Monday, June 17, 2013
Surprising choice as TCU's biggest game
By David Ubben
Hey, TCU joined the Big 12 to be back among old friends, right? (There was that whole money thing, too, but whatever.)
So what's the deal with the poll about the Frogs' most important game? Coincidentally, the Frogs will be without their most important defender for that game: 33 percent of you said TCU's season opener at Cowboys Stadium is the Frogs' most important. Defensive end Devonte Fields, the reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, is suspended.
My pick would have gone to Texas, but the Longhorns came in second with just 24 percent of the vote. Last year's win in Austin is one that had Frogs fans talking all offseason, but for the chunk who voted for the TCU game, it's not as surprising as you might think.
For one, TCU's reputation in the Big 12 largely hinges on that game. As big as the Texas gams was last season, it was mostly a symbolic win that announced the Frogs arrival into the league. At its core, it was just a win over a team that finished the regular season 8-4.
The significance of a win over LSU would be huge. On the small scale, it forces the rest of the Big 12 to take the Frogs seriously as a Big 12 contender and validates (to some extent, until Big 12 play begins) what could be a historic season in Fort Worth. It would also be pretty clear proof that Casey Pachall is well on his way back to playing like his old self.
On a wider scale, it would be a huge win for the Frogs' new league. TCU is the only Big 12 team playing as an underdog against an SEC team in three nonconference games this season. A win at Cowboys Stadium would give the Big 12 a great shot to go 3-0 against the league Big 12 coaches have taken target toward all offseason, and lend legitimacy to their claim as the Big 12 as not only the deepest league in college football, but the best league. The national title race may further decide that, but head-to-head matchups are a great place to start.
TCU's game against Oklahoma State got just 17 percent of the vote, and the Frogs' date with Oklahoma got 14 percent of the vote. Baylor got just 12 percent.
There were really only two picks here, but the fans' surprising choice shouldn't be all that shocking.