2011 TCU Horned Frogs Predictions and College Football Futures Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 7/12/2011
Last season went about as well as it possibly could for TCU. The Horned Frogs went undefeated, beat up on the two ranked teams they played in the regular season, snuck into the Rose Bowl, and impressed the sporting world with a win over Wisconsin. The only thing that would have been better for them is if they hadn’t wound up ranked just second in the two polls.
After that impressive season TCU now has to look like a fitting encore. They have to do it without their biggest star, too — the next time we see NFL action QB Andy Dalton will be fighting for playing time with the Bengals.
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It’s a swan song of a season for the Horned Frogs, but they certainly aren’t going to be too sad about it. After toiling in the Mountain West conference since 2005 they will be packing their bags for the big time next year after they move up to the Big East for a guaranteed shot at a BCS berth each year. The softness of that league will have the Horned Frogs licking their lips, and they will be looking to build some momentum heading into their new home.
One of the most surprising things about this team right now is that Gary Patterson is still coaching it. Patterson is a defensive savant, and he has had the opportunity to move to many high-profile jobs, but he has stuck with the program he has built, and now there is little incentive to move with the Big East on the horizon. This is the only head coaching job he has ever held, but he obviously didn’t need much practice. He has an incredible 98-28 record in nine seasons, and obviously knows how to coach.
Dalton was one of those rare players that was absolutely the face of his program, so his departure will be felt. There is a very nice option at QB waiting his turn, though — sophomore Casey Pachall. There shouldn’t be that much of a step down. Pachall’s raw skills exceed Dalton’s, and he has had time to watch how Dalton ran the team and get to know the offense.
He has excellent targets to throw to, and a very good group of running backs. The big concern, though, is that only one offensive lineman returns. The line was brilliant last year, and they will have to find their stride quickly this year if the team wants to have a strong year.
This team has been built on stunning defense — they allowed a nation’s-best 12 points per game last year. There is a good chance that this team will play great defense yet again this year. The linebackers are the quarterbacks of this system, and All-American Tank Carder returns to lead the way. The defensive line should be very strong and effective as well. The secondary has a chance to be very strong, but there is less certainty because they will be employing a lot of youth back there.
2011 TCU Horned Frogs Football Schedule
At the risk of over-simplifying, the TCU season comes down to three games. The other nine are more than winnable if the Horned Frogs play like they can. The first of the challenging games opens the season — they play at Baylor. On Oct. 28 they play a high-profile game against newly independent BYU at Cowboys Stadium. Unquestionably, though, the game of the year falls on Nov. 12 when TCU travels to Boise State to play for the only time as conference rivals. There is a very good chance that that game will determine the winner of the conference, and it will be a shootout.
2011 TCU Horned Frogs College Football Futures Odds
Oddsmakers like this team, but they don’t love it. Bodog has installed them at 30/1 to win the BCS Championship. There are 15 teams with lower prices. 5Dimes has them set as the second choice to win the Mountain West at +450. At this point, though, you can expect the Broncos to be heavily favored when the two teams meet — Boise State is a heavy -295 favorite in the conference.
2011 TCU Horned Frogs Predictions
If we were talking about pretty much any non-BCS team other than TCU, then they would be looking towards a pretty good season. Good just isn’t good enough for this team right now, though, so by their own standards I expect this to be a bit of a disappointing season for them. Their baseline is nine wins, so it won’t be a disaster by any means. I don’t think they are going to beat Boise State. That leaves two games. Given the twin challenges of a new QB and a new offensive line it’s hard to believe they will come out on top in both. I think 10-2 would be a very strong year for this team, and 11-1 would be fantastic.
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