2022 College Football Playoff Prediction: Why No. 3 TCU Horny Frogs Can Defy The Odds And Win It All

The No. 3 TCU has become one of college football’s most unlikely playoff teams since the format began in 2014. From missing a bowling game in 2021 to becoming the first Big 12 team outside of Oklahoma to make the field in 2022, TCU’s year-long turnaround is among the best stories in college football. However, don’t think the Horned Frogs are happy to be here in the semi-finals. They are aiming for a national title.

Heading into the ninth edition of the playoffs, the Big 12 is the CFP’s only winless conference. That may change with the Frogs, who became the first Big 12 team to go undefeated in the regular season since the league switched to a round-robin format. With Heisman runner-up quarterback Max Duggan leading the way, TCU proved they could handle their business.

before the season, TCU had the same national championship chances (200-1) as Purdue, Arizona State and Mississippi State. Achieving the CFP exceeds expectations by a mile. Still, here are three reasons why TCU should be considered a legitimate national championship contender heading into the home stretch.

1. It has an elite group of talented players

In a year where entire units have held themselves above individual excellence, TCU might have the best collection of offensive stars in the CFP. double-wire quarterback. Running back Kendre Miller had over 1,300 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. The hidden star could be wide receiver Quentin Johnston, who rose in the first round in the 2023 NFL Draft.

“Johnston is an over-the-rim playmaker whose athleticism and contested catching abilities make him WR1 at this point in the proceedings,” CBS Sports NFL draft analyst Ryan Wilson wrote about of Johnson.

With Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson sidelined with a foot injury, TCU has the best running back-back-back trio in the playoffs by a notable margin. The trio leads all CFP QB/RB/WR groupings in yards and trails Ohio State in most touchdowns. Dynamic talents mean TCU can strike at any time – and he can keep up with anyone.

Max Duggan-Kendre Miller-Quentin Johnston (TCU)

6,080

58

Stetson Bennett-Kenny McIntosh-Brock Bowers (Georgia)

5,587

47

CJ Stroud-Miyan Williams-Marvin Harrison (Ohio State)

5,420

62

JJ McCarthy-Donovan Edwards-Ronnie Bell (Michigan)

4,194

32

2. It’s the comfort of being uncomfortable

Of the four college football playoff teams, only one has extensive experience in close games. TCU went six games to a score in 2022 and posted a 5-1 record. Had Duggan fallen just six inches down in the Big 12 Championship game against Kansas State, the Frogs could have potentially gone a perfect 7-0 in such games.

Michigan is the only other playoff team to have played multiple one-scored games. The Wolverines went 2-0 in those results, but needed a few miracles just to escape a mediocre Illinois team. Georgia sleepwalked against a bad team from Missouri, but managed to pull away in the end. Ohio State has not played a single game that has been decided by less than 11 points.

In the greatest moments, Duggan and TCU come to life. In five conference games between October 15 and November 12, the Frogs more than doubled their opponents’ points in the second half (86-40). In back-to-back performances against Oklahoma State and Kansas State, the Frogs outscored opponents 51-10 in the second half.

While the narrow margins were maintained against TCU during CFP deliberations, they give the Frogs a tight game DNA that other programs haven’t needed to develop ahead of a playoff that’s sure to be filled with competitive games. In the biggest moments, Duggan and TCU stand up. This will be a huge advantage against elite-level competition.

3. Frogs are battle tested

The Big 12 has been the deepest conference in college football this season, trailing only the SEC in SP+ average, with every league member ranked No. 62 or higher. The Frogs also played at SMU, giving them 11 opponents in the top half of the college football power rankings in 13 games.

Additionally, TCU navigated this difficult schedule without a single open week between the SMU game on Sept. 24 and the Big 12 Championship game against Kansas State on Dec. 3. Simply put, no team has had to be mentally stronger than TCU. during the 13-game run to the finals.

The last-second win over Baylor on Nov. 19 remains the perfect example of TCU finding plays when it needs them and operating under duress. Trailing or tied with the Bears the entire game, the Frogs ran a two-minute drill in the fourth quarter to set up a field goal when time expired. The fire drill seemed chaotic at the time, but coach Sonny Dykes said after the game the team was practicing weekly.

The college football playoffs are ultimately a battle of physical and mental wear and tear on the biggest stage. From a pure talent and depth standpoint, the Horned Frogs rank well behind Georgia, Ohio State and Michigan. However, TCU has the mental courage to compete – and maybe even win it all.

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