We have reached the top 10 teams in the nation and the cream of the crop is starting to rise. Here is team #6 and the 2010 TCU Horned Frogs Football Preview. All part of our 31 teams in 31 days college football season preview from Maddux Sports.
No. 6 TCU Horned Frogs
2009 record: 12-1
2009 Bowl Game: 17-10 loss to Boise State in Fiesta Bowl
2009 ATS: 8-4
Returning starters: 16 (9 on offense, 7 on defense)
The Horned Frogs scored more than 50 points on three different occasions last season. They return nine starters and there is no reason to believe that the 2010 numbers will look any different.
They return the quarterback with the most wins among active signal callers in Andy Dalton. He threw for 2,756 yards and 23 touchdowns in the 2009 campaign, and he was extremely accurate. He completed 61.6 percent of his passes and was intercepted only eight times.
Dalton also carried the ball 116 times for 512 yards and three touchdowns. He is a dangerous dual-threat and has proven that he can attack defenses on the ground and through the air. He will continue to lead the team to wins in the 2010 season.
TCU loses its top rusher Joseph Turner, who scored 11 touchdowns on 147 carries last season. Turner ran for 754 yards and averaged 5.1 yards. However, they have a star in the waiting in Matthew Tucker. He ran for 676 yards on 105 carries last season and scored eight touchdowns. He averaged 6.4 yards per carry and showed of his explosiveness in 2009.
The Horned Frogs are returning their top pass catchers in Jeremy Kerley, Jimmy Young, and Antoine Hicks. TCU was very balanced on its passing attack in 2009 with four players racking up over 400 yards. Kerley led the team with 44 receptions. He scored two touchdowns and averaged 12.7 yards per catch
Hicks is the most explosive out of the bunch. He caught only 23 balls last season but racked up 478 yards. He averaged 20.8 yards per reception and scored six touchdowns. He could have a breakout season in 2010 and will most likely be the top receiver on the team.
The Horned Frogs have been the nation’s top defensive team in total defense for the last two years, and they are looking to continue their defensive success. They do lose linebacker Darryl Washington and end Jerry Hughes, which could be a problem for the front seven.
Washington was the team’s top tackler with 109 tackles and nine tackles for a loss last season. He also had two sacks and three interceptions. Hughes had the most sacks on the team. He brought the opposing quarterback to the ground ferociously last season and totaled 11.5 sacks. He had five tackles for a loss and broke up three passes.
Linebacker Tank Carder was a force against the run, but also showed his skills in pass coverage. He had 89 tackles, two sacks, and eight tackles for a loss. He also broke up 10 passes and hauled in one interception.
The team loses two four-year starters at cornerback. Nick Sanders and Rafael Priest will be replaced by junior Greg McCoy and senior Jason Teague, and the coaches seem comfortable with their new starters.
Kicker Ross Evans was busy on extra points behind a high-flying, touchdown-scoring offense. He went 61-for-63 on PATs, and 15-for-18 on field goals. He didn’t try a single kick from 50+ yards and went 3-for-5 on kicks between 40 and 49 yards. If the offense can repeat its domination, Evans once again won’t be called upon for many field goal tries.
Punter Anson Kelton averaged 37.5 yards per punt and forced 18 fair catches. He pinned the ball within the opponent’s 20-yard line 19 times.
Jeremy Kerley is dangerous on returns. He had more than 1,000 return yards in combining punt and kick return duties. He took two punts back for scores, and averaged 14.4 yards on punt returns.
Greg McCoy is just as dangerous. He returned 10 kicks and averaged 35.9 yards. He also scored a touchdown on a kick return.
Against the spread
The Horned Frogs went 8-4 against the college football betting lines in 2009. They held a 3-2 record as the home favorites and an even better 4-1 record ATS as the away favorite. They got an outright win in the one game in which they were the underdog. They were 2-point dogs at Clemson in Week 3, but won the game 14-10.
TCU went 6-2 in conference games and 2-2 when playing against teams from other conferences. The team is 58-46-4 ATS under 10th year head coach Gary Patterson. They are 65-51-4 ATS in the last ten years.
You can bet on it
As for some college football picks ATS, bet on the Horned Frogs on October 30 at UNLV. TCU shut out the Rebels 41-0 last year and has won six straight. The Rebels got only 160 yards in the 2009 meeting, while TCU rushed for 390 yards alone.
Favor the fade
Fade the Horned Frogs at Utah on November 6. I’m not saying TCU will lose this one, but the spread could be a little too high to cover after last year’s 55-28 rout. The Utes beat TCU in 2008 and the teams’ meetings from 2005 through 2008 were decided by a combined 26 points. The Horned Frogs were a 20-point favorite, and I could see a similar spread in 2010.