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Wednesday, September 1, 2010
No. 6 TCU seeks perfection, title shot

By Jeff Caplan

The TCU Horned Frogs enter the 2010 season boasting the program's highest preseason rankings -- No. 6 in the Associated Press poll and No. 7 in the coaches poll -- after reaching unprecedented heights last season in playing in the BCS Fiesta Bowl.

The Frogs couldn't finish the job against fellow BCS-buster Boise State, but it only whet their appetite for more. TCU wants a shot at a national title. To have a chance they know they'll have to sweep their 12-game regular season that starts Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium against No. 24 Oregon State.

PODCAST
ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit joins GAC to announce that he is ready for the start of another season and gives his pick for the TCU-Oregon State game.

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The Frog file:

2009 record: 12-1 (lost to Boise State in Fiesta Bowl, 17-10)
Starters returning: 19
Offensive starters returning: 9
Defensive starters returning: 7
Special teams returning: 3

Key offensive returners: QB Andy Dalton(needs one win to pass Sammy Baugh for most wins by a TCU quarterback); T Marcus Cannon (preseason All-American, ranked by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., as third-best OT in 2011 NFL Draft); C Jake Kirkpatrick (preseason All-American); WR Jeremy Kerley(team-high 44 receptions for 532 yards last season); WR Jimmy Young(115 career receptions are eighth all-time at TCU).
Will be missed:T Marshall Newhouse; RB Joseph Turner.

Key defensive returners:NT Kelly Griffin (became first true freshman in 2007 to start under Gary Patterson); DT Cory Grant (All-MWC last season, first as starter); DE Wayne Daniels (on Lombardi Trophy watch list, all-MWC last season); LB Tank Carder (preseason All-American, top returning tackler); FS Tejay Johnson (preseason All-American, tied for team lead in '09 with three interceptions).
Will be missed: DE Jerry Hughes; LB Daryl Washington; CB Rafael Priest; CB Nick Sanders

Key special teams returners:PK Ross Evans (first-team all-MWC, 15-of-18 FGs last season); KR/PR Jeremy Kerley (Four total kicks returned for touchdowns last season).

On the rise: WR Antoine Hicks(scored 10 touchdowns on 32 touches last season); RBs Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker(Both rushed for more than 600 yards and averaged better than 6.0 yards a carry last season); DE Stansly Maponga (could become only redsirt freshman to earn starting job for opener); CB Greg McCoy (4.32 speed, had two interceptions last season and an 81-yard kickoff return for touchdown).

Toughest schedule stretch:Oct. 16 vs. BYU; Oct. 23 vs. Air Force; Oct. 30 at UNLV; Nov. 6 at Utah.

By the numbers:
27: Seniors (tied for the lead nationally with Louisville)
12:Wins needed by 2010 seniors to become the winningest class in TCU history (a new mark has been set in each of the last two seasons)
110: Wins by Gary Patterson, to 38 losses, since Gary Patterson arrived as defensive coordinator in 1998 (10th year as head coach).