Game-By-Game Predictions for TCU's 2014 Season
The TCU Horned Frogs started that year in the Rose Bowl shocking Wisconsin, following it up with an 11-2 record and another bowl win.
Then it was time for the big move to the Big 12. TCU is just 6-12 in conference games in its two years in the new conference, and last year was TCU’s worst under coach Gary Patterson. Now there are big questions at quarterback with the departure of Casey Pachall and some coaching changes in the offseason.
TCU returns a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but will that be enough to make a statement or will the Horned Frogs spend another year in the bottom half of the Big 12?
8/30 vs. Samford
This is a great way to start the season for a team that doesn’t know who will be behind center. Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel could be the man, triple-threat Trevone Boykin is a possibility or it could be one of the true freshmen. Whatever the case this should be a walk for the Horned Frogs.
9/13 vs. Minnesota
If TCU wants to make any kind of a splash on the national stage, beating the Golden Gophers would be a start. That being said, Minnesota is an up-and-coming team hoping to make a splash of its own. In this battle of unimposing animal mascots, Goldy comes to Texas and gets the win.
9/27 at SMU
The Mustangs seem to be the cure to whatever ails TCU. With the exception of a freak overtime loss in 2011, SMU hasn’t beaten the Horned Frogs since 2005. TCU will have a week of rest before making the “long trip” to Dallas, and one of the best defenses in the Big 12 will be more than ready to tackle the SMU attack.
10/4 vs. Oklahoma
The start of Big 12 conference play. Ouch. Most everyone with a keyboard is predicting Oklahoma will compete for a spot in the new College Football Playoff. This will just be another step in the Sooners’ quest for a conference crown.
10/11 at Baylor
Wow the schedule-makers weren’t kind to TCU. After getting Oklahoma, the Horned Frogs have to travel to Waco to take on the defending Big 12 champion Bears. Quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Bryce Petty and his arsenal of playmaking wide receivers are back. TCU’s defense is good, but not nearly good enough from keeping Baylor from scoring again, and again, and again…
10/18 vs. Oklahoma State
This could be a make-or-break game for TCU. This isn’t the same Cowboys team from a year ago. OSU lost 28 seniors from 2013 and has questions of its own at quarterback. And unlike TCU, Oklahoma State’s defense is kind of a mess as we head to fall camp. That all being said, OSU has enough talent to withstand a road trip to Fort Worth and will likely leave with a win.
10/25 vs. Texas Tech
Another statement game for TCU. Along with Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech, TCU will be fighting for who can finish below the big four of the Big 12 (OU, Baylor, Kansas State and Texas). The Red Raiders had a red hot start last season and whooped Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl to wrap things up. This is where TCU’s defense comes into play. Assuming all of the questions on offense are answered by now, this will be a morale-boosting win for the Horned Frogs.
11/1 at West Virginia
And TCU carries that morale boost all the way to Morgantown. West Virginia has also struggled mightily since joining the Big 12, going 11-14 in two seasons. TCU will have revenge on its mind, losing in overtime to the Mountaineers at home last year. West Virginia will have a potent running attack this year, but look for the TCU defense to once again limit the damage en route to a win.
11/8 vs. Kansas State
Just when the Horned Frogs are riding high from a two-game win streak, another team wearing purple comes to town. Kansas State is in the middle of a mini-revival with 97-year old (slightly exaggerating) Bill Snyder back at the helm. The Wildcats finished last season winning six of seven (including a bowl win over Michigan). They never lost a game by more than 10 points. Watch out for the Wabash Cannonball to come rolling through Fort Worth.
11/15 at Kansas
It’s the second half of the Sunflower State showdowns for TCU, and another battle of unassuming mascots. But despite being on the road, the Horned Frogs should have little trouble with a Jayhawks team that is having a really hard time putting the pieces together. Kansas could very easily finish in the Big 12 basement, thanks in part to losses like this one.
11/27 at Texas
A big game under the bright lights of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. This will be the final regular season game for Texas in year one of the Charlie Strong era. And, pardon the pun, the Longhorns will finish strong. TCU could hang around for a half, but Bevo and the boys have too much firepower on both sides of the ball for this to be a close contest.
12/6 vs. Iowa State
If TCU isn’t licking its wounds from another loss against an in-state rival, this will be the perfect way to end the season. Iowa State is another bottom-feeder struggling to find an identity. Former Kansas coach Mark Mangino came to Ames to help revamp the Cyclones’ offense. He did a pretty good job in year one, but ISU’s real problem is on defense. TCU will likely be playing for its postseason future in the finale.
This would be mean 6-6 and a lower-tier bowl game for the Horned Frogs. It’s not what fans envisioned when TCU joined the Big 12, but it’s reality with two of the best teams in the country in the conference. One slip up could mean another bowl season at home, but a big upset could mean a jump into the upper half of the Big 12.
Jay Saunders is a Big Ten contributor for FanIQ with keen knowledge for Nebraska football. Follow him on Twitter: @JayinMilwaukee