Longtime CBS sports announcer Verne Lundquist likes TCU’s chances of making the college football playoffs if they win the Big 12 Championship.
Lundquist will be honored Tuesday in Fort Worth at the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award Gala at the Renaissance Worthington Hotel. A reception is at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7:15.
TCU (7-1) is ranked sixth in the latest College Football Playoff poll. The Horned Frogs host No. 7 Kansas State on Saturday.
“I think if they win the Big 12, they have a heck of a shot at making it. That was a big comeback for them against West Virginia [a 31-30 win]. We were on the air doing Florida-Georgia and at one point, we got an update from the CBS studios in New York and TCU was down 14 I think.
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“To come back on the road and win it with a field goal was very significant. I still don’t know how they lost to Baylor, but that’s a totally different subject.”
Lundquist said he still feels connected to the former Southwest Conference schools.
“I have a great affection for TCU and SMU and the old Southwest schools from my many years in Texas. From a distance, I’m a Horned Frog fan. I love the job that Gary Patterson has done,” Lundquist said.
The Southeastern Conference has two teams in the top 4 (No. 1 Mississippi State and No. 3 Auburn) of the playoff poll and three (No. 5 Alabama) in the top 10. They’re all from the Western Division.
Right now, Lundquist said a case can be made for two SEC West teams getting into the four-team playoff.
“I’ve never seen anything like the SEC West. When the first ranking came out and four of the top five came from the West, that was, to me, extraordinary. We learned last Saturday [Nov. 1], that the SEC East is not at the same level of talent as the SEC West,” Lundquist said. “I do not think three will get in. I can see two. Maybe two from the West. Right now you have Mississippi State, Ole Miss lost a heart-breaker and the tragic way they lost to Auburn Saturday night. Both are excellent teams. Alabama has a chance to run the table and get back in.
“I don’t see anyone from the East, even if they win. Missouri lost to Indiana and got thrashed by Georgia. I don’t see Georgia, Missouri or Florida getting in the playoffs.”
Regardless of which teams qualify for the four-team playoffs, Lundquist said he’s glad the playoff system has arrived.
“I was never a fan of the BCS, but I understood what it meant for college football. I’d be a fan of expanding the playoffs,” Lundquist said. “I think anything that keeps college football on the lips and minds of fans across the country is a good thing. I wish they would expand to eight and I think someday it will.”
Although Lundquist welcomes the playoff system, he wants to keep the bowl games.
“Every former player I have ever worked with or addressed the topic with, loves the bowl games. I never met a college football player who didn’t have a great affection for the experience,” Lundquist said. “I don’t want them to go away. I’ve believed for 25 years that there’s a way to incorporate the bowl system into a playoff and they’re doing that this year, to a degree.”