TCU Betting Odds Preview
The Horned Frogs dominated the Mountain West for seven seasons, winning 77 games, four conference titles, going undefeated once and making a couple of other runs at perfection.
But they've found the going a little tougher in the Big 12, as one might expect, and last year fell to their worst record in a decade and a half, going 4-8 both SU and ATS. But don't believe this is the decline of a program, because it's not. This season TCU brings back a ton of experience and talent, especially on defense, and aims to make a run at its first Big 12 title.
TCU opened last season 3-3, with losses to LSU, Texas Tech and Oklahoma, but lost five of its last six games, to the likes of Oklahoma State, Texas, Kansas State and Baylor to finish with the program's first losing record since 2004. But in going 4-8 the Frogs were outscored by just two points on the season, and out-gained by just 11 yards per game. With just a little luck TCU could easily have been bowl-eligible last season.
The Frogs are now 6-12 both SU and ATS in two seasons of Big 12 play.
This year Texas Christian return 16 starters, second-most in the conference. Eight starters are back on offense, including last year's top two rushers, top two receivers and three along the offensive line; and eight starters return on defense, including three along what should be one of the best front fours in the country and all three on a great set of linebackers.
TCU allowed 25 points per game last year; that figure should improve this season.
The Frogs begin this season with three very winnable games, and from there host Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas State, and play at Baylor, West Virginia and Texas. Certainly no walk in the park, but having five Big 12 home games helps, and they should be able to go 3-2 on the road.
TCU lost a bunch of tough games last year, and that kind of trend tends to balance out over the course of a season or two. With all the returning talent, the Frogs are excellent candidates for a bounce-back season this year.
Big 12 Championship Odds at Bovada as of August 5
Kansas State 10/1
Oklahoma State 10/1
Texas Tech 20/1
West Virginia 66/1
Iowa State 100/1
The TCU Horned Frogs struggled in their first year in the Big 12, going just 4-5 SU and 3-6 ATS in conference play. A slew of injuries and suspensions to key players led to the downswing in 2012 more than the conference change did, and TCU will look to prove it belongs this season.
TCU had a streak of three straight seasons of 11 or more wins snapped last year, and many claimed that it was due to the switch to a BCS conference. While Big 12 competition is undoubtedly superior to that in the Mountain West, TCU is good enough to hang. Losing starting RB Waymon James to injury and a bunch of players via suspension, including QB Casey Pachall, was the real issue.
Pachall returns after missing most of the season due to a DWI arrest and rehab process. The quarterback projects out to be an NFL-level prospect, and appears focused and ready to make the most of his second chance in 2013. If for some reason he falters, QB Trevone Boykin should be ready to step in again like he did last year. Waymon James also returns and should give a boost to the running game.
What separates TCU from its Big 12 rivals is the defense. The Horned Frogs finished last season with the best total defense and best rushing defense in the Big 12. Virtually everyone returns on this side of the ball (including the entire secondary), and head coach Gary Patterson now has a year of Big 12 play under his belt. There is a good chance the defense will be even better this season.
A tough schedule and concerns around Pachall prevent TCU from being a favorite to win the Big 12. But the team should do much better than last year’s 4-5 SU and 3-6 ATS marks in conference play, and if Pachall does bounce back and play to his potential, this team does have a shot to be in the running.
Big 12 Conference Odds at 5Dimes as of August 10
Oklahoma State +260
Kansas State +1600
Texas Tech +2500
West Virginia +2500
Iowa State +4500