There was a point in the season in which TCU’s College Football Playoff aspirations were very real.
After a 7-0 start, the Horned Frogs were up to No. 4 in the Associated Press poll and just weeks later after falling to No. 25 Iowa State, 14-7, then-No. 6 TCU had an opportunity to climb back into the playoff discussion with a win over then-No. 5 Oklahoma.
Of course, the Horned Frogs fell short against the Sooners, 38-20, and despite closing the regular season with back-to-back wins, TCU still remains on the outside of the top-10 in the playoff rankings at No. 11.
On Saturday, TCU will be presented with an opportunity to avenge the loss that threw a major wrench into its playoff plans, but would a win be enough to breathe life into those dreams once more?
As detailed by Joan Niesen of Sports illustrated, TCU’s two losses and placement at No. 11 — three spots behind No. 8 Ohio State — makes the playoff an unreal aspiration.
As Neisen explained, the playoff committee has ranked Ohio State ahead of the Horned Frogs every single week, aside from the release following the Buckeye’s 55-24 loss to Iowa. Ohio State has since won three straight, including a 48-3 blowout win over then-No. 12 Michigan State on the same Saturday that TCU fell to Oklahoma by 18 points.
Now, not only ranked well ahead of TCU, but taking on an elite team of its own in the Big Ten Championship in undefeated and No. 4-ranked Wisconsin, if the Horned Frogs and Buckeyes each win, the latter would likely be given the playoff nod over TCU.
As Niesen said, the Big 12’s only rational shot at sending a team to the College Football Playoff is a one-loss Oklahoma squad.
At least for TCU, after Oklahoma essentially ended its playoff hopes in Week 11, the Horned Frogs can return the favor and thus, take home the Big 12 title.
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