Schedule analysis: TCU Horned Frogs
See more Big 12 schedule analysis here.
Nonconference (with 2011 records):
- Sept. 8: Grambling State (8-4)
- Sept. 22: Virginia (8-5)
- Sept. 29: at SMU (8-5)
- Oct. 6: Iowa State (6-7)
- Oct. 20: Texas Tech (5-7)
- Nov. 10: Kansas State (10-3)
- Dec. 1: Oklahoma (10-3)
- Sept. 15: at Kansas (2-10)
- Oct. 13: at Baylor (10-3)
- Oct. 27: at Oklahoma State (12-1)
- Nov. 3: at West Virginia (10-3)
- Nov. 24: at Texas (8-5)
Gut-check game: at Oklahoma State. If TCU wants us to take it seriously as a Big 12 title contender (and I'm wavering on that idea with all the offseason distractions and defections), it needs to prove that it's better than Oklahoma State. If it can't those doubts will remain. This game will set the stage for the late-season run, and if TCU can go into Stillwater and come away with a win, especially a convincing one, it'll be time to start taking the Frogs seriously as a challenger to Oklahoma and West Virginia in the title race.
Weird return trip: at Baylor. Baylor and TCU are quite familiar with one another. This will be the third consecutive season the two teams have played, and a second consecutive trip to Waco for the Frogs. There's no RG3 this time after the Heisman winner torched TCU in a thrilling season-opening Friday nighter last year. TCU has no Andy Dalton, who embarrassed Baylor back in 2010 in Fort Worth. This should be a fun one, though.
Snoozer: Grambling State. Texas is the Big 12's only team that didn't schedule an FCS team this year. Grambling isn't a bad team, but still ... To borrow a phrase from Charles Barkley in NBATV's recent Dream Team documentary: "I don't know nothin' about Grambling State, but Grambling State is in trouble."
Chance to impress: at Texas. TCU will play the part of Texas A&M this Thanksgiving, filling the Aggies' spot in that traditional holiday showcase. Eyes will be on the Frogs as they walk into the Big 12's biggest pigskin cathedral against what should be an improving Texas team. Will the Horned Frogs walk out of Darrell K. Royal Stadium as winners, with a shot at the Big 12 title heading into the season's final weekend? It's very possible.
Final analysis: The Frogs are the unfortunate recipients of a four-game Big 12 home schedule this year, and play five away games in the nine-game Big 12 conference schedule. No home game is bigger than the last, though. TCU has a lot to prove, but it gets to host Oklahoma on Championship Saturday, which could very well have serious Big 12 title implications. If I was betting, I'd think very seriously about giving the Frogs a shot to win a share of the Big 12 title with a win over Oklahoma on the season's final weekend. Other than that, it's a pretty balanced schedule, and a solid nonconference schedule for the Frogs, at least by Big 12 standards in a weak year of scheduling outside the league. A decent FCS team, plus two eight-win teams? Not bad, Frogs.
See more Big 12 schedule analysis here.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Bob Stoops' recent comments about the SEC and the pending college football playoff, what appears to be an unpredictable Big 12 in 2013, how the Aggies will handle expectations and more.
Play Podcast Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin talks about the improvements being made to Kyle Field, what those improvements will to for the program, the success of last year, Johnny Manziel's offseason and the expectations for the Aggies in 2013.
Play Podcast Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo talk about Texas A&M's decision to expand its stadium and say although the Aggies had a fantastic year, the school must also be careful not to overextend its resources based on a single hot stretch.
Play Podcast Baylor head coach Art Briles joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what kind of player the Cowboys are getting in Terrance Williams.
Play Podcast Arlington and Texas A&M product Luke Joeckel, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett to discuss the draft, coaches and advice from his dad.
Play Podcast Florida Gulf Coast athletic director Ken Kavanagh joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his school's Cinderella story and playing in the Sweet 16 at Cowboys Stadium.
Play Podcast Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joins Fizsimmons & Durrett to discuss Cowboys Stadium as a venue, the state of Big 12 basketball, the new 2014 college football format, why there's no hurry to have a Big 12 football championship and much more.
Play Podcast Jay Bilas joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the remaining 16 teams in the NCAA tournament, the intrigue surrounding the Northwest Region and the excitement over FGCU, even though a similar story happens every year.