TCU Horned Frogs
Head Coach: Gary Patterson
2018 Record: 7-6, 4-5 Conference
Bowl: 10-7 win (OT) against California at Cheez-it Bowl
O/U 7.5 Wins (O -115; U -115)
TCU made its 19th Bowl in 21 years last season, and the Horned Frogs were able to sneak out an OT win over California to give itself a winning season. The 7-6 record was nothing to celebrate over, however, and head coach Gary Patterson simply said of the effort, “We’re not good losers.” The Frogs followed four campaigns of seven wins or less by monster seasons, with a 10-2 mark, 11-1, 11-3, and one 4-8 outlier. In 2007 after going 8-5 the team came back to post an 11-2 record. The 2019 team is hoping to fall into that trend and make another big leap despite Vegas Oddsmakers setting the over/under at just 7.5 wins for the Horned Frogs.
The team returns 12 starters (five defense, seven offense), but it was missing 22 players in the spring with an assortment of injuries. The Frogs accordingly canceled its spring scrimmage due to the lack of players available, but it did hold da public practice. The Frogs signed 27 players and ranked No. 3 in the Big 12 and No. 33 nationally in that recruiting haul. Among those signed was four-star defensive tackle Karter Johnson and it also added two graduate transfers in defensive end Shameik Blackshear of South Carolina and QB Alex Delton of K-State.
TCU Has to figure out its QB situation this year. Shawn Robinson had a rough season a year ago before transferring to Missouri, and the Frogs have a lot of options to cycle through before choosing his replacement. Four-star signee Max Duggan and Alex Delton will be the top two of those options, while last year’s back up Michael Collins and Justin Rogers are both in the mix. Rogers incurred a severe leg injury his last high school season, but he is nearing full-strength.
Wide Receiver Jalen Reagor will be the top option for whoever is throwing. He set a TCU record last year with a TD catch in seven-straight games, and he led the team in all receiving categories. Taye Barber was No. 2 in catches last year as a freshman and he was great in the offseason. The running back options will include seniors Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua. Olonilua had 194 yards in the Bowl win last year. The offensive line brings back four starters, including Lucas Niang, who made the All-Conference team as a right tackle.
Patterson’s defense is one that stars linebackers and safeties. However, it suffers the losses of Ty Summers and Arrico Evans, as well as Niko Small due to graduation. Garret Wallow is a junior hybrid linebacker and the returning lead tackler. Montrel Wilson only played 10 games the past three seasons due to injury, but if he is back in full form he should be a major boost.
The Frogs replaced a lot of talent with inexperience on the defensive end of the football, but redshirt freshman Ochaun Mathis and true freshman Adam Plant are good despite a lack of experience. Corey Bethley had five sacks last year and will pair with Ross Blacklock who missed last year with an Achilles’ injury. Jeff Gladney was the best cornerback in the Big 12 last year and the senior should have decent NFL prospects.
TCU went down to Oz to land Jordy Sandy who is a rugby-style punter. Placekicker Cole Bunce and Jonathan Song have kicked since their respective freshman seasons. The returns will be big with KaVontae Turpin expected to be a big playmaker on punts and kickoffs.
The Horned Frogs had the top-ranked Big 12 unit in both total defense and pass defense, and it had the second-best scoring defense a year ago. That should be relatively the same this season, but the QB battle is a major thing to watch obviously. TCU has a lot of playmakers on both ends of the ball and returns a good bit of experience, but the team will have to manage its turnovers better—both forcing them on defense and preventing them on offense. This team is probably better than oddsmakers credit it for, though, especially if the QB issue turns out to be something of a non-issue after it is finally settled.
Prediction: 9 wins (over)