Sure, it’s just July. But it’s never too early to talk college football. Here’s your daily fix — our eighth annual countdown of the preseason Top 25, as selected by the American-Statesman sports staff. Last season’s four College Football Playoff semifinalists were rated Nos. 3, 6, 13 and 24 on our 2015 list.
Today’s team: No. 13 TCU
The Horned Frogs will contend if … they find a quarterback to run the uptempo offense that defensive-oriented Gary Patterson embraced in 2014, along with a go-to receiver and a consistent runner — Trevone Boykin, Josh Doctson and Aaron Green have taken their talents to the NFL. TCU also must try to be successful with young players; there are only seven scholarship seniors on the roster.
INSIDE THE HORNED FROGS
Coach: Gary Patterson (17th year, 143-47 overall)
2015: 11-2, 7-2 in the Big 12; beat Oregon in the Alamo Bowl, 47-41
Returning starters: 5 offense, 7 defense
The key game: Oct. 1 Oklahoma, Fort Worth
Hello: QB Kenny Hill, QB, RB Kyle Hicks, WR KaVontae Turpin, DL Josh Carraway, DL James McFarland, LB Ty Summers, CB Ranthany Texada
Goodbye: QB Trevone Boykin (Seattle Seahawks), WR Josh Doctson (Washington Redskins), RB Aaron Green (Los Angeles Rams)
Spring cleaning: TCU has lost only three games in two seasons, so it’s a given that other schools may want to poach members of Patterson’s coaching staff. But Patterson was able to retain all nine guys on his staff. Texas really wanted Sonny Cumbie, TCU’s young offensive co-coordinator. And Texas A&M tested the interest of Doug Meacham, who coordinates the offense with Cumbie.
Passing: Foster Sawyer, 11-27-155 yards, 2/3 (3rd)
Rushing: Kyle Hicks, 55-262-3 (3rd); Trevorris Johnson, 43-262-0 (4th)
Receiving: WR KaVontae Turpin, 45-649-8 (2nd); RB Shaun Nixon, 47-501-1 (4th)
Tackles: LB Travin Howard, 105 (1st)
Sacks: DE Josh Carraway, 9 (1st)
RETURNING ALL CONFERENCE (5)
Offense: WR KaVontae Turpin (honorable mention)
Defense: DE Josh Carraway (1st team), LB Travin Howard (honorable mention), S Denzel Johnson (honorable mention), LB Ty Summers (honorable mention)
- Patterson won’t offer any hints on who might be his starter at quarterback. It’ll either be Kenny Hill (the Texas A&M transfer) or Foster Sawyer. Patterson is going to stick with the same plan that produced Trevone Boykin over Matt Joeckel (also an Aggies transfer) — he’ll look to see how each of his current options handles August scrimmages.
- TCU’s depth at tailback took a big hit this summer weeks before preseason practice started. Shaun Nixon, the former Lake Travis High star, is out for the season with an undisclosed injury. Kyle Hicks is the favorite for the starting job. And maybe Michigan transfer Derrick Green, a one-time five-star prospect, can get some reps.
- The Frogs are more than happy to welcome back cornerback Randall Texada and defensive end James McFarland. Texada, TCU’s best defensive back, missed all but three games a year ago. McFarland was the defensive MVP of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in 2014, but missed all of last season with an injury.
TCU's 2016 schedule
|Date||Opponent||Last yr's result (if played)|
|Sept. 3||South Dakota State|
|Sept. 17||Iowa State*||W, 45-21|
|Sept. 23||at SMU||W, 56-37|
|Oct. 1||Oklahoma*||L, 30-29|
|Oct. 8||at Kansas*||W, 23-17|
|Oct. 22||at West Virginia*||W, 40-10|
|Oct. 29||Texas Tech*||W, 55-52|
|Nov. 5||at Baylor*||W, 28-21|
|Nov. 19||Oklahoma State*||L, 49-29|
|Nov. 25||at Texas*||W, 50-7|
|Dec. 3||Kansas State*||W, 52-45|
|* Big 12 game|
TCU: The last 5 years
|2015||11-2 / 7-2||2nd / 7th||Alamo Bowl, W|
|2014||12-1 / 8-1||— / 3rd||Chick-fil-A Bowl, W|
|2013||4-8 / 2-7||20th / —||No bowl|
|2012||7-6 / 4-5||20th / —||Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, L|
|2011||11-2 / 7-0||14th / 14th||Poinsettia Bowl, W|
|Total||45-19, 28-15||4 bowl games (3-1)|
2015 NATIONAL RANKS
Scoring: 7th (42.1 ppg)
Scoring defense: 64th (27.2 ppg)
Passing yards: 8th (347.5 ypg)
Rushing yards: 24th (215.4 ypg)
TOP 25 SO FAR …
No. 13: TCU
No. 12: Coming Tuesday. Want a hint? This school claims Houston Nutt, Ed Orgeron and David Cutcliffe as former head coaches.
4 schools: Pac-12 (14-USC, 17-Washington, 21-Oregon, 25-Washington State)
3 schools: Big 12 (13-TCU, 19-Baylor, 22-Oklahoma State)
2 schools: ACC (20-North Carolina, 23-Louisville); Big Ten (15-Michigan State, 18-Iowa);
1 school: SEC (16-Georgia); Mountain West (24-Boise State)