En route to the worst loss of the Gary Patterson era, TCU awoke in time to defeat Kansas, but the damage was already done long before the game ended.
How you win is often as important as that you win. How TCU defeated Kansas will not be greeted warmly by the people who matter — Condi Rice and her College Football Playoff selection committee buddies.
TCU’s 34-30 win at Kansas is a victory in the Big 12 standings, but it will undoubtedly be a loss in the playoff rankings.
Baylor, here you go. When/if you get to No. 4 in the rankings, don’t blow it. The Bears best not even come close in any remaining game or it’s going to cost them. There is still plenty of time left for the rankings to change, but close vs. Kansas will cost TCU dearly.
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It is not fair, but fairness is only randomly factored in when it comes to a selection committee.
There is only one acceptable way to beat Kansas if you are a top-10 team: complete annihilation. Anything less is not regarded well.
As TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin took a knee to close out the game Saturday, the smattering of fans inside a cold and dark Memorial Stadium mocked TCU with chants of “Overrated! Overrated!”
TCU, a 28-point favorite, needed an interception with 3:26 remaining and a fourth-and-1 conversion later to guarantee a victory against a team that has not had a winning record since 2008.
No one from TCU was acting like they had lost, but no one was being naive. Everybody knows the score and, more specifically, what Saturday’s score will likely do when the new rankings are released Tuesday.
“If we get in, that’s great. If we don’t — it’s not up to us. It’s nothing we can control,” Boykin said. “Only thing we can control is winning games.”
They did, but the game was close for far too long, and there is all but no chance that the Horned Frogs will hold on to their fourth spot in the playoff rankings.
TCU needed to blow out its remaining three opponents to secure that position, and with No. 5 Alabama’s five-point win against No. 1 Mississippi State, it is all but assured that the top four spots will change. No way is Alabama not passing TCU.
I asked coach Gary Patterson to talk media/fans off the ledge from believing this win will ultimately cost TCU.
“It might, but I can’t control any of that. The biggest thing for us is win out, be 11-1 and be co-champion [of the Big 12],” he said. “There is a lot of football left to play with everybody.”
GP admitted that TCU may have been jumped regardless of his team’s outcome in light of Alabama’s win against the nation’s top-ranked team. He’s not wrong.
GP has been here before. In 2010, his No. 3 team beat San Diego State by only five in Fort Worth, which figured to have a disastrous effect on his team’s chances of making the Rose Bowl. His team dropped one spot, but things happened — namely, Boise State lost — and TCU wound up in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.
There is still time, and the way TCU’s game against Kansas evolved, the Horned Frogs are lucky to leave Lawrence with that comfort.
After TCU quickly took a 7-0 lead, Saturday’s game began to feel like “one of those games” where the underdog benefits from a bizarre series of events that ultimately kills the favorite.
Following that opening touchdown, TCU played like a team that wanted desperately to get out of the 25-degree weather. The vast majority of the players stayed on the warm benches until the final stages of the third quarter when the momentum began to change.
“The weather maybe had an effect on us,” said receiver Ty Slanina, whose catch and run on a third-and-20 in the third quarter changed the game.
Maybe? Most of the TCU players looked like they were searching for a burn barrel to stay warm (BTW — not a criticism).
Before that play, TCU was in shock as Kansas continually converted third downs or made a seemingly endless series of bizarre plays to extend drives or score points. This wasn’t Kansas State, which TCU manhandled, but Kansas. KU entered the game with the nation’s 115th most prolific scoring offense.
Eventually, Kansas does as Kansas does against superior opponents — the game is too long to hold the lead, and it folds.
Not that TCU didn’t try everything in its power to hand the Jayhawks a season-making upset, but the Frogs are that much better, have more athletes and made more plays.
The question is with a few weeks remaining in the season, will enough other things happen, and will TCU win out, to re-alter the perception poll that ultimately will decide TCU’s playoff fate?
There are a few upsets left, and coaches will obnoxiously lobby for their inclusion to the final four, so this is not over.
If TCU does win out to finish 11-1 and share the Big 12 title, the season is a smashing success. But right now, in the cruel world of a playoff committee, a four-point win at Kansas feels like a lot of damage.
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