Texas and TCU tilt carries huge implications

Friday's matchup between the Texas Longhorns and TCU Horned Frogs carries big implications for both teams. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Friday's matchup between the Texas Longhorns and TCU Horned Frogs carries big implications for both teams. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports /

The TCU Horned Frogs travel to Austin Friday afternoon to face the Texas Longhorns in one of the Big XII’s biggest matchups of the season.

Friday’s game between the Texas Longhorns and TCU Horned Frogs has plenty on the line for both teams. While the Longhorns and Horned Frogs each entered the season with expectations larger than what’s been accomplished, they each have a chance at some consolation.

The Texas Longhorns point of view

For Texas, it’s been widely publicized what this week can mean. One moment, Head Coach Charlie Strong was being fired, then the next moment he was “a dead man walking.” But as it stands now, it appears the job is still in limbo and will be addressed at the end of the season.

Rumors also surfaced later that Texas players were threatening to boycott Friday’s game in response to his firing. The Longhorns locker room clearly loves and supports him and the threat might have been what saved his job for at least another week.

If Texas falters, it likely signals the end of the line for Coach Strong. His win-loss record of 16-20 certainly doesn’t help his case for sticking around, nor does his handling of the offensive game plan.

Meanwhile, a victory could do wonders for the Longhorns and their fans. It would mark the team’s sixth victory this season and would likely ensure a bowl game invitation. Simply making a bowl would still come up below the preseason expectations, but it would still be a step forward from last season.

For Strong, this game feels like a playoff game six where he trails the series three games to two. He needs a win just to stay alive and then one more in a bowl game to at least get something done.

The TCU Horned Frogs point of view

This isn’t the first season at the TCU helm for Head Coach Gary Patterson. With a career record of 148-52, a loss to Texas wouldn’t even come close to signaling anything drastic for him. He’s done amazing things for the Frogs, and he will likely do more in the future. Coach Patterson is TCU football. That’s why this win isn’t as big of a deal for him as it is the program as a whole.

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There was a time not that long ago that the Longhorns were the team to beat in the state of Texas, if not the nation. They represented all that was college football in the Lone Star State. Each Texas team looked for and dreamed of ways to take them down. Now, they’re just another program. Albeit, another program with four National Championships and 32 Conference Championships.

That’s why it would look a whole lot better for TCU to go ahead and take down the Longhorns. For TCU, the damage from a loss would exceed the benefit of a win. That’s why they must win Friday afternoon.

It would also clinch bowl eligibility for the third season in a row for the Horned Frogs. With a game against the Kansas State Wildcats looming next, it even sets up the possibility of a 7-5 finish to the regular season, which seemed so far away after back-to-back losses to West Virginia and Texas Tech.

The outsider’s point of view

This game symbolizes the beauty of college football. A .500 finish and a bowl game can salvage what may seem like a lost season to other schools. In the scenario that Texas wins, then TCU still has a shot next week against Kansas State. But for the Longhorns, this is it.

For the Longhorns, there is no margin for error the rest of the way. The players put necks on the line, themselves and it’s now up to them to prove their own point. That’s why it should be expected to see them come out motivated, focuses and determined against the Horned Frogs.

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For fans of Texas college football, this is must-watch television. Will Strong keep his job and force TCU to beat Kansas State? Will the Horned Frogs put a bow on Charlie Strong’s career with the Longhorns? Tune in Friday at 2:30 CST to find out.