ESPN praises the Horned Frogs for having a “hard-nosed defense in an offense-first league,” pointing to what should be a standout defensive line with Ben Banogu and Ross Blacklock.
Offensively, TCU is more of an unknown with Shawn Robinson expected to take over at quarterback and the line in makeover mode.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
But, for a team that went to the Big 12 title game and finished No. 9 in the country a season ago, it’s fair to wonder if the Horned Frogs are getting the proper respect nationally.
One person who isn’t overly concerned about it is coach Gary Patterson. Patterson would rather have his team start the season unranked and prove doubters wrong, than try and prove people right.
But TCU is expected to be in the mix for the Big 12 championship once again.
Other Big 12 teams cracking ESPN’s rankings –
Oklahoma (No. 7): The Sooners are the odds-on favorite to win the conference title again even with the departure of Heisman winner Baker Mayfield. Says ESPN: “Kyler Murray will attempt to adequately succeed Baker Mayfield, one of the greatest players in Oklahoma’s storied history. Murray might not be Mayfield, but he still has the talent to quarterback the Sooners to the CFP for the third time in four years.”
West Virginia (No. 20): It wouldn’t surprise many if the Mountaineers rise even higher behind quarterback Will Grier and several offensive playmakers. As ESPN puts it, the question is “if the Mountaineers get enough defense -- and that’s a big “if” -- they could challenge Oklahoma for Big 12 supremacy.”
Texas (No. 22): The Longhorns are hoping to take a step forward in Tom Herman’s second season. As ESPN wrote, “The last time Texas was relevant nationally was 2009, when Heisman finalist Colt McCoy was behind center. The Longhorns’ path back to relevancy hinges on what happens at quarterback, more specifically promising sophomore Sam Ehlinger.”