The preseason college football magazines are starting to surface and TCU, thus far, has yet to crack the nation’s Top 25. But the Horned Frogs come close in the estimation of editors at Athlon Sports, who peg TCU for a 7-5 finish, a bowl appearance and a winning record in Big 12 play this season.
The Horned Frogs, a 6-7 team last season, check in at No. 32 in Athlon’s national rankings and join Kansas State and West Virginia in a three-team group projected to finish 5-4 in league play. TCU’s projected postseason destination: a matchup against UTSA in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
That’s not exactly a return to the glory days from the 2014 and 2015 seasons, when the Horned Frogs posted a combined record of 23-3 under coach Gary Patterson with consecutive Top 10 finishes in the final Associated Press rankings. But it would mark a step up from last season, if such a scenario unfolds.
In assessing the merits of a TCU team that returns 16 starters from last season (9 on offense, 7 on defense), Athlon prognosticators envision more consistent play on defense, more designed runs by first-year offensive play-caller Sonny Cumbie and the potential for exceeding the projected 7-5 record if quarterback Kenny Hill shows more consistency in his second season in chart of the Frogs’ offense. Hill, a transfer from Texas A&M who made his TCU debut last year, is a fifth-year senior from Southlake Carroll.
“The Air Raid-based Frogs will go as far as their quarterback takes them. Improvement from Hill is a must,” magazine editors wrote in summarizing the key to TCU’s season. “At least Patterson is likely to put out a sound defense. Experience is on his side this year, and that typically has meant good things.”