Mac Engel

TCU sees its future in rout against Sooners

Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown’s third-quarter touchdown catch put the Sooners ahead by 21 points in Saturday’s Big 12 championship game. OU won 41-17.
Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown’s third-quarter touchdown catch put the Sooners ahead by 21 points in Saturday’s Big 12 championship game. OU won 41-17. rmallison@star-telegram.com

The sequel to Frogs v. Boomer was briefly a significant upgrade over Part I, but in the end it didn’t look much different than the original.

No. 3 Oklahoma’s 41-17 win over No. 11 TCU was just another good ol’ fanny kicking by the Sooners and their crotch-grabbing, Heisman Trophy-worthy quarterback.

TCU head coach Gary Patterson and the three players he allowed to be interviewed — quarterback Kenny Hill, receiver John Diarse, and linebacker Travin Howard — each wore the expression of men who knew they just had it handed to them. When the same team beats you by the combined score of 79-37 in two games in less than a month, there isn’t much to be said when a scoreboard says virtually everything.

TCU’s two losses to Oklahoma can’t be pinned to a missed holding call ... or two, or a defensive breakdown ... or five. The Sooners are a great team, on a great run, that just abused another good opponent.

Saturday was TCU’s second chance to prove that its performance against the Sooners on Nov. 11 was not an accurate reflection of the two teams. Turns out, TCU at Oklahoma in Norman on Nov. 11 was an error-free portrayal of both.

Other than for a short time in Saturday’s second quarter when TCU re-entered the game, the gap between Oklahoma and TCU – and the rest of the Big 12 – proved too big. The Frogs have their future cut out, and that future is Oklahoma.

“Everybody has had their shots. You gotta understand that there are some people that believe — you gotta get to where you believe you can play on that level every day,” GP said when I asked him what his team, or any Big 12 member, needs to do to catch the Sooners. “That’s what I told them. Any conference we have been in, our goal was to set our standard to the teams that won.

“So for us our standard of where we need to get to and what we need to do recruiting wise, scheme wise, coaching wise, player wise is Oklahoma.”

TCU coach Gary Patterson speaks postgame about OU quarterback Baker Mayfield in the Big 12 championship game.

The Sooners have won 11 of 22 Big 12 titles; the next closest is Texas, which has three.

On GP’s pyramid of achievement: To beat the Sooners would mean to be at the top.

TCU has accomplished so much, but today it is not close to the Sooners.

Since entering the Big 12 in 2012, TCU has done everything but demonstrate it is on the same plane as OU. Because it isn’t.

The Horned Frogs have beat up Texas, defeated T. Boone State, and handled the rest of the league on multiple occasions. TCU’s conference record of 26-10 over the last four years in the Big 12 is second in the league behind ... (the answer isn’t Kansas).

TCU has managed to play OU close, usually, but it is 1-6 against the Sooners in the league.

Like you, as a Texan I am sick and disgusted by the Sooners but they are the best team in the Big 12 by a wide margin. The Sooners will represent this beleaguered conference well in the BcS Plus 2.

In order to beat Oklahoma, and thus earn a spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl, TCU was going to have to play a nearly flawless game, or at least as well as it played in the win at Oklahoma State on Sept. 23.

Those hopes were trashed when TCU running back Kyle Hicks’ fumble on his team’s first offensive play was scooped up for a Sooners’ touchdown, and a 10-0 hole.

In fairness to Hicks, both he and his teammates simply aren’t as good as this particular opponent. Even had Hicks and his teammates not made a handful of unforced errors, the score would have been closer, but the outcome the same.

They know that, too.

OU’s Baker Mayfield is deservedly going to win the Heisman Trophy, and he is one of those college quarterbacks who is not only good but surrounded by so many quality players he’s too hard to beat without some luck.

Typical of great players, he made his 243 passing yards and four touchdowns against TCU look boring, and easy.

OU is just too much for TCU.

The loss on Saturday does not ruin TCU’s season, it lets them know there is a higher standard in college football.

“We had a great season,” Hill said.

He’s right.

Back on Sept. 1, every TCU fan, player and coach would have gladly taken this season. TCU started the season picked to finish fifth in the Big 12, but ended up winning 10 games and earning a spot in the Big 12 title game. The Horned Frogs hosted a Game Day, they defeated a handful of ranked opponents, and briefly were in the discussion for the playoffs.

Most teams would cheat their butts off for this type of a season.

Barring a phone call or two from The Almighty, TCU will not be invited to a New Year’s Six bowl game. The Frogs will likely be going back to the Riverwalk to play in the Alamo Bowl against a Pac-12 opponent — think Stanford — in San Antonio.

The ending is not what TCU wanted, but the Frogs earned it. All of it. The good, down to the bad, specifically the two Boomer beat downs.

There is another level, and that level is Oklahoma. The scoreboard says as much.

Mac Engel: @macengelprof

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