College Football 2011 December Madness: TCU vs. Arkansas

Jake WestrichSenior Writer IDecember 20, 2011

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 25:  Quarterback Tyler Wilson #8 of the Arkansas Razorbacks avoids a rush by defensive end Barkevious Mingo #49 of the LSU Tigers in the first quarter at Tiger Stadium on November 25, 2011 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

For the eighth consecutive season is proud to present the ultimate college football playoff in a tournament we refer to as December Madness 2011.

Over the next three weeks, the top 16 college football teams (11 conference champions and five at-large programs based on BCS rating) will compete for the December Madness title.

Utilizing our award-winning college football simulation engine, we "play" each matchup 1,001 times.

View the December Madness playoff bracket and complete the box score to participate.

With the graduation of Andy Dalton to the NFL, Gary Patterson's team was predicted to hit a few road bumps this season. That forecast came to fruition in the opening week, with the Horned Frogs losing a heartbreaker to the Baylor Bears 50-48.

TCU would suffer another impediment just weeks later with an overtime loss to SMU. At 3-2, the Frogs looked nothing like last season's squad that knocked off Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.

Yet rather than to submarine their season, the setback to Southern Methodist served as a catalyst for TCU. Led by Sophomore signal caller Casey Pachall, the Horned Frogs reeled off seven straight wins to end their season. Including a 36-35 upset of the previously undefeated Boise State on the Broncos' blue turf.

The late-season run gave TCU a 10-2 record, and the Mountain West crown. Most importantly, clinched a bid into the prestigious December Madness.

Arkansas also enters with a mark of 10-2, although their admission is not without suspicion. Granted, the Razorbacks have some impressive wins under their belt by conquering Texas A&M and South Carolina.

Yet in two previous games under the national spotlight, the Razorbacks fell flat on their face to succumb to Alabama 38-14 and LSU 41-17.

Forget about the travesty of the Crimson Tide playing in the BCS Championship. How did Arkansas gain entry into December Madness with a third place finish in their own division?

Not to say the Razorbacks aren't a formidable foe. With the departure of Ryan Mallet and season-ending injury to Knile Davis, expectations for the Arkansas offense were tempered.

The brilliant play of Junior Tyler Wilson alleviated any apprehensions of a stagnant attack. He lead the SEC with 3,422 yards and throwing for 22 touchdowns.

Aside from their mishaps against LSU and Alabama, the Arkansas defense was relatively stout. They were holding opponents to 22.8 points per contest.

Game recap

That said, the Razorback defense did not display this resolve early on against TCU. The Horned Frogs scored 19 unanswered points from three Pachall touchdown passes to open the game. This deficit would have been 21, but kicker Ross Evans missed two of the three PAT attempts.

However, the Razorbacks would not go quietly into the night. Arkansas took the momentum heading into halftime with two touchdowns in the second quarter. All thanks to a goal-line plunge from Broderick Green, and a touchdown pass from Wilson to Javontee Herndon, bringing the score to 19-14 at the break.

Arkansas would score the first 14 points of the second half off of two more Wilson throws, giving the Razorbacks 28 unanswered to take the lead.

TCU would mount a comeback, commencing the fourth quarter with a 48-yard bomb from Pachall to Brandon Carter. Regrettably, the Horned Frogs were undone by their special teams, as Evans  missed another PAT.

Zach Hocker added a field goal for Arkansas, as the Razorbacks squeaked by with a 31-25 win.

Player of the game: Tyler Wilson (248 passing yards, 3 TD)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Arkansas 59.4 percent - TCU 40.6 percent