Gil LeBreton

TCU faces a long wait for its possible poll redemption

Quarterback Trevone Boykin said TCU will receive the “best swing” from every opponent it plays.
Quarterback Trevone Boykin said TCU will receive the “best swing” from every opponent it plays. TNS

Say hello to Overreaction Week in college football.

You know the routine. (Pick one or all):

Your team is great.

The coach is still an idiot.

You don’t see a team on the schedule capable of beating your team.

Good heavens! We may not win another game!

By the gathering dawn of a 5 a.m. arrival Friday, the TCU Horned Frogs probably had a better view of what happened in Minnesota, too.

It was conspicuously quiet in the corridor outside the TCU locker room Thursday night, after the Frogs had claimed a less-than-stylish 23-17 victory over the Golden Gophers.

It’s the first game of the year. There are going to be a lot of kinks, a lot of missed assignments.

TCU receiver Josh Doctson

What seemed like senior nonchalance after the game by receiver Josh Doctson made far better sense once the weekend’s games were through.

“It’s the first game of the year,” Doctson said. “There are going to be a lot of kinks, a lot of missed assignments. You don’t want it, but we had them. We’re blessed to have a win.

“Hats off to Minnesota. They are an extremely good defense.”

It was a classy assessment, and probably an accurate one.

If, like me, you thought the Frogs would blow up the scoreboard in Minneapolis, simply because they handled the Gophers so relatively easily here last season, you were wrong. Coach Jerry Kill’s team is not the Vanderbilt of the Big Ten.

And that’s where the analysis likely will remain skewed. Minnesota’s next large tests will come in late October, playing Nebraska, Michigan and at Ohio State back-to-back-to-back.

The way TCU’s schedule falls, it may be November before the Frogs can earn a victory that allows them to recoup their national cachet with the poll voters.

If you watched the TCU game and Wisconsin’s modest effort against Alabama, you have to think that the Gophers have a chance to be in the thick of their Big Ten division race.

TCU, on the other hand, also faces a long wait for its possible poll redemption. Who knows what kind of shape the Texas Longhorns will be in when they get to Amon Carter Stadium in four weeks?

The way the Frogs’ schedule falls, it may be November before they can earn a victory that allows them to recoup their national cachet with the poll voters. TCU’s November dance card includes road games at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma and a home finale against Baylor.

That should be more than enough, provided the Frogs take care of business. The fact that they won at Minnesota is still in the bank.

On a muggy night last Thursday near the banks of the Mississippi, however, it was hard to tell where TCU sits.

The Frogs were penalized nine times. The punting game was shaky. Reliable Jaden Oberkrom missed a 29-yard field-goal attempt. Heisman candidate quarterback Trevone Boykin was himself at times, and at other times, merely mortal.

The defense seemed gassed on one Minnesota drive late in the third quarter, and then half-interested on the Gophers’ 91-yard march for their final touchdown.

TCU needs to get healthier on defense, and its young linebackers must continue to mature quickly. Overall, the defense seemed to be doing a lot more thinking than “hunting,” coach Gary Patterson’s term of choice.

Just outside the quiet locker room, Boykin was asked if he would be surprised if the No. 2 Frogs fell in the coming polls.

“Well, yeah, I would,” Boykin said. “You have to think about going on the road and playing a team like Minnesota. We’re going to get everybody’s best swing.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what happened as long as we control our own destiny. We’re 1-0 and move on to next week.”

Spoken like a senior. Leave it to the alumni and us media to overreact.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @gilebreton

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