We are a few weeks away from the first College Football Playoff rankings, and the fourth-ranked team in the AP poll has been all but eliminated.
Tough break for 6-0 TCU, which as a result of this unfortunate distinction must now prepare to play in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. Think of the swag for that game — spark plugs and a riding lawn mower.
TCU has moved up to No. 4 in the AP poll and is one of six Power 5 teams to be undefeated. And it gets zero love.
After Oklahoma defeated Texas on Saturday in the Red River Don’t-Call-It-A-Shootout at the now-domed Cotton Bowl, a headline in The Dallas Morning News atop columnist Kevin Sherrington’s column from the game read, “The Sooners kept the Big 12’s CFP hopes alive by defeating Longhorns in epic fashion.”
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We here in Fort Worth needed yet another reason to hate Dallas.
Don’t blame Sherrington for this one. After reading the column twice, it’s fairly obvious he did not write the headline.
The headline in The Dallas Morning News may not have been a deliberate shot, but it reflects how a lot of people regard the Horned Frogs, which are still the little sisters of the poor and nothing more than annoying cockroaches.
If you ever wondered why TCU coach Gary Patterson can sometimes sound a little defeatist in his rhetoric and wears his “Underdog Badge” like an Eagle Scout, this is just one example.
The implication of the headline is that the only/best chance for the Big 12 to land a team in the BCS Plus 2 playoff format is Oklahoma and only Oklahoma. Read the column and you will see that’s not what Sherrington is saying.
The headline, however, illustrates an annual issue and problem for TCU. The line supports the fan base’s “poor me” syndrome. It is the only time when the words “poor” and “TCU” should be used in the same sentence.
Despite its success, TCU is routinely dismissed and minimized because of its size and name.
TCU spent a fortune, fought like hell, won countless games, and climbed from the WAC, to C-USA, to the MWC, to the Big East to land a spot in the Big 12 only to learn it’s still in the Mountain West Conference.
Headlines like these support the fear among TCU fans that the Horned Frogs could go undefeated and still be left out of the playoffs.
The fear is not invalid but I don’t believe that would happen. If TCU can somehow run the table by beating Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Baylor and win the Big 12 title game, the Horned Frogs will be in the playoffs.
Anything short of that will not do it.
TCU can win the regular season undefeated, but lose in the Big 12 title game and not make the playoffs. TCU can finish second in the conference, but win the Big 12 title game, and not make the playoffs.
TCU looks like the best of the Big 12, but it has yet to win a game this season when it has been bad, which is essential for any team that goes undefeated.
The Frogs have been as good as any team in the nation not named Alabama. They deserve the respect, but by now they know it’s not coming.
Not unless they are perfect.
Mac Engel: @macengelprof