To whoever thought TCU’s run this season was the perfect makings of a “Cinderella Story,” check the clock. It’s long after midnight, 2022 is gone, and the Horned Frogs are alive and kicking.
Not many NCAAF odds experts gave TCU a fighting chance to make it into the CFP, but they did. Afterward, when the time had come to face off against Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl, the story was more of the same. And what happened there?
TCU outlasted the Wolverines by 51-45, in one of the most exciting CFP semifinals in history and proved to everyone that even when being the overwhelming underdogs, there was no stopping the Horned Frogs.
Now, as the Horned Frogs get ready to play for the National Championship against Georgia on Jan 9, entering the game as 13-point underdogs, could we be in for one last feat from Sonny Dykes’ team?
Here are three reasons to believe why TCU could shock the college football world and beat the defending CFP champions Georgia.
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Who Cares If TCU Is Not Football Royalty, The Frogs Can Ball!
When you think about the CFP and the teams that usually take part in the said event the school names that usually come up read as a who’s who of college football royalty. Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan, and LSU amongst other teams have all made appearances, with all of them being touted as some of the most important college football programs in the country.
So where does that put TCU in the conversation? Who cares? Yes, the Horned Frogs might not have a laureated history like those previously mentioned schools. At the end of the day though, when you look at the facts, it’s TCU that’s getting ready to play for the championship against Georgia, not Michigan or Ohio State, two of the winningest programs in the history of the sport.
TCU has had more naysayers than supporters this season, that’s a fact. College football sometimes feels like a sport made for the masses, but only to be truly enjoyed by the certain elite, so what TCU has done, is something worth cheering for. Still, at the end of it all, this season will go down as the best this program has had, potentially being topped off with a national title.
Being Underdogs Throughout the Season Did Nothing to Them
Before the beginning of the 2022 season, nobody gave a penny’s worth of credit or chance to TCU in the season. Not only did the Horned Frogs start the season unranked, but they also didn’t receive a single vote. Throughout the whole season, it seemed as if nobody believed in TCU, even when it was winning games and taking names. Even when having the 32nd most challenging schedule in all of college football this season, it became much easier to thrash the Horned Frogs and their “easy” calendar, than to recognize this team had grit and talent.
If you were to run through TCU’s opponents, you’d see it had quite a lot of work. The Horned Frogs beat both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, as well as Kansas and Kansas State. Add in their wins over Texas Tech, Texas, and Baylor, and what does it all add up to? The fact that TCU knocked down six different ranked schools throughout the season, knocking most of them out of the rankings after their victories.
Yes, they lost the Big 12 Championship game against Kansas State in OT. But they had already proved to everyone that while still being touted as underdogs throughout the season, they were still all about that grind and work.
With nothing left to prove and everything to win, TCU marched on to the Fiesta Bowl, where even while being a 7.5-point underdog, they not only beat Michigan, but they did it dominantly. Not only did the Horned Frogs never trail the Wolverines in the game, but they also put Michigan through the wringer, making the Wolverines regret every mistake and turnover.
So yes, being an underdog might not always be the best scenario to be dealing with, especially when playing pivotal games such as the upcoming CFP title game against the Bulldogs. But there’s something about TCU and being the toughest underdogs in the game that makes it feel as if they couldn’t care less.
Duggan, Horton, Johnston, and Miller Deserve the Win
Max Duggan, Kendre Miller, Quentin Johnston, and Dylan Horton. Those are the hearts and souls of this TCU team. While they might not be eclipsing talents in their own rights, they have put in enough work this season to not only lead their team to the CFP title game but also to elevate their stock for when the NFL draft comes along.
With TCU riding into the last chapter of its best story, it’s only right that these players get a chance to win the CFP title before heading to the pros.
Starting with Duggan, while his performance at the Fiesta Bowl was nowhere close to being his best in the season, the man still got the job done. Still, throughout the year, Duggan became the captain this team needed to guide it.
Even when the team seemed in a rut that felt impossible to get out of, Duggan still found ways to dig TCU out and lead it to victories. He is the best example of what grinding to win looks like, and it all adds up to becoming a perfect explanation as to why he ended up raking as many Heisman votes as he did.
Miller, with his 1,399 rushing yards and 17 TDs in the season showed what a future NFL running back looks like. Even after falling injured in the second half of the Fiesta Bowl, Miller has been the other backbone of TCU’s offense.
With Miller on the field, sharing reps with Emari Demercado, Georgia’s defense will have to play its best football to try and stop them. While his status for the game is still uncertain, if Miller can suit up, the Bulldogs should get ready for what’s coming to them.
But what’s a great offense without a stellar receiver? Enter Johnston. Johnston is the kind of receiver you always want to have when playing deep-ball routes. Need any proof? Just look back on his performance against Michigan, with six catches for 163 yards and a touchdown. Netting 1,066 receiving yards this season, with six touchdowns, Johnston has worked out great playing the part of Duggan’s favorite passing weapon.
Lastly, on defense, all rise and give some credit to Horton. TCU’s defensive leader is a stud, a beast, and everything in between. With 10 sacks and 16 tackles for a loss, the senior put on a show against Michigan, sacking J.J. McCarthy four times. When thinking of how to stop Georgia’s offense, having a player like Horton is a plus that TCU should be thankful to have.