Is TCU a perfect example of why college football should use a playoff system? Yes. Is TCU worthy of holding up the National Championship trophy? Not so fast. Before everyone jumps on the TCU bandwagon and declares them a champion, let’s take another look at the Horned Frogs and their victory over Wisconsin in the 2011 Rose Bowl.
The final score of the game was 21-19. Not 45-19. So let’s not pretend like it was the most dominate performance we have ever seen in college football. It’s true that TCU was able to hold off one of the most potent offenses in the nation, but they still could have lost the game. And in case anyone hasn’t been paying attention to the bowl games this season, the Big 10 is not exactly the most powerful conference out there.
A quick look at Wisconsin’s schedule will show that the Badgers might easily be one of the most overrated teams in the nation, in the most overrated conference in the nation. Aside from beating up on the measly Big 10 opponents, the Badgers out-of-conference opponents averaged only 2.75 wins this year.
That number is a bit skewed because 3/4 of those teams had two or less wins. The one team that bumped that average up was Arizona State, who went 6-6 this year and lost to Wisconsin by a blocked extra-point.
The reason Wisconsin was so highly touted going into their match up against TCU is they were averaging 67 points in their last three games. Even though that is a very impressive stat, it should be looked at a little closer. They put up these numbers against defenses that ranked 102nd, 108th and 77th in the points against category, all of which are Big 10 teams by the way.
To say that these were fair fights is absurd. Wisconsin was clearly going against inferior defenses and they showed it. When the time came to play against a tough defense outside of their conference, they folded.
So now let’s look at TCU. The Horned Frogs only played three ranked teams this year, including Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Their first victory over a ranked opponent was against Oregon State, who ended their year two games below .500. Their second victory over a ranked opponent came against Utah, who only beat four teams above .500 and won five games against teams with three or less wins.
Now I’m not saying that TCU does not deserve some praise for their victory; all I’m saying is that we need to take back the crown that they have just been given and hold off for a second.
The BCS National Championship game has not even been played yet, but everyone is already talking about a shared-title for TCU and the winner of that game. Why?
Oregon and Auburn have combined to play only four teams with three wins or less this season. Oregon faced three ranked teams in the regular season, and averaged 51 points in those games. Auburn faced five ranked teams in the regular season, and averaged 41.6 points in those contests.
TCU, on the other hand, beat an overrated team by two points and they could have just as easily lost, had the game gone into OT. Sure, they shut down a high-scoring offense for nearly the entire game, but there is no way that Wisconsin is one of the best teams out there.
The Badgers beat up on weaker defenses and played in an overrated conference. If TCU really wanted to make a statement, then they would have blown out Wisconsin and shown the nation their true colors. Instead, they just survived.
So feel free to jump on the TCU bandwagon, and hold your No.1 signs with pride, but let’s not crown a champion until there is one.