College Confidential

TCU, Baylor considered CFP title contenders by ESPN

TCU head football coach Gary Patterson shows off their victory trophy from the Peach Bowl in January at the Wilkerson Greines Activity Center.
TCU head football coach Gary Patterson shows off their victory trophy from the Peach Bowl in January at the Wilkerson Greines Activity Center. Special to the Star-Telegram

The final spring football games are in the books for the nation’s FBS teams and ESPN remains sold on the playoff potential of TCU and Baylor, the defending Big 12 co-champions, heading into the 2015 season. Both schools narrowly missed out on last year’s College Football Playoff bracket.

No. 2 TCU and No. 6 Baylor join top-ranked Ohio State, the defending national champion, on ESPN’s latest way-too-early set of Top 25 college football rankings as probable playoff contenders. But no other school from the Lone Star State cracks the post-spring Top 25 selected by ESPN college football reporter Mark Schlabach. Neither does Oklahoma or Oklahoma State.

That represents a unique post-spring vantage point for several high-profile programs, including Texas and Texas A&M. The only thing that matters, of course, is how everyone plays next fall.

But for now, here is how ESPN’s stacks up the nation’s top 10 teams at the conclusion of spring drills: Ohio State, TCU, Oregon, Auburn, Southern California, Baylor, Alabama, Michigan State, Georgia and Clemson.

Regarding TCU, Schlabach says quarterback Trevone Boykin "might be the country’s best player" and that coach Gary Patterson’s teams, despite a rebuilding job on defense, "always seem to get the job done on that side of the ball."

He also extols the virtues of Baylor’s returning offensive nucleus: all five starters in the offensive line, two 1,000-yard receivers (KD Cannon, Corey Coleman) and a 1,200-yard rusher (Shock Linwood) to surround new quarterback Seth Russell, a fourth-year junior who has been Bryce Petty’s backup the past two years. Sclabach said Baylor coach Art Briles "plugs quarterbacks into his system better than anyone."

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch

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