ranks back then.
This season, TCU has a new head coach, new coordinators, and a possible contest at quarterback. The defense needs a complete overhaul and the prospects for the Frogs haven’t been this bleak in a long time. Let’s try to provide some clarity.
Is it an effective way to predict a record from game to game? Not really. Will we meet all of these? Almost certainly not. do we do it anyway?
According to ESPN’s FPI, TCU is 46th on the schedule (second lightest among the Big 12) for the upcoming season.
Week 1: at the Colorado Buffaloes
I’ll be honest – Colorado is a bad football team. They ranked 99th in the SP+ performance rating system for 2022, lost most of their biggest playmakers and finished 122nd (out of 130) in points per drive last season.
Could this be a runaway blowout for TCU? Maybe. Colorado lost its top six defensive players of the past year, a run that was respectable. On the street up high, the frogs are favored by more than a touchdown in sports betting, and that counts for something.
This would be a very, very worrying game to lose.
Expected Result: WIN (1-0)
Week 2: vs. Tarleton State Texans
Speaking of games to lose, TCU gets a freebee in Week 2 at home against FCS Tarleton State. No offense to fans and alumni, but these are two different football leagues.
Expected result: WIN (2-0)
Week 3: Bye
Week 4: at SMU Mustangs
This is a game TCU lost last season, and some might see it as a potential lookahead spot for Oklahoma next week. However, Sonny Dykes won’t let his TCU team sleep on top of his former SMU team. In the dressing room, there’s no excuse for losing this game.
Granted, SMU should be pretty good again and return Star QB Tanner Mordecai, but this game should draw TCU’s best effort. That should lead to a win.
Expected result: WIN (3-0)
Week 5: vs Oklahoma Sooners
Okay, the honeymoon is over. Welcome to big football. Bottom line, Oklahoma is way more talented than TCU. Does that mean the frogs don’t stand a chance? No certainly not. But this game would require a repeat of Baylor’s efforts from last year for any chance of an upset.
TCU will be a multi-touchdown underdog in this game. New Sooners head coach Brent Venables knows what it takes to win at a big program. His players will not overlook this trip to Fort Worth.
While new DC Joseph Gillespie is a strong take and TCU is bringing back a number of defensive starters, these returning starters are not of the same caliber as what OU is introducing on offense this season.
TCU ranks 13 points below Oklahoma in the SP+ and FPI performance ratings. They are forecast with 5.5 fewer wins. A surprise is possible, but I play the chances here.
Predicted result: LOSS (3-1)
Week 6: at the Kansas Jayhawks
Last year’s near-loss to Kansas sticks in the minds of all 14 returning starters. Good news: David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium is anything but an intimidating place to play. The cat is out of the bag about KU’s athletic QB Jalon Daniels. Don’t expect TCU to need a last-second field goal to wrap up this game.
Despite Daniels being a good player and the Jayhawks bringing back eight starts on offense and seven on defense, they end up in 2022 in the second-lowest Power 5 program (109th overall) in SP+.
Part of being a good coach is to step on the gas with beatable teams. Expect TCU to do that this year.
Expected Result: WIN (4-1)
Week 7: vs. the Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Pokes lost almost everything they could on defense: their coordinator, their star players, and eight starters. However, they complement each other by hiring another standout DC, Derek Mason.
Oklahoma State has won at least eight games in 12 of the last 14 years; that’s with different playstyles, strengths, players, etc. Assuming that this is the year they will be buried is foolish. FPI also ranks OK State 14th in the nation.
Last year, athletic playmakers at QB eroded TCU’s defense, and we all remember last year’s 63-17 drubbing. Even if this series returns to Fort Worth, expecting a 46-point reversal is unrealistic.
Predicted result: LOSS (4-2)
Week 8: vs. Kansas State Wildcats
TCU fans should definitely not overlook this game. They did it last year and it was the game that broadcast Gary Patterson Packaging.
