Texas Christian Horned Frogs
Head Coach: Gary Patterson
2012 Record: 7-6 overall, 4-5 Big 12
2012 Bowl Result: Lost to Michigan St 17-16 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
2013 Returning Starters: 7 offense, 9 defense
Odds to win 2014 BCS Championship Game: 100/1
Odds to Win 2013 Big 12 Championship: +395
Regular Season Wins: over 8 -145 / under 8 +115
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It was an up and down season last year for the TCU Horned Frogs in their first year in the Big 12. After years of being the big fish in the little ponds of Conference USA and the Mountain West, the Frogs swam with the big boys. TCU started off the season 5-1, but would go 2-4 the rest of the way to limp into a bowl game. TCU had wins over Kansas, Virginia, SMU, Baylor, Texas, and West Virginia. The losses came to Iowa St, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Kansas St, and Oklahoma, who all went to bowl games. TCU would lose a heartbreaker to Michigan State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl 17-16 to finish 7-6 on the season.
TCU returns 16 starters and is picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma St, Texas and Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs faced a lot of distractions last year when quarterback Casey Pachall was suspended midway through the season after a DWI arrest, and coach Gary Patterson did a masterful job keeping the team focused. Hopefully those distractions are behind TCU and they can focus on winning football games.
Rusty Burns and Jarrett Anderson will serve as co-offensive coordinators. The offense wasn’t terrible last year but it wasn’t great either. TCU averaged 28.3 points a game with was 68th in the country.
Senior quarterback Pachall returns from his suspension and will battle sophomore Trevone Boykin for the starting job. Boykin took over for Pachall after the suspension, and did a good job for a freshman thrown to the wolves. Pachall completed 66% of his passes for 948 yards with 10 touchdowns and an interception in four games before the suspension. Boykin completed 57.2% of his passes for 2,054 yards with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions along with 127 carries for 417 yards and 3 touchdowns. TCU went 4-0 with Pachall, and 3-6 with Boykin. The first game for Boykin was the home upset to Iowa St 37-23. As of this writing Patterson had not named a starter yet. Both could see action. Redshirt freshman Tyler Matthews is in the wings in case Pachall or Boykin get injured.
Senior running back Waymon James missed most of last season with a knee injury. He returns and led the Horned Frogs in rushing two years ago. Sophomore B.J. Catalon led the Frogs in rushing last year after James went down with 123 carries for 582 yards and no touchdowns, along with 23 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown. Nebraska transfer Aaron Green will also get some carries after sitting out last year. Jordan Moore could also get some carries as a power back. True freshman Kyle Hicks might have to wait to crack the rotation with so much talent ahead of him.
TCU loses top receiver Josh Boyce and #3 receiver Skye Dawson. Junior Brandon Carter does return though after making 36 catches, 590 yards and 6 touchdowns last year. Sophomore Deante’ Carter moves from defensive back to receiver to back up Carter. Sophomore LaDarius Brown made 27 catches for 385 yards and 5 touchdowns. David Porter, Cam White, and Kolby Listenbee will also get some targets as well. True freshmen Ty Slanina and Cameron Echols-Luper will also be in the mix. Junior Steven Bryan returns at tight end after missing all of last year. Sophomore Griffin Gilbert started at tight end last year but only made 2 catches.
The offensive line struggled in pass protection last year, and must replace 2 starters. Eric Tausch moves from left guard to center, and is also versatile enough to play tackle. Sophomore Joey Hunt will take over at left guard. Sophomore Aviante Collins returns at right tackle. Tayo Fabuluje was supposed to start at left tackle but left the team. The job will go to HalapoulivaatiVaitai instead. Sophomore Jamelle Naff will start at right guard. Michael Thompson and Patrick Morris add depth to the unit.
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Last season TCU led the Big 12 in total and run defense under coordinator Dick Bumpas. Now TCU returns 9 starters and should be even better. TCU uses a 4-2-5 system
Sophomore defensive end Devonte Fields was the Big 12 defensive player of the year with 54 tackles, 18.5 for loss, and 10 sacks. Senior Jon Koontz will start at the other end, and should get some sacks as teams will double team Fields. Koontz will rotate with James McFarland. Junior Chucky Hunter will start at one tackle after making 26 tackles, including 8 for loss and 3.5 sacks. Sophomore Davion Pierson will start at the other tackle after making 36 tackles, 7.5 for loss, and 3.5 sacks. Terrell Lathan and Jon Lewis will add depth to the line at tackle. Freshman Bryson Henderson will be a future star at defensive end.
Junior linebacker Joel Hasley left the team earlier this month to pursue other interests. He had 79 tackles and 8.5 stops for loss last year. Junior Jonathan Anderson will start in the middle in place of Hasley. Junior Marcus Mallet takes over at the strong side. Paul Dawson and Sammy Douglas add depth.
All five starters return in the secondary. Senior corner Jason Verrett had 63 tackles, 6 picks and 15 pass break-ups. Junior Kevin White started last year at the other corner but could lose the job to David Jenkins, a transfer from LSU. Junior strong safety Sam Carter had 63 tackles, 3 sacks, and 6.5 tackles for loss. Sophomore Chriss Hackett is the weak safety, and senior Elisha Olabode will start at free safety. Derrick Kindred, Ranthony Texada and Steve Wesley add depth to the unit.
Sophomore kicker Jaden Oberkrom made 22 of 30 field goals and all 42 extra points. He needs to be more consistent. Sophomore punter Ethan Perry averaged 44.5 yards per punt. He had 19 inside the 20 but did have 10 touchbacks as well.
Deante’ Gray averaged 22.4 yards per punt return and had a 70 yard return for a score. He might return kicks as well, but Brandon Carter averaged 25 yards per kick return last year.
TCU opens with LSU in Cowboys Stadium. The horned Frogs then host SE Louisiana, travel to Texas Tech, host Metroplex rival SMU, then travel to Oklahoma, host Kansas, and travel to Oklahoma State. Next comes home games against Texas and West Virginia, followed by road games at Iowa St and Kansas St. TCU closes at home against Baylor.
If TCU can get some consistency on offense, then they will be a very dangerous team. Still, I can’t see more than 8 wins with such a tough schedule. LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St, and Texas seem like losses and Baylor and Kansas St seem like toss-ups.
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