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Saturday, December 4, 2010
A TCU fan guide to today's action

By Richard Durrett

It's a big day for TCU fans even though the Frogs have completed the regular season and will sit back and relax (or at least try to) on this championship Saturday.

A few things to watch in terms of implications for TCU fans:

* The Oregon-Oregon State game starts just before the SEC Championship Game. So by 7 p.m. Dallas time or so today, TCU should have a good idea of its options.

* If Oregon and Auburn win today, TCU heads to the Rose Bowl for the traditional Jan. 1 bowl. That's not a bad consolation prize if TCU doesn't get to play for a national title, is it? And with the school headed to the Big East in 2012, this is probably the only chance (maybe ever?) TCU has to play in the Rose Bowl. So that's certainly exciting for the school.

* If Oregon loses to Auburn, the consensus is TCU is in the BCS Championship Game, which means another trip to Glendale, Ariz., a place where TCU lost the Fiesta Bowl to Boise State last year. Coach Gary Patterson would love the chance to head back out there and see if his team can get things right this time.

* If Oregon wins and Auburn loses to South Carolina in the SEC Championship game, things get very interesting. How does Auburn lose? Do they go down by 10 points or more? If so, it's tough to imagine voters will prop them up enough to pass TCU in the BCS standings even if those voters make the argument that Auburn played the tougher schedule (and they did, beating five teams currently in the top-25 and getting through the regular season without a blemish in the SEC, something very difficult to do).

* But what if Auburn loses on a last-second field goal or in overtime? Voters might feel that a one-loss Auburn team, despite losing the conference title game, deserves to go ahead of TCU. But for that to happen, Auburn would have to end up very close to the Frogs in the polls and hope the computers shoved them in front. ESPN.com's BCS guru Brad Edwards said in that scenario that TCU would sweat some, but he still thinks the Frogs would go. (I think you'll have some voters drop Auburn behind Wisconsin or believe that a one-loss Badger team or even Stanford should go. That would split votes essentially and put TCU in the game. Just my two cents).

* How about the possibility that Auburn and Oregon lose? In that case, Edwards believes TCU is in for sure and would probably face Auburn, who would be the strongest of the one-loss teams in the computers. But the voters would hav a huge say there. That would certainly make for some interesting discussion and debate. But the debate would not be whether TCU is in. They would definitely get in if both Auburn and Oregon lose.

A note to TCU fans about Oregon and Auburn: Both have been tremendous second-half teams this year. So don't get too excited at the half if either team is behind. They have offenses that can score points in a hurry and have shown an ability to make halftime adjustments. Auburn has come back from four double-digit deficits this season, including the last two games (Georgia and Alabama). It should be an interesting day as for the second straight year, TCU watches and hopes for some help to get to a title game (My bet is Auburn falls to South Carolina and TCU plays Oregon for the title. But we'll see).