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Monday, 13 April 2015

TCU Football: 5 Biggest Questions Heading Into 2015

Last season the TCU Horned Frogs surprised the entire nation when they finished the season with an 11-1 regular season record. They also completely embarrassed No.9 Ole Miss in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl 42-3 after being snubbed for a chance to play for a National Championship.

Before the season started TCU was picked by many to finish in last or close to last place in the Big 12 Conference. It seems like that negativity was all it took to fuel the Horned Frogs throughout the season.

The negative press TCU received before the season fueled the passion in head coach Gary Patterson to the point that he went silent after the selection committee snubbed his team when they picked the four teams in the first season of the College Football Playoffs. Patterson finally broke that silence this past week saying that he feels that his team was left out of the playoffs because the lack of a championship game in the Big 12 Conference.

The Big 12 is the only conference out of the five major conferences that did not have a championship game right before the selection committee made their picks the the playoffs. The Big 12 turned out to be the only major conference to not put a team in the playoffs.

In all honesty Patterson can point the finger at whoever he wants. The truth of the matter is that if his team would have played defense when they had a 21 point lead on Baylor, Patterson would not be bitter about the conference not having a playoff game.

If the Horned Frogs would have put Baylor away instead of letting them steal the game, they would have been automatic for one of the playoff spots. Even if the Big 12 is not considered one of the strongest conferences in the country, it’s still hard to deny an undefeated team that played the schedule that TCU did a chance to play for all for all of the marbles.

The Baylor game was not the only time during the season the Horned Frogs defense struggled. TCU allowed at least 30 points in three other games besides the 58 that Baylor put on them. The Horned Frog defense even allowed at least 20 points twice. Luckily for Patterson his team got it together at the end of the season and only allowed 16 points total over the course of their last three games.

Things could have been a lot worse for the Horned Frogs defense. This is a team that saw their best defensive player kicked off the team before the season started. That was one of the reasons a lot of the experts picked them to have such a poor record.

Losing defensive end DeVonte Fields was not the only thing TCU had to overcome last season. They also saw quarterback Trevone Boykin step up and take over an offense that was looking at rotating snap callers before the season started. They even had former Texas A&M quarterback Matt Joeckel transfer in to compete for the starting job. That turned out to be a huge mistake by Joeckel.

Boykin turned out to be a huge part of the success of the Horned Frogs last season. In Boykin’s third season he completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 3,901 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He also had 152 rushing attempts for 707 yards and eight more touchdowns. Numbers that were good enough to get Boykin plenty of recognition. Boykin was even in the running for the Heisman Trophy but failed to snatch college football’s most prestigious individual award.

With the surprising season that TCU had they have left a lot of unanswered questions heading into the 2015 season.

The biggest question of them all is, will Boykin be better than he was last season or will he suffer a setback?

Boykin is currently rehabbing from surgery he had on his wrist on his non-throwing arm. Supposedly the injury happened early last season and Boykin played all season in pain and discomfort. If he played as well as he did with an injury, there is no telling how well Boykin will perform when he is 100 percent healthy and not worrying about taking the wrong hit.

Will the TCU defense step up and play during the 2015 season like they finished the 2014 season, or will their games come down to shootouts once again?

The Horned Frogs once again face losing their best defensive player but this time it’s to the draft instead of for bad behavior. Outside linebacker P.J Dawson led the Horned Frogs during the 2014 seasons with 135 total tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles, four interceptions, and one touchdowns.

Dawson is not the only defensive player TCU is losing to the draft. Linebacker Jonathan Anderson, safety Sam Carter, safety Chris Hackett, defensive tackle Chucky Hunter, and cornerback Kevin White will also be on the draft board at the end of the month.

Will losing offensive tackle Tayo Fabuluje and running back B.J. Catalon affect the Horned Frogs explosive offense?

Fabuluje was another player that surprised the nation during the 2014 season. Fabuluje played in all 12 games last season after not even playing a single down during the 2013 season. He was also a huge reason TCU was able to rack up 6,929 yards of total offense last season.

Catalon also showed that he can be dangerous when he touches the ball. Catalon finished third on the team in rushing during the 2014 season with 98 touches for 493 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also had 14 receptions out of the backfield for 163 yards and one touchdown.

Will any players in the incoming class make an immediate impact for the Horned Frogs?

Cornerback Deshawn Raymond, linebacker Alec Dunham, and linebacker Mike Freeze have already enrolled in school and should see their share of playing time this upcoming season. Offensive tackle Sam Awolope should also he a heavy amount of offensive snaps once he gets the playbook down.

Other than Awolope, Dunham, Raymond, and Freeze, the Horned Frogs also have 17 other players that will be looking for playing time or a redshirt. When they finally got all their players signed, TCU had the 41st ranked freshman class in the nation according to CBS Sports.

WILL TCU finally earn the respect they deserve?

Last season the Horned Frogs were snubbed by the selection committee. With the amount of hell that was raised and the beating the Frogs put on Ole Miss, they should not be overlooked at the end of the 2015 season if they have the same amount of success this next season.

The only thing that could hurt TCU next season is a soft non-conference schedule. TCU plays SMU, Stephen F. Austin, and Minnesota next season before they get into Big 12 play.

The good thing is TCU plays Baylor at home to end the season. That could turn out to be almost as good as a conference championship game if it goes anything like last seasons meeting did.

If the Horned Frogs run the table and knock Baylor off to end the season they will be guaranteed a trip to the playoffs next January. For all we know TCU could be the one delivering the next National Championship to the great state of Texas. They are my preseason pick to win it all next season.


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