Throughout August, we will be counting down the top 25 teams (as listed here) going into the 2009 season. Today we strap on our spurs and travel to Forth Worth, TX to talk about a college that may or may not have actual horned frogs roaming the premises, but whose website definitely has a picture of a cheerleader that looks like the chick from The Bachelorette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Impressions

Oh, how quickly we forget TCU‘s 17-16 victory in the revered Poinsettia Bowl over Boise State last year — you know, the game that had an over/under line somewhere north of John Daly’s weight.  It’s not easy being a non-BCS team in today’s world, especially when you post an 11-2 season and end up playing in the FREAKING POINSETTIA BOWL.  Not cool.

The Horned Frogs will have their work cut out for them if they hope to match last season’s success.  Can TCU effectively replace the loss of 13 starters?  Even if it can, a road schedule featuring Virginia, Clemson and BYU will be extremely challenging.  That said, TCU’s defense has been absolutely stifling over the last decade; if the trend continues in 2009, there’s no reason to think that the Frogs can’t compete in a big way despite some question marks on the offensive and defensive lines.

Regardless of how TCU’s 2009 season ends, the Horned Frogs deserve an awful lot of respect for the way they have battled over the last decade.  They’re tough to root against.

Last Year

TCU’s only two losses came on the road at Oklahoma (35-10) and Utah (13-10).  That’s it.  Actually, if it weren’t for an improbable Utah drive in the waning minutes of last year’s game, the Horned Frogs would’ve been 12-1.  Otherwise, with the exception of a close win against Colorado State, TCU’s victory margin in every other game was no less than 23 points.

Technically, TCU fell short in its quest to join the ranks of other elite non-BCS teams; however, you could argue that they’re already there.

People

TCU loses 13 starters from 2008, so understandably, there are major questions about replacing significant losses, especially on both the offensive and defensive lines.  But there is much firepower returning.  Standout defensive end Jerry Hughes will be back wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks again, building on his NCAA-leading sack total.  Junior QB Andy Dalton will have reliable targets in Jimmy Young and Jeremy Kerley.  And, in a weird mix of USC football with Major League Baseball, TCU could have a full, five-man rotation at RB with Ryan Christian, Joseph Turner, Chris Smith, Jai Caveness, and Edward Wesley. Senior tackle Marshall Newhouse will be bashing heads up front.  Coach Gary Patterson will have his work cut out for him.

Conclusion

There aren’t more than two losses on TCU’s schedule in 2009, so, as a baseline, you should be thinking of a 10-2 season.  The only real question is whether Patterson can inject new blood into the lineup and get the same production as last season.  While this team has the talent to go 12-0, chances are on a road loss at Clemson or BYU.  In one man’s opinion, the Clemson game will be the Horned Frog’s only loss.

Prediction

11-1

Highlights Set To Unfortunate Music

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8OuXa_xd0Y

–Ty