Let’s face it. Even with the built in excuses of first game rust and playing a ‘middle of the pack’ Big Ten team in their house, those with allegiances to the #2 ranked TCU Horned Frogs came away from Thursday night game slightly questioning if they have what it takes to be a national champion.
The Frogs will be hard pressed to hold on to their #2 spot in the polls after #3 Alabama handled a tough Wisconsin Badgers team with ease, 35-17, on Saturday night in Arlington at AT&T Stadium. In the race to the national championship playoffs, things such as “style points” within victories will play a part in the voters decisions no matter how much they will try to tell us that it doesn’t. Just the natural human element of seeing something that visually appears to be more aesthetically pleasing will without a doubt sway voters.
THREE REVIEW OBSERVATIONS
1. Heisman Trophy candidate Trevone Boykin must settle down and not try to make every throw be the one that puts him on the podium at the Downtown Athletic Club in December. His 246 passing yards hide the many overthrown and underthrown receivers. His accuracy has to improve moving forward if the Frogs are to make some noise in January.
2. TCU’s defense is fast. If not for a late touchdown pass with just over a minute left in the game, the Frogs would have held a very solid offense to 10 points at home. The front seven was swarming to the ball all night. Freshman MLB Mike Freeze looks to be a natural. He will eventually go down as one of the best to play the position at the school. The secondary didn’t allow the Gophers receiver’s much operating room down field. The final desperation drive of the Gophers padded the passing stats just a bit, but all in all the back four came to play. The defense will be one that is championship worthy.
3. TCU’s recent success under coach Gary Patterson has brought a national respect to the program. Having a prime time game televised nationally speaks volumes about the growth of the program. The pregame show spoke of the such respect and the high expectations across the country for them. They are no longer viewed as nothing more than “a very good mid major team” who can’t compete with the powers of college football. Although their performance on Thursday night wasn’t a good representative sample of it, TCU is now one of the powers in college football.