Horned Frogs still face a long road to finish the season

Kenny Hill and the Horned Frogs have a long way to go for bowl eligibility. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Kenny Hill and the Horned Frogs have a long way to go for bowl eligibility. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

This has not been the season TCU Horned Frogs fans expected, but the remaining schedule provides an opportunity.

TCU Horned Frogs fans didn’t see this coming when the season kicked off. At 4-4 overall and 2-3 in Big XII play, to say the season has been a letdown is an understatement.

Among many experts, a 10-2 finish for the Horned Frogs was pretty much the consensus. Now, their best case scenario is 8-4. From here on out, it won’t be easy, either.

November 5 @ the Baylor Bears

Number 17 Baylor is coming off a difficult loss to an inconsistent Texas Longhorns team. While TCU has exceeded expectations, Baylor has been more of an overachiever. Plus, the argument could be made that Texas was their first real test.

They’ll be at home this week to host the Frogs and would love nothing more than to bounce back. Like TCU, they have something to prove.

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The key matchup in this game will be junior quarterback Kenny Hill against the Bears secondary. In their first seven games, they have yet to allow a 300-yard passer. Texas’s Shane Buechele was the closest last week with 291. If Hill can find a groove, then the Horned Frogs have to like their chances.

November 19 vs. the Oklahoma State Cowboys

Although they’re currently ranked #18, Oklahoma State has had a rough season of their own. Sure, they have two losses but some believe there should only be one after the debacle against Central Michigan. They’re a solid team and will come into Amon G. Carter Stadium as a heavy favorite.

Offensively, TCU and Oklahoma St. are pretty comparable. The Horned Frogs have out-rushed the Cowboys by 30 rushing yards per game while Oklahoma St. has just a seven yards per game passing advantage. But defensively, TCU gets the edge. That’s not the really glaring stat, though.

Believe it or not, the Horned Frogs are 0-5 at home this season. They’d won 13 straight games in Fort Worth coming into the season. For this reason alone, the odds don’t look good.

November 25 @ the Texas Longhorns

A showdown on the day after Thanksgiving with the Texas Longhorns might be the defining game of the year for TCU. Hill and Buechele will go toe-to-toe and match each other punch-for-punch through the air.

On the ground, TCU junior halfback Kyle Hicks and Texas junior D’Onta Foreman can amass quite a few yards, too. The Longhorns have gained more rushing yards on the season, but the Frogs have been more stingy against the run. It’s a push everywhere and will likely come down to special teams and field position. The team left holding the ball at the end of this game will lose.

December 3 vs. the Kansas State Wildcats

The Horned Frogs will close out their 2016 campaign against a Kansas State Wildcats team that boasts an equally solid defense. Where TCU has the advantage is in offensive explosiveness.

Hicks may not be very effective on the ground, but Kenny Hill will test the Kansas St. secondary the same way Texas Tech did on October 8. It could get ugly quickly for the Wildcats, and that’s really what the Frogs will need to do in order to put the Wildcats away. A close game will favor Kansas St.

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While it’s still a longshot, the Horned Frogs could still end the season with a bowl berth. But to do so, they will need at least two wins in the final four games. Taking down either Baylor or Oklahoma State gives them the best odds, but those last two won’t be cake walks. For these reasons, TCU will likely know their fate by the time they kickoff with Kansas State.