TCU was predicted to finish 7th in the preseason Big 12 media poll. They were only two points ahead of West Virginia who was picked 8th. Baylor was the preseason pick to win the league and the Bears were 10th in the preseason AP Poll. The national media did fairly well in guessing before the year about the playoff teams as Georgia was 3rd, Ohio State was 2nd and Michigan was 8th. But while no one is surprised Georgia is back in the title game, no one thought TCU would make the top 25 let alone be the Bulldogs opponent in tonight's championship game.
TCU first made an appearance in the national polls after week 6 when they beat Oklahoma State 43-40 and what was their third straight win over a ranked opponent. The Horned Frogs debuted at 17th in the AP Poll. They beat Kansas State, another ranked team, 38-28 the following week and moved up to 13th. After winning at West Virginia they leaped to 8th and became part of the national talk of whether they could go undefeated, which they did.
Despite the loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game, Sonny Dykes' team got the fourth spot in the playoff and then beat Michigan to get to the title game.
They are a 12.5 point underdog. Georgia has more 5-star players on their team than TCU has had in their program's history. On paper, Georgia should win easily and they may win easily. But it's why we play the game.
In 2013, TCU went 4-8. But in 2014 they put together a magical season. The Horned Frogs started 4-0 and moved into the top 25. They lost a 61-58 shootout to Baylor but then beat 15th ranked Oklahoma State the following week then scored 82 in a win against Texas Tech. They went on to win the rest of their regular season games and finished 11-1. But the Big 12 did not play
a conference title that year. The conference did schedule regular season games the same weekend other conferences were playing their title games.The Horned Frogs were ranked 3rd by the College Football Playoff committee going into that conference championship weekend. Alabama, Oregon, TCU and FSU were the top four. TCU beat Iowa State 55-3. Baylor, who beat TCU earlier in the season, beat Kansas State 38-27 to earn a share of the Big 12 title. Alabama, Oregon and FSU won their conference title games and were locks to make the final four. TCU didn't lose and had no reason to expect to not make the playoff. Except the committee was more impressed with Urban Meyer's Buckeyes in their 59-0 rout of Wisconsin. Ohio State moved up from 5th to 4th and got the final spot. Heck, TCU didn't even drop to 5th. The playoff committee moved Baylor ahead and TCU was 6th in the final playoff rankings.
That snub has nothing to do with the 2022 season, but TCU got into the playoffs this time and then beat the team everyone thought would beat them up and roll, Michigan. Now they face another team that is supposed to beat them up and roll- Georgia. It's why we play the game and the Horned Frogs have a chance to leave no doubt with a win that would be one of the biggest, if not the biggest upset in the four-team College Football Playoff era...
Nuggets: I mentioned last week here that my mother-in-law passed away early on New Year's Eve. She was 89 and I wrote that she was a huge sports fan and loved her South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Well, the Jackrabbits won the FCS National Championship on Sunday beating the mighty Bison of North Dakota State 45-21. She would have been watching every second of that game and would have flooded my phone with updates and emojis. I didn't get those text messages but I did smile when I saw the final score...Classic timing by Michigan to make sure they and head coach Jim Harbaugh released a statement where Harbaugh talked about his love for Michigan and despite talking with an NFL team he fully expects to be back at Michigan in 2023 while the NCAA was sending Michigan their letter detailing the violations being charges to the program. Among them, and the most serious, Harbaugh provided false or misleading information to NCAA investigators. Apparently two recruits visited Ann Arbor during the COVID-19 period where in-person recruiting was not allowed. Harbaugh took the two players to a meal at a popular restaurant and all had hamburgers. Harmless, right? Maybe so, but when asked about the meal he either lied or misled the investigators. The penalty is not costing Harbaugh his job but he didn't tell the truth. Go read how Jim Tressel lost his job at Ohio State. Michigan will likely lose recruiting days and maybe a scholarship or a few, but the honorable Harbaugh wasn't exactly the upstanding guy many think. But if you win, no one cares, right?...I am getting better at disciplining myself when it comes to the transfer portal. What I mean is, I know the most talented players are going after the most money. Loyalty, passion, commitment to a program are punchlines. I have heard so many stories in the last month that nothing surprises me anymore. Parents selling their kids to programs their kids don't even want to attend. I have heard about players telling a school they were offered six figures from another school when there was no offer. I have heard stories of assistant coaches texting boosters asking for another $100,000 to close the deal on a transfer. I accept this is where we are. I don't believe most of these collectives cannot sustain the cash levels they are paying. I don't know why the one-time transfer rule is no longer enforced. I call all coaches who won't name names gutless. But this is where we are and that's the college football I am living in...
Final note: For the second consecutive year, mayonnaise is the top condiment in the United States.