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College Football 2013: TCU Preview

Posted by Blake Frazier on 7/22/2013 8:29:28 PM

When people in the online sports betting legal realm pore over all the information at their disposal, they will accordingly recalibrate the odds for TCU compared to 2012. Last season, TCU didn’t have luck on its side, but American football betting specialists who are worth their keep will probably say that 2013 sets up as a much more promising campaign for the Horned Frogs.

In 2012, it was easy to not only bet against TCU in games against upper-tier Big 12 Conference opponents, but to bet on the “under” relative to the over-under. Last season, the Frogs lost their starting quarterback after the first month of the season (due to suspension) and saw their top two running backs leave even earlier, during the offseason.  When starting quarterback Casey Pachall left school to deal with personal issues, it put a giant strain on an already shaky Horned Frog offense.  The results in 2012 were mixed, with new quarterback Trevone Boykin showing flashes of brilliance (14 touchdowns), coupled with bouts of ineptitude (nine interceptions and 18 sacks taken) in his seven regular-season starts.  Boykin is more of a dual threat than Pachall was (512 yards rushing and two touchdowns), but he was still very green when it came to the matter of going through his progressions in the passing game.  This limitation caused the TCU offense to stall in losses to Oklahoma State (14 points scored, one interception thrown), Iowa State (23 points, three interceptions), and Kansas State (10 points, one interception). Even in the Frogs’ win against Texas (20 points scored), TCU really couldn't move the ball.  The Horned Frogs lacked a playmaker opposite reliable receiver Josh Boyce (56 catches, 756 yards, seven touchdowns).  This made the team’s passing game predictable and easy to contain with the right scheme. 

Analysts who scrutinized TCU last season knew – and still know – how important Pachall was to this offense. After claiming to have sorted out his personal problems (specifically the abuse of alcohol and his holistic well-being), Pachall is back with the team under the blessing of head coach Gary Patterson. If Pachall is truly a renewed person and player, TCU’s offense – having endured so many problems a year ago – should be in position to rebound in a big way, especially in the passing game.

College football pundits will recognize that while TCU’s offense struggled last year, the defense held up its end of the bargain for the most part, especially when one considers how much the Frogs’ offense put its defense in difficult situations. If there are few things that are consistent in college football, as some say, TCU winning with defense is one of them.  Patterson coaches defense as well as anyone in the country, with the possible exception of Nick Saban at Alabama. The Horned Frogs play in the best offensive league in the nation, the Big 12.  Most commentators don’t think you’d find anyone that would debate that point. Yet, in 2012, for all of their problems on offense, the Frogs fielded a defense that played really well against several opponents. Their defense, at the end of the regular season (not including the team’s bowl game against Michigan State), ranked 17th in total defense (323.9 yards per game), seventh in rushing defense (97.3 yards per game), and accumulated an especially impressive 20 Interceptions.  The Horned Frogs gave up fewer than 100 yards per game on the ground and had three players in their secondary collect at least three interceptions.

TCU is not an elite team, one that’s going to clearly stand out from the crowd in the Big 12. The Frogs, after moving from the Mountain West, have a lot left to prove about their ability to rise to the top of a deeper and more powerful conference, one that produced nine bowl teams last season. However, everyone else in the Big 12 is also riddled with questions and uncertainties. The Big 12 is there for the taking; the upcoming season will be a tested of TCU’s nerves and resilience as much as the team’s quality. The offense’s ability to perform well on the road will probably tell the tale.

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