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Head coach Gary Patterson is a good coach who can lead his team through early season adversity.
The Horned Frogs are a bit more of a long-shot, dark-horse BCS title contender than the other teams, but the potential is there.
TCU sees the return a ton of players from an overall disappointing season last year, based on the school's recent football success.
According to Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com, "The Horned Frogs bring back 17 true freshmen who played last season, as well as 21 of their top 23 defenders."
The young talent, combined with a returning group of players, can lead to consistency and good team chemistry—especially on the defensive side of the ball.
TCU does need to overcome a great deal of adversity to start off the season, after recent news broke that the team was suspending star defensive end Devonte Fields for the first two games of 2013. The loss of Fields at the start of the year could alter the course of TCU's first game of the year against LSU at Cowboys Stadium.
Losing Fields is devastating, but if the team can rally together and find a way to pressure Zach Mettenberger, TCU could start the season in prime form.
Luckily, TCU has depth at the position and young talent on the defensive line, specifically with Tevin Dawson. According to Brent Sobleski of ESPN.com, "He [Dawson] is listed as a defensive lineman by the Horned Frogs. Lawson has the size and athleticism to play either defensive end or defensive tackle."
Overall, the Horned Frogs are a defensive team and had success in 2012, and they will hope to build on that in 2013.
According to Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com, "They know defense is still their strength, after leading the Big 12 in total defense, allowing 323.9 yards per game."
The secondary is good and the defense can hold their own against air-raid, pass-heavy Big 12 offenses.
The offense is where TCU needs to gain momentum as the season goes on. Troubled quarterback Casey Pachall has a chance to become the team's starter again. Pachall can flat out play. He makes plays all over the field and barring off-field issues, Pachall could lead TCU to great things in 2013.
If Pachall does not become the team's starter, there is hope in Trevone Boykin.
According to Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com:
The offense struggled without quarterback Casey Pachall, who was suspended from the team after four games because of off-field issues. After spending time at an alcohol and drug treatment facility, Pachall rejoined the team in January. He hasn't been named the Horned Frogs' starting quarterback for this coming season, but he seems to have an edge over sophomore Trevone Boykin, who went 3-6 as a starter in 2012.
Pachall's ability to win the starting job, maintain his form on the field and avoid off-field distractions will make or break TCU's offensive success.
TCU runs a balanced offense that utilizes both the run and the pass, so many different players can have a chance to be impact players.
The Horned Frogs open with the brutal non-conference showdown with LSU, but if they get by that game, the Big 12 regular season is wide open.
TCU will have to find ways to win on the road against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and the always difficult at-home Iowa State Cyclones.
There are a lot of ifs to the Horned Frogs 2013 season.
They need Casey Pachall to play at the level he is capable of.
They need options at the pass rush until Fields returns from suspension.
They need to stay focused and play as a cohesive unit that is stout on defense and efficient on offense.
TCU cannot look ahead in games, because they do have a tough schedule.
If the Horned Frogs can steal a win against LSU and then gain momentum with some signature wins, all while Pachall improves and Fields gets into form, TCU could be in for a run at a BCS title as a true dark-horse contender.