Texas Christian Horned Frogs
Head Coach: Gary Patterson
2015 Record: 11-2 overall, 7-2 Big 12
2015 Bowl Result: Beat Oregon 47-41 (OT) in the Alamo Bowl
2016 Returning Starters: 3 offense, 8 defense
Odds to Win 2017 College Football Championship Game: 52/1
Odds to Win 2016 Big 12 Championship: +570
Regular Season Wins: over 8 -310 / under 8 +230
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Last year, the Texas Christian Horned Frogs entered the season as a top five team and a playoff contender. The Horned Frogs entered November undefeated but road losses to the two Oklahoma schools cost them the Big 12 title and a spot in the playoffs after a slew of late season injuries. TCU had to settle for a berth in the Alamo Bowl. The Horned Frogs were down 31-0 at halftime but came back to win in triple overtime 47-41 over Oregon.
TCU looks to contend for the Big 12 title in 2016. Gary Patterson has his work cut out for him though as only 3 starters return on offense. The Horned Frogs should have a dominant defense though.
Here is a more in-depth look at the Horned Frogs on both sides of the ball as well as special teams and the schedule.
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TCU had an explosive offense in 2015 under co-coordinators Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham. The Horned Frogs averaged 564 yards per game including 348 passing yards and 42 points per game. The Horned Frogs were in the top ten nationally in all three categories.
However, in 2016 there will be a lot of new faces on offense. Quarterback Trevone Boykin has moved on to the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks. He threw for over 3,500 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and also rushed for 612 yards with 9 touchdowns. Boykin missed the Bowl game after getting into a fight in a bar in San Antonio two days before the game. He was replaced by change of pace quarterback Bram Kohlhausen who appeared in eight games but only started the bowl game. He is also gone. The quarterback battle will come down to sophomore Foster Sawyer who played in four games last year and Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill. Sawyer threw two touchdowns and three interceptions and had 155 passing yards. Hill looks to be the favorite though after throwing for over 2,600 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2014 for Texas A&M despite splitting time at quarterback.
Running back Aaron Green is now with the Los Angeles Rams. He rushed for over 1,200 yards with 11 touchdowns and had 16 catches. Juniors Kyle Hicks and Trevorris Johnson each rushed for 262 yards in 2015 and will be the primary running backs. The running game also got a boost when graduate transfer Derrick Green moved from Michigan to TCU in mid-July. The former five star recruit is eligible to play immediately after appearing in 22 games for the Wolverines. Shaun Nixon had only 16 carries last year but did have 47 catches for 501 yards.
TCU also loses talented receiver Josh Doctson who was a first round pick by the Washington Redskins. He had 79 catches for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns. Kolby Listenbee has moved on to the Buffalo Bills after making 30 catches for 597 yards and 5 touchdowns. The cupboard isn’t totally bare though as a trio of talented sophomores return after impressive freshman seasons. KaVontae Turpin looks to take over as the go-to receiver. He had 45 catches for 649 yards and 8 touchdowns. Jaelen Austin and Jarrison Stewart combined for 31 catches and 3 touchdowns in 2015. Veteran receivers Ty Slanina and Deante Gray return from injuries and will be in the mix as well. Tight end Charlie Reid could get some targets as well.
The biggest question mark is on the offensive line where the Frogs must replace 4 starters. Center Aaron Schlottman and guard Matt Pryor did start the last three games because of injuries though.
Under long time defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow, TCU had to virtually overhaul the whole defense from 2014 in 2015. The young defense struggled but improved as the season went along. TCU allowed 398 yards and 27 points per game. The Horned Frogs return 8 starters on defense and they should be much better.
End Josh Carroway led the Frogs in sacks in 2015 with 9 and returns to anchor the line. James McFarland returns at the other end after missing all of last year with a toe injury. He led TCU is sacks in 2014. Aaron Curry and Breylin Mitchell should start at tackle but neither has that much experience.
The linebackers will be the strength of the defense with Travin Howard, Ty Summers and Montrel Wilson all returning. All three were in the top five in tackles for TCU last year. Howard and Wilson move from safety to linebacker.
The secondary should be bolstered by the return of safety Sammy Douglas who suffered a knee injury in the first game of last season and would not play again. Nikko Small and Nick Orr will start at the other safeties. There isn’t a lot of experience at cornerback though as neither Jeff Gladney or Tony Jones has started a game at the position. Ranthony Texada will also be in the mix at corner.
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The Horned Frogs must replace four year starters at kicker and punter. Kicker Jaden Oberkrom departs as the Big 12 all-time leader in field goals as does punter Ethan Perry. Jonathan Song and Ryan Graf are locked in a tight battle to replace Oberkrom. Adam Nunez should be the new punter. Turpin should return both kicks and punts as he did in 2015. He averaged 27 yards per kick return and 11 yards per punt return with a touchdown.
Schedule and Analysis
TCU hosts South Dakota State to open the season before a home game against Arkansas. TCU hosts Iowa State to open Big 12 play before traveling to Metroplex rival SMU. Then comes a mid-season showdown with Oklahoma in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs then travel to Kansas and West Virginia before hosting Texas Tech. TCU travels to Baylor and hosts Oklahoma State. TCU closes the season with a road game at Texas before hostin Kansas State in the finale.
The schedule is tough but manageable. TCU will likely be favored in all games except against Oklahoma, and perhaps Arkansas and Oklahoma State. All three of those teams come to Fort Worth though. Yes, there are questions on offense with so many new faces, but I don’t see them taking too many steps back. If the defense improves, then this team could win 10 games again.
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