The argument hasn’t changed; “BCS busters” wouldn’t be able to last in a big boy conference. Some even go as far as saying that they don’t even belong on the same field as teams from the power conferences. This was all Utah heard back in 2009, the year the Utes would beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Boise St. faced a similar situation in 2007, before the famous Statue of Liberty play that sealed a Fiesta Bowl victory against Oklahoma. And one of the newest members of the Big 12, TCU, heard nothing but how Wisconsin was going to overpower their little defensive line in the 2011 Rose Bowl.
Of course as we know, TCU not only held their own, but was able to shut down the Badgers running game on route to a victory.
TCU has been part of a group of teams that has been shunned by many fans from the big conferences, but this season the Horned Frogs will finally be able to have a legit shot at a national championship bid every year.
But how soon can they make a run in the Big 12?
The Frogs have won at least 11 games in six of the last seven seasons, which included six bowl victories and an undefeated season in 2010, capped off with a Rose bowl victory. They also put together one of the best defenses in the nation for three consecutive seasons going into last year.
Gary Patterson is a coach who puts a lot into his defenses, Last season the Frogs had their fair share of issues, but still maintained a tough structure for opposing offenses. Both of their losses last season came to Baylor and SMU, who had field days with the Frogs secondary. If you take a close look at the defense form last year, the secondary wasn’t very experienced. Only two players Greg McCoy and Takerrein Cuba had made previous starts. The Defense had to reload from the loss of key talent from the Rose Bowl team from the year prior and was very young. The Horned Frogs still managed 11 wins.
The emphasis on defense will be no different this season. TCU returns five starters on defense and will need each of them to carry this defense against the high octane offenses in the Big 12. The secondary will be tested every week with five of last season’s top 15 offenses in the country on the 2012 schedule
The frogs can match the offensive fire power in the Big 12. Casey Pachall was a great replacement to Andy Dalton last year. Pachall set school records in passing yards and completions, while producing 25 touchdowns on only seven interceptions.
Pachall is joined by three of the top four receivers from last season, which include Josh Boyce, who can contribute big plays every game. Running Back Ed Wesley can also help this offense produce points in a hurry.
The biggest question mark is on the defensive side of the ball, which could spell trouble in the Frogs first season with the “big boys”. I see this season as a learning curve, but that’s not to say TCU can’t get eight or nine wins.
Zach Pugh Big 12 blogger