TCU Horned Frogs Odds to win the Big 12 with Expert Betting Predictions
Gary Patterson had the misfortune of taking over as TCU head coach the year after hall-of-famer LaDainian Tomlinson left town. Even worse, he had been the team's defensive coordinator up to that point, so he had been charged with the impossible task of trying to figure out how to stop LT in practice. Despite that, Patterson has had a remarkable career at TCU, amassing an incredible 149-54 record, twice winning National Coach of the Year, and finishing second overall after a Rose Bowl win propelled his 2010 team to 13-0. Most amazing is that through it all Patterson has stayed in Fort Worth when he could have had pretty much any job that came open in the last decade if he'd only asked for it. Four of his five seasons in the Big 12 have been a struggle, though - they went 12-1, won the Peach Bowl and finished third in the rankings in 2014 - and the team is coming off a pretty frustrating 6-7 season. So, are brighter things ahead again for Patterson?
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2016 in a Nutshell
The team tried to replace the very impressive Trevone Boykin at QB with Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill, and it didn't go that well - or at least not that consistently. They opened the season ranked 13th nationally and beat up on FCS foe South Dakota State in the opener, though allowing 41 points was a concern there. Then they lost at home to Arkansas in double overtime and fell out of the rankings. Beating up on Iowa State and SMU got them back into the Top 25 briefly, but then losing at home to Oklahoma in a shootout knocked them out for good. They beat lowly Kansas by only a single point and then lost at West Virginia and at home to Texas Tech. Because college football rarely makes sense, they then beat No. 13 Baylor on the road by 40 but then lost at home to Oklahoma State by 25 the next week. They won at reeling Texas to become bowl eligible but then lost badly at home to Kansas State to round out the season. That 6-6 mark earned them a spot in the Liberty Bowl against Georgia. The Horned Frogs were up after three quarters, but they took the fourth off and lost by eight. It was a fitting end to an underwhelming year.
Key Additions and Departures
Patterson had used co-offensive coordinators for three seasons, but this year Doug Meachem left to take over as OC at Kansas, so Sonny Cumbie continues alone in the role. The most noteworthy change, though, is that Sonny Dykes, the offensive guru who flamed out as head coach at Cal, is with the team as an offensive analyst. Kenny Hill is back at QB, and that isn't necessarily a good thing. He became very predictable last year, and the staff will have to make sure that that doesn't happen again. He returns many of his receivers, but Hill had more passes dropped than any QB in the country, so that isn't entirely a good thing. There is a strong group of young receivers behind them, though, so we can expect improvement here. They will be protected by a very good line, too, as there are four senior returning starters. Running back isn't as relevant with this team as some other, but they are in very good shape. Senior Kyle Hicks returns off a 1,000-yard season, and sophomore Sewo Olonilua faces high expectations in what should be an expanded role this year. There is real upside on offense.
When you thought of TCU you used to think of defense, so their woes the last couple of years have been striking. Last year they were just plain lousy, ranking 64th in points allowed and worse than that in many key stats. The best thing they could do is rush the passer, and their two best in that area are gone. They will be relying heavily on new faces up front, with four-star redshirt freshman Ross Blacklock and Louisiana-Monroe transfer Ben Banogu both shouldering significant expectations. Beyond the line, though, they return a lot of experience, and there is a lot of reason for optimism. The big concern, though, is that Chad Glasgow is back for his third year at defensive coordinator. He's a long-time Patterson guy, but he has done a lousy job replacing the great Dick Bumpas after his retirement. I hope I am wrong about Glasgow, but he doesn't leave me particularly optimistic.
TCU Horned Frogs Schedule Analysis
They open with a free win against Jackson State and then have a very winnable trip to Arkansas before an easy home win over SMU. A trip to Oklahoma State will be tough but far from unwinnable, and then West Virginia, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State offer a month of manageable opponents if this team finds their form. A home game against Texas will be very interesting since both teams are tough to judge right now, then a trip to Oklahoma is tough. They close out with Texas Tech and Baylor and should win both. There is only one game I can rouse very little optimism for, so the high-end goal of double-digit wins seems at least possible. At the very least, they should be able to beat last year's win total unless things are really broken.
2017-18 TCU Horned Frogs Betting Odds and Trends
TCU is listed at +8000 to win the national title at BetOnline , which puts them at the same level as Stanford and others. That seems a little optimistic, and I don't see any value at all there. They are just the fifth choice to win the Big 12 at +1000 and far behind favorite Oklahoma at -135. That's further proof that the national title odds are overly optimistic. Oddly, Olonilua is one of just 26 players with Heisman odds listed, albeit as a big long shot at +6600. For a guy with one career start and 122 yards and one TD over his career on a team that passes first, that is a strong vote of confidence - and one I wouldn't bet with free money.
The team was a freaking disaster to bet on last year, winding up 3-10 ATS after starting out 1-7 ATS. Despite their defensive woes, they weren't a good over team, either - largely because of the offensive inconsistency. The "under" actually prevailed seven times in the 13 games.
2017-18 TCU Horned Frogs Predictions and College Football Picks
Despite a lack of faith in guys like Glasgow and Hill, I like this team quite a lot this year. They have a lot of seniors, so I expect them to be playing like they know their window is as wide open as it will be in a while. I expect them to have a good look at double-digit wins, and they will be a much better team to bet on than last year.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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