Part 4 in a series on the Big 12 and the College Football Playoff
The Big 12 did not get a team in the vaunted maiden voyage of the college football playoff. The few here who appreciate local college football grumbled at the reality that a certain team in DFW would not get the chance to play in the inaugural title game at JerryWorld this coming Monday.
Well, those people can take heart in knowing that, while next year’s title game won’t be in “North Texas” and likely won’t be again for a long time if ever (we’ll get to that another day), that certain team could very well be doing more than making an appearance.
Mark this prediction down: TCU will be national champions for 2015.
Yep, of all the crazy things I’ve said in the past, THAT’S probably the one that’s making you look for the straight jacket. No one wants to believe that little TCU could actually be a national championship team, particularly because the last time TCU football won a national championship, the country was mired in the Great Depression.
That’s the thing about a lot of people that follow sports: They hate the status quo being broken. They expect the Alabamas and the Ohio States to be the ones fighting for the top spot – not some little school from Fort Worth, TX. Some new kid is not supposed to break down the door of the elitist club of those that can win championships.
But go right ahead. Because Gary Patterson’s team doesn’t mind. They’ve heard it all before. And they thrive on it.
When Patterson took over for a departing Dennis Franchione, it was supposed to be the signal that TCU was an also-ran that could never go to the next level. TCU would never reach that lofty goal of going unbeaten for a season. OK, they then did that, but it’s not like they could go somewhere like the Rose Bowl and beat someone from a major conference like Wisconsin. OK, they managed to do that, but no way could they ever be accepted to the conference they really wanted – the Big 12. Well, the conference needed to take somebody, but TCU is definitely never going to contend for the Big 12 Championship.
They did it all, right in the face of everyone who said they couldn’t.
One of the reasons is, they are willing to evolve. Maybe the prediction that they would never compete in the Big 12 might have come true – if Patterson hadn’t decided sticking to the conservative offensive style that had driven them in the WAC, Conference USA and the Mountain West wouldn’t work here. Enter Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham, and now suddenly the Frogs can humiliate opponents by putting up 70-80 points in addition to playing the tough defense Patterson’s teams are known for.
Belief and intelligence are well enough, but then there’s the talent level. The Frogs could return up to 48 of 58 players from their two-deep roster, including quarterback Trevone Boykin, running back BJ Catalon, receivers Josh Doctson, Deante’ Gray and Kolby Listenbee and all but one offensive lineman.
And they have the right attitude as well. When TCU and Baylor were snubbed, Patterson didn’t take the whining approach like his counterpart Art Briles. Instead, he pointed out that his team could have taken care of business themselves but didn’t with that loss to the Bears – a loss he blamed himself for when it happened.
Expect that mindset to drive the Frogs even farther, along with a chip on their shoulders that they almost have to have even if they won’t publicly admit it.
But then again, TCU has always had to play with a chip on its shoulder. The Frogs have always been told they can’t, and they just use that to prove they can. Getting in and winning the playoff would simply be the next logical step.
When the Frogs proved their doubters wrong once again by destroying Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl, Boykin showed off with a championship belt.
He may need to get another one ready that says “National Champions” for 2015.