TCU Horned Frogs Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
Thirty-five. That is the number of seniors from last year - both fourth- and fifth-year - that the Horned Frogs have lost from the roster. That's a staggering number and a sign that this is a young team. It's also a pretty talented one and one that has a chance to be disruptive in a pretty wide-open conference - perhaps beyond Oklahoma, at least. But with youth comes risks and the potential for downside, and nothing about TCU is certain. They will be well-coached - we know that. And they won't be any fun to play. But can they be a factor in the conference in the end?
2017 in a Nutshell
The Horned Frogs roared out of the gates - or whatever it is that horned frogs do. They won their first seven games, including wins over Arkansas, West Virginia, and at then-No. 6 Oklahoma State. That elevated TCU all the way to No. 4 in the polls, but it wasn't meant to be. They lost a tight 14-7 game at Iowa State, and then after beating Texas were outclassed in Norman by Oklahoma. They beat Texas Tech and Baylor as expected, but then again were no match for Oklahoma in the first Big 12 title game since 2010. The 10-3 record earned them a berth in the Alamo Bowl against Stanford, and they won a 39-37 thriller. It was a solid year, but three losses against ranked teams isn't ideal, and the fact that all three came away from home isn't a good enough excuse if the team wants to be considered elite.
Key Additions and Departures
Three departures on offense stand out most from among those 35 exiting seniors. Quarterback Kenny Hill is gone after a solid senior season at TCU. The team will likely look to sophomore Shawn Robinson, who had one start last year, to take over. That continues a coaching oddity with the team. Offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie is an Air Raid guy who threw the ball like crazy when he was playing for Texas Tech, but his offense has been fairly run-heavy, and Robinson is a guy who has shown much more with his legs than his arm so far. Robinson will be playing behind an offensive line that lost both tackles to the draft. There are questions on the line at every position except for left guard, and while there are some players around there isn't a lot of clarity. This is a real concern.
Matt Boesen and his 11.5 sacks are gone from the defensive line, but talent is still aplenty, and they have a chance - a pretty good one - of being the top line in the conference. Linebacker Travin Howard, who led the team in tackles, was drafted, but the corps still has two senior starters and an intriguing grad transfer - Jawuan Johnson had 98 tackles and five picks for Northern Illinois last year. Depth is solid, too. The front seven for the team is going to be very good. The defensive backfield is a concern in relative terms as only one corner has significant experience, a key safety is gone, and depth isn't ideal.
Biggest Area of Concern
It has to be the offensive line. Any time a team heads into a season with uncertainty at multiple positions up front it has to grab your attention, and TCU heads into fall camp with far more questions than answers. With a new quarterback and a strong running back who needs opportunities, the offensive line is crucially important.
TCU Horned Frogs Schedule Analysis
TCU opens up with what should be easy games against Southern and at SMU. But then things get very real as they travel to Dallas to play Ohio State. A win there would obviously be massive, and conference mates Oklahoma beat them last year, but a loss is the far more likely outcome. Things don't let up as they play at Texas and then against Iowa State the next two weeks. They get a shot at revenge against Texas Tech next and then host Oklahoma in another very tough but important game. Then it's the duo of teams from Kansas, trips to West Virginia and Baylor, and then they finish off by hosting Oklahoma State. It's a tough schedule, and the range of possible records is wide.
2018-19 TCU Horned Frogs Betting Odds and Trends
At +10000 to win the national title at Bovada , the team is far behind the top contenders - as they should be. They are the third choice to win the Big 12 at +650, behind deserving favorites Oklahoma and grossly-overbet Texas. The win total is set at 7.5, with the "over" mildly favored.
2018-19 TCU Horned Frogs Predictions and College Football Picks
This is a tough team to call. They have an absolute floor of five wins but should do solidly better than that. And with the potential for a strong defense they could win in the double digits if the offensive line comes together and Robinson is ready for the spotlight. Until the team plays Ohio State, we will have no way of measuring where they are at. More than most programs, we have to have a wait-and-see approach with the team. I would take the over on the win total if forced to take a stand, but not with a ton of excitement.
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