Southern Football Report Preseason Poll: #2 TCU Horned Frogs

TCU LogoIt was just four short years ago when the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs were a college football nomad. They began in the Southwest Conference before making their way to the Western Athletic Conference and the Conference-USA and even had a cup of coffee with the now defunct Big East Conference. Now here were are and they have joined the big leagues of the Big XII and heading into the 2015 season they are the preseason favorite to win the conference. I guess they are no longer playing the ‘Little Sisters of the Poor’ aye Gordon Gee?

TCU Senior Quarterback Trevone Boykin
TCU Senior Quarterback Trevone Boykin

Offensively, the Frogs are stacked. They return everyone except one offensive lineman from a 12 win team who racked up over 500 yards of offence and 46.5 points per game last season. Led by senior quarterback Trevone Boykin who burst onto the scene in 2014 will look to lead the offense on another scorched Earth tour through the Big XII. Boykin accounted for 4,608 yards of offense and 41 touchdowns last season and will most likely improve on those numbers with their almost absurdly experienced offensive unit. Senior Aaron Green will be the running back for the Frogs as he came just 80 yards shy of breaking the thousand yard mark and have a 7.1 yard per carry average. On the offensive line, TCU returns four seniors and the lone returning non-starter is 6-foot-5, 310 pound sophomore Joseph Notebloom who will fill the right tackle position perfectly. Out wide, the Boykin and the Frogs have a trio of receivers that will ‘go get it’ in seniors Deante Gray, Kolby Listenbee, Josh Doctson and junior Ty Slanina. Doctson and Gray are the two leaders after combining for 19 touchdown receptions last season but I expect big things from Slanina in 2015. This offense won’t miss a beat this season and will be very hard to even slow down, much less stop.

TCU Senior Safety Derrick Kendred
TCU Senior Safety Derrick Kendred

The irony of TCU having an elite offense is that for what seems like ever, Head Coach Gary Patterson has built his team around defense and in 2014 he had a very good one that held opponents to less than 20 points per game on average. There are only five returning starters from that team but Patterson is a master of getting a young defense ready quickly. The Frogs lost a lot of playmakers from last season but, led by senior defensive ends James McFarland and Terrell Lathan, TCU will be a top 25 defense again. McFarland and Lathan combined for 12.5 sacks last season and will be bookending a defensive line of junior Aaron Curry and senior Davion Pierson. The Frogs will need all-new linebackers and have tapped true freshman Mike Freeze for the inside linebacker spot and junior Sammy Douglas as the sam linebacker spot. These two will definitely need to step up in 2015. TCU typically plays defense with five defensive backs on the field and only return two starters from that group including senior and the returning tackles leader at 80, Derrick Kindred who also chipped in with 4 interceptions. Also returning will be sophomore corner back Ranthony Texada who came on strong late in the freshman season and recorded 31 tackles and an interception. The other players stepping into starting defensive secondary roles have some playing experience but not much and will need to strap it up quickly because the Frogs don’t have much time to waste.

TCU Horned Frogs Head Coach Gary Patterson
TCU Horned Frogs Head Coach Gary Patterson

The season begins on the road on the opening Thursday night of the season in Minnesota against the Golden Gophers who have had back-to-back eight win seasons for the first time in a decade. The Frogs return home the following week for a two game home stand against FCS opponent Stephen F. Austin, who finished the season 8-5, then an SMU program who have hired a new hot shot head coach. It’s back on the road for the conference opener on the final Saturday of September against Texas Tech. October begins with a match up against Texas that always intrigues me because the Longhorns refused to play TCU for so long which was probably smart because the Frogs are 2-1 against the ‘blue blood’ Texas Longhorns since joining the Big XII. It’ll be a two game road trip the next two weeks against an always pesky Kansas State and bottom feeder Iowa State before the bye week on October 24th. The Thursday night before Halloween the Horned Frogs get to travel to the always spooky Morgantown, West Virginia, to take on the Mountaineers who needed 14 points and a last second field goal to defeat by one last season. When looking at TCU’s schedule, its plain as day to see that their whole season will be defined by how they fare in November. It begins with a road trip to Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State who many have a sneaky suspicion will be better this year than their 7-6 record in 2014 followed by a home date with the Kansas Jayhawks. The final two weeks of the season will be the toughest two weeks beginning with a road trip to Norman against the Oklahoma Sooners followed by the much anticipated rematch against the Baylor Bears who TCU feels they have some unfinished business to handle.

TCU was a fun team to watch in 2014 and will be a fun team to watch in 2015, especially how they answered the bell in the Chick Fil-A Peach Bowl after being left out of the College Football Playoff. There are a few programs that should take notice of how to perform in a bowl game after being ‘left out’. The Frogs have a team loaded with experience, talent and chips on every shoulder. That is a dangerous combination to give to a team who felt like they didn’t belong for as many years as TCU did.

Amon G. Carter Stadium - Capacity: 45,000
Amon G. Carter Stadium – Capacity: 45,000

2015 TCU Horned Frogs Schedule

Sept 3rd            at Minnesota (Fri)
Sept 12th          Stephen F. Austin
Sept 19th          SMU
Sept 26th         at Texas Tech
Oct 3rd             Texas
Oct 10th           at Kansas State
Oct 17th           at Iowa State
Oct 24th           BYE WEEK
Oct 29th           at West Virginia (Thurs)
Nov 7th            at Oklahoma State
Nov 14th          Kansas
Nov 21st           at (19) Oklahoma
Nov 27th          (4) Baylor (Fri)

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