TCU surprised last season en route to an 11-3 record, including a bowl win over Stanford, but 2018 will look a bit different. The Horned Frogs maybe had the most balanced team in the Big 12 last year, yet only return 10 starters in all. Still, with a lot of the teams in the Conference turning to new quarterbacks, TCU is expected to fight behind Oklahoma in the standings and had +9000 spring odds to win the National Championship (at 5Dimes Sportsbook), which was Fourth-best in the Big 12 to go with an over/under of 7.5 wins.
Replacing quarterback Kenny Hill is the main thing for TCU, but with Four starters gone on the line, that could be another issue. Most signs out of spring point to sophomore Shawn Robinson getting the start under center after appearing in limited time last season. His arm is still a work in progress, but his ability on the ground could be a nice dimension in this offense. Throw in returning RB Darius Anderson (768 yards, 8 TDs) and Sewo Olonilua (7 TDs) and the Frogs could be even more run heavy in Sonny Cumbie’s second season as coordinator. Of course, he still has roots in the Air Raid, so Robinson will throw the ball plenty with guys like Jalen Reagor (7 TDs) and KaVontae Turpin (38 receptions) still around to catch passes. If the line can figure things out, the offense should be just fine and could average close to last year’s 33 points per Game.
Defense may be the area that takes a step back, although that’s rarely been an issue under Gary Patterson. Still, it’ll be tough for the Frogs to match last season’s 17.6 points allowed per Game. A lot of top guys are gone and that’s the main issue even if Patterson has a lot of talent coming in. The line may be the best unit with Ben Banogu set for another big season to go with Ross Blacklock and Corey Bethley at tackle. Linebacker also has talent with seniors Ty Summers and Arico Evans, but they will be tasked with more work. The secondary is the biggest issue and that’s not a good thing in the pass-heavy Big 12. Jeff Gladney has the most experience at corner, although there isn’t much else outside of him who was a regular in the lineup. This defense will still be good, but maybe not at the same level as last year when it held teams like Texas and Texas Tech to less than 10 points.
The problem for TCU is that the early Schedule isn’t as friendly with the Game against Ohio State followed by a trip to Texas. That could lead to a couple early losses and may even make the October Game against Oklahoma a must-win if the Horned Frogs want a chance at the Conference title Game again. Of course, there is a path for that to happen, if Robinson keeps this offense moving and the defense doesn’t take a major step back. The road Games aren’t terrible with the late West Virginia trip likely being important to both teams. Eight wins is a good prediction for TCU and that’s assuming it loses all of its Games as an underdog. To get past that number, the Frogs will need a road upset or two and that can only be done through the sophomore quarterback.
2018 TCU Horned Frogs Football Schedule
Sept. 1 vs. Southern
Sept. 7 at SMU
Sept. 15 vs. Ohio State (AT&T Stadium, Arlington)
Sept. 22 at Texas
Sept. 29 vs. Iowa State
Oct. 11 vs. Texas Tech
Oct. 20 vs. Oklahoma
Oct. 27 at Kansas
Nov. 3 vs. Kansas State
Nov. 10 at West Virginia
Nov. 17 at Baylor
Nov. 24 vs. Oklahoma State