First of all, TCU’s run defense needs to improve this year; With Gillespie, you’d hope that’s the case. However, the Frogs still have to deal with All-American Two Vaughnswho now plays alongside a real playmaker at QB, makes a switch Adrian Martinez.
ESPN’s Bill Connelly (creator of the SP+) said that K-State could be a surprise team with top 15 advantages.
Is this a pick skewed by my idea of K-State being a top 25 team this year? Maybe.
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Predicted result: LOSS (4-3)
Week 9: at the West Virginia Mountaineers
“You’re only picking this game because it happened last year.”
Yes and no.
A theme of this prediction piece is that TCU’s run defense was absolutely abysmal last year and the return of most of the same defensive starters – especially up front – is uninspiring. Coaching is important, but it can only take talent so far.
WVU ran the ball all over TCU in Fort Worth last season in one of the most pathetic efforts I’ve ever seen on an FBS football field. Who do the climbers return? All five starters on the offensive line.
Who else do they return to? An All-American on the defensive line.
Where are TCU’s biggest question marks in the upcoming season? On the line of scrimmage.
Predicted result: LOSS (4-4)
Week 10: vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
If you’re still reading now, I probably had the gall to vote against TCU out of anger, which many fans would consider automatic wins. And I’m sorry for that.
Here’s a win for you at home. Texas Tech might be able to score at Avalanches this year, but they have just as much revenue as TCU and fewer playmakers. Especially after three losses in a row you absolutely cannot lose a game like this.
Expected Result: WIN (5-4)
Week 11: at the Texas Longhorns
If this is the hour of honesty, there isn’t a positional group in which TCU trumps Texas. Recipient? Texas has two all-American candidates. defensive backs? Sure, but that’s no use against one of the best reception corps in the country.
Heading into Texas, assuming the Horns haven’t gotten it yet, that’s a really tough question. As we saw last year, TCU doesn’t have the guys on defense to run with Bijan Robinson plus the litany of all-star talent way out there.
It’s going to hurt, but Texas are the more talented team. They are 8th in FPI and 29th in SP+. Yes, we all know what Texas has done over the past decade, but I’m playing the odds and the Longhorns are just a more talented team this year.
It would take a shocking turn of events for the frogs to keep up on the scoreboard, even against the rather terrible Texas defense.
Predicted result: LOSS (5-5)
Week 12: at Baylor Bears
David Aranda the Baylor Bears has to stay here. A good coach can learn and improve from past losses, and expecting TCU to upset Baylor back-to-back is asking a lot.
Traveling to Waco to face a team that will likely be back in the Big 12 title race is a massive undertaking. Although the Bears lost a lot of starters on defense, next season the Bears rank 21st nationally in SP+ and have Phil Steele’s fourth-ranked defensive line.
When you come to Texas from a road trip, it’s also difficult to turn the boat around.
Predicted Result: LOSS (5-6)
Week 13: vs. hurricanes in the state of Iowa
Bowl eligibility is at stake. Unless Dykes and TCU end the year strong, they will be back to watching the postseason from home.
Many left Iowa State this past offseason, including longtime starter Brock Purdy and the workhorse running back Breece Hall. You return a pair of All-Americans, receiver Xavier Hutchinson and pass rusher will mcdonaldbut overall her list is uninspiring.
Phil Steele notices this head coach Matt Campbell does his best work with no expectations – and it has proved to be true – but this is a winnable game of football.
A winable football game eligible for the postseason.
Expected Result: WIN (6-6)
6-6 should be enough to make a bowl game and is a decent result for Sonny Dykes’ first season at Fort Worth. It certainly doesn’t live up to the hopes of TCU diehards, but the roster talent isn’t there yet.
Remember – Dykes should be a long-term fix.
Am I correct for every game result? No, probably not, so feel free to take a screenshot and send it to me after the season. But a 6 or 7 win TCU is coming in 2022.
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