In what’s becoming another tradition in college football, the way-too-early Top 25s for next season are already out, mere hours after the national championship game.
More than a dozen sets of rankings are out, and not many include TCU, which wound up 6-7 in 2016 following a 31-23 loss to Georgia in the Liberty Bowl.
But ESPN and the San Jose Mercury News have the Horned Frogs in their Top 25s for next season, banking on coach Gary Patterson’s track record following rare losing seasons in Fort Worth.
Mark Schlabath of ESPN writes that TCU, his No. 19, “might be poised for a big bounce-back next season” thanks to seven returning starters on defense.
And in the Mercury-News, Jon Wilner says don’t count on another “substandard season” from TCU, which he put at No. 20.
Still, the Frogs don’t look like a lock to open 2017 in the rankings when they host Jackson State on Sept. 2. It would be only the third time in the past 12 seasons TCU didn’t open as a ranked team.
But the Big 12, after an encouraging bowl season, figures to have four teams in the preseason Top 25 coaches and AP polls come July and August. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Kansas State all got a lot of early love in the way-too-early rankings from, among others, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, Pro Football Focus, The Sporting News, USA Today, Yahoo Sports and Campus Insiders.
Now, another tradition — waiting for spring football dates to be announced.