Bradley’s Buzz: Should Georgia fear the Horned Frogs?

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

TCU is the biggest underdog the College Football Playoff title game has known. Georgia is favored by 13 points. The widest spread over the first eight finals was nine in January 2021, when No. 1 Alabama beat No. 3 Ohio State 52-28.

ExploreHow TCU surprised college football, advanced to title game

The CFP isn’t March Madness. There are no 16th seeds, at least not yet. The 64th-best basketball team has a chance against the best team in the land because of the 3-point shot, the pressure of the Big Dance and all the other stuff peculiar to hoops. The 64th-best football team would lose to Georgia by 64 points.

Does TCU, seeded No. 3 in the field of four, have a chance against No. 1 Georgia? Sure. A good chance? No. (Fun fact: The only No. 3 seed to win it all was Georgia, which was favored over No. 1 Alabama last January.) Herewith we present a few more Horned-Frog-related factoids, all of which might add up to nothing.

· TCU stands for Texas Christian University. It was originally known as the Add-Ran Male & Female College, which was news to me. (“Add-Ran” was an amalgam of the founding Clark brothers’ first names – Addison and Randolph.) It’s based in Fort Worth. It’s a private school.

· TCU claims two national championships. In 1935, the Horned Frogs lost the Rose Bowl to Stanford but were still No. 1 in the Williamson rankings. In 1938, TCU went undefeated. The NCAA recognizes the second of the two.

· TCU’s quarterback in 1938 was Davey O’Brien, who won the Heisman. He was preceded in Fort Worth by Slinging Sammy Baugh, who would become the first great NFL quarterback. Bob Lilly, the foundation of the Dallas Cowboys’ Doomsday Defense, was also a Horned Frog.

· TCU quarterback Max Duggan won the Davey O’Brien Award, given to the nation’s best quarterback. Saw that coming, did you? (I’m kidding. Duggan is really good.)

ExploreTCU game-by-game recaps

· TCU’s biggest rival over time has been Southern Methodist, based in Dallas. TCU leads the series 52-42-7. The game’s winner receives the Iron Skillet.

· TCU hired coach Sonny Dykes away from SMU last November. He was transported by helicopter from Fort Worth to Dallas. The chopper alit on TCU’s football field. Dykes is the son of Spike Dykes, the longtime head coach at Texas Tech. Spike Dykes’ first name was William. Sonny’s first name is Daniel.

· Dykes was 19-30 at Cal, 30-18 at SMU.

· Georgia tie-in: Dykes succeeded Derek Dooley, son of Vince, as Louisiana Tech’s head coach when Dooley left for Tennessee. Dykes went 22-15 at La Tech.

· Gratuitous Kentucky reference: Dykes was an assistant on Hal Mumme’s Air Raid staff in Lexington. Dykes would later work under Mike Leach, another Air Raid alum, at Texas Tech. Leach would land at Mississippi State. He died last month at 61. The Horned Frogs wore pirate stickers on their helmets in their Fiesta Bowl upset of Michigan to honor Leach.

· Dykes bears a resemblance – this was bugging me to death until I finally figured out who – to Wade Phillips, a football coach whose dad was also a football coach in Texas. To be fair, Sonny D. is much younger than Wade P.

· TCU’s offensive coordinator is Garrett Riley. He bears a resemblance to Lincoln Riley. They’re brothers.

· TCU is the first Big 12 team to win a CFP semifinal. Oklahoma is 0-4. Lincoln Riley was head coach on three of those teams, OC on the fourth.

· TCU is the first team from Texas to make the CFP.

· TCU is the third team to lose its conference championship game and make the CFP. Georgia was the second. Notre Dame was the first. (Yes, Notre Dame. It played as an ACC member in the COVID season.)

· TCU ranks 13th among FBS teams in total offense, 88th in total defense. Georgia ranks eighth and 11th.

ExploreComplete coverage of Georgia vs. TCU

· TCU is 6-1 in games of one-score margins. Georgia is 2-0.

· If you, like me, grew up reading Sports Illustrated, you’re familiar with the work of Dan Jenkins. He was the funniest of all sportswriters. He wrote about college football and golf. He was legendary for never taking a note. He dropped more-than-occasional references to TCU, of which he was an alum. He played on the golf team.

· According to that noted scientific journal Wikipedia, the horned frog is not a frog. It’s a lizard.

· TCU also has a meme mascot – the Hypnotoad. It’s supposed to imbue power. Hey, it’s a meme.

The above is part of a regular exercise, written and curated by yours truly, available to all who register on AJC.com for our free Sports Daily newsletter. The full Buzz, which includes more opinions and extras like a weekly poll and pithy quotes, arrives via email around 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

FAQ: How do you sign up? Go to the AJC.com home page. Click on “newsletters” at the top right. Click on “Sports Daily.” You’ll need to enter your email address. Thanks in advance, folks.

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