From 2016 to 2020, TCU has had the third-ranked recruiting class in the Big 12 behind Texas and Oklahoma. Their 2020 class was ranked number 23 in the country. The Horned Frogs are underperforming their recruiting ratings, not finishing higher than fifth in the Big 12 Conference since 2017. Is this the year TCU makes a push towards the top of the Big 12 and competes for the league championship?
TCU returns junior quarterback Max Duggan, an experienced backfield and receiving corps, and three returning starters on the offensive line. They lost some players on defense but have some key returning players and transfers and hope to have one of the best defenses in the league yet again.
Vegas has set the TCU over/under at 7.5. Let’s take a closer look at the schedule and see how achievable this is for Gary Patterson’s crew.
September 4 vs. Duquesne
Duquesne is an FCS team that plays in the Northeast Conference. They made their conference championship game in the spring, so they’re not a bad team by any means. That said, I expect TCU to take care of business at home.
September 11 vs. California
California is picked to finish third in the Pac 12 North Division this season as they return a lot of experience on both sides of the ball. I think this game will be competitive, but I give the slight edge to TCU.
September 25 vs. SMU
SMU head coach Sonny Dykes hired Jim Leavitt to come in and run the SMU defense this season and expectations are high. They are picked to finish near the top of the AAC. It won’t be an easy game for TCU, but they should get the win.
October 2 vs. Texas
TCU gets Texas at home to open the Big 12 conference schedule. I give TCU the edge because they have an established coaching staff and system and will be playing against Steve Sarkisian, a first-year head coach implementing his system(s).
October 9 at Texas Tech
TCU beat Texas Tech pretty handily in 2020. I have no reason to think they won’t beat Tech in Lubbock this season.
October 16 at Oklahoma
TCU could be 5-0 when they travel to Norman to play Oklahoma. This game will likely be a loss, but it could be interesting.
October 23 vs. West Virginia
I predict this will be a close game between two of the best defenses in the Big 12. West Virginia beat TCU in Morgantown last season, but TCU has the advantage playing at home. I think they’ll get their revenge.
October 30 at Kansas State
Chris Klieman has beaten TCU by a touchdown both times his teams have played them. Assuming K-State remains healthy, especially at quarterback, I give them the slight edge.
November 6 vs. Baylor
Baylor has a lot of question marks coming into this season. TCU is more experienced. This one is at home, so I think TCU takes care of business.
November 13 at Oklahoma State
I believe Oklahoma State and TCU will battle for third place in the conference and this game may decide who finishes in that spot. Assuming everyone on the Oklahoma State roster stays healthy, they’ll have the weapons to compete for the conference championship. I’m going with the Cowboys in this one.
November 20 vs. Kansas
TCU beat Kansas by 37 points in 2019 and 36 points last season. At this point, there’s no reason to think the 2021 match-up between these two teams will be much different.
November 26 at Iowa State
TCU played the Cyclones tough last season, losing 37-34 in Fort Worth. I’m going with Iowa State in this game. Not only are they at home, but they have one of the best teams in the Big 12 coming into the season. TCU’s defense will keep them in it for a while, but Iowa State wins it in the end.
Season Prediction: 8-4.
Best Case: 10-2. I can see them getting the K-State and Oklahoma State games and getting to 10-2.
Worst Case: 5-7. They may lose to either Cal or SMU, Texas and West Virginia, but I think five wins is a lock.
The bet: Vegas is about right on the 7.5 over/under. If you bet the over, I think you’ll be sweating it right up until the last couple of games.