TCU's 2010 non-conference schedule has been released. As feared, among the four out-of-conference foes is Tennessee Tech. This is unfortunate, as TCU is poised to be in their best position in 50 years to challenge for the national championship.
2010 Out of Conference opponents for TCU are Oregon State, Tennessee Tech, Baylor and SMU.
It is rare indeed when a team goes into a season with a quarterback who has already started 37 games in his career, as has Andy Dalton. Additionally, of TCU's roughly top 50 key personnel, the Frogs lost only 10 members to graduation. Most of the contributors to an offense that ranked #4 and a defensive unit that was ranked #1 in 2009 will be back.
TCU had a golden upportunity to improve on an already splendid campaign in 2009. However, if TCU is going to be vying for the national championship they need to show better stewardship of their schedule.
After a 2008 campaign which saw TCU go 11-2 and finish ranked #6 in the AP poll, it was clear that 2009 and 2010 were going to be special. The TCU brass should have made every effort to put together an out-of-conference schedule to provide the competition to make up for their relatively weak Mountain West foes.
As Eddie Dzurilla noted in a previous article here in BR, TCU was painfully slow to fill up that last Sep 11th slot. Eyeballing the 2010 schedule for two years was like waiting for a pot to boil.
The whole thing leaves one scratching his head and wondering who to point a finger at.
Are the TCU athletic administrators and coaches happy with this schedule? Is this what Gary Patterson wanted?
Did the outgoing Athletic Director just not care enough?
Was the incoming AD too preoccupied in getting settled in to act quickly?
Was TCU totally blindsided when Texas Tech backed out of their 2010 contest with the Horned Frogs? ( The deposed Mile Leach had said after he was defeatd by TCU 12-3 the last time they met that he would not play TCU again. ) Or had TCU seen it coming and therefore was working with ESPN on the Oregon State game at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington?
Certainly by the time both universities publicly recognized the pull-out TCU had few options left. Almost all other Division I schools had filled up their dance cards.
Interestingly, one team that did seem to have an open spot until very recently was North Texas State just 40 miles up the highway in Denton. North Texas is hardly a strong foe, being annually ranked in the bottom 10. But wouldn't the Mean Green still have looked better to voters than Tennessee Tech, which is a mediocre Div II team.
Then again, TCU could have hardly expected North Texas coach Todd Dodge, who is fighting for his life, to choose TCU over Rice. The Owls and Mean Green will meet in Denton on Sep 11th while the Horned Frogs take on Tennessee Tech in Ft. Worth.
It would have been great if TCU could have used the expected proceeds from the Oregon State game and the extra home game it gives TCU to finagle a way (with cash) to have lined up a stronger opponent.
TCU will enter the 2010 season probably ranked around #10. But even if they do go underfeated they will be down in the pecking order behind any undefeated teams from the Pac-Ten, Big Ten or ACC. They would probably be behind a one-loss champion from the Big-12 and possibly even a two-loss champion from the SEC. Then throw in Boise State which grabs the inside post on TCU by virtue of their Fiesta Bowl victory and its clear that TCU needed to bend over backward to try to ensure as strong a schedule as possible.
If TCU finishes 12-0 and is shut out of the national championship game who will they blame?