FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Third-ranked TCU has a definite road to the playoffs after another season-ending regular rout of Iowa State. It’s very different from 2014, when horned frogs were left out.
“I know the history with TCU and Iowa State, and the big wins, and it didn’t work particularly well in 2014,” Frogs first-year coach Sonny Dykes said after their 62-14 win over Iowa. State Saturday.
A day after a 55-3 win over the Cyclones eight years ago, TCU was kicked out of the first four-team college football playoff, even after entering that top-four ranked game.
TCU (12-0, 9-0 Big 12, No. 4 CFP), which rose from fourth place in the new AP Top 25 released on Sunday and will likely do the same on Tuesday night in the next CFP rankings, is in a good place. better situation this time.
The Frogs are one of only three undefeated teams remaining, along with No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Michigan, after being the first Big 12 team since Texas in 2009 to finish the regular season undefeated. And they still have the Big 12 championship game next Saturday against No. 13 Kansas State (9-3, 7-2, No. 12 CFP).
Dykes thinks so much has changed since 2014 in college football, the CFP selection committee and how people view the Big 12.
“It’s a glove. I think people who know, really study the game, know how good the league is,” Dykes said. “So to be able to get through this thing undefeated, to be able to win the road games that we’ve done, to get over some of the tougher ones that we’ve had to go through, I think that shows we have a good football team. .”
Prior to the lopsided finish, none of TCU’s previous seven wins had been by more than 10 points. The Frogs had to overcome double-digit deficits after halftime in consecutive games in October, including a 38-28 victory over Kansas State after losing 28-10 in the second quarter.
Another win over K-State next Saturday will leave no doubt that TCU will become the first Big 12 team other than Oklahoma to make the four-team playoffs.
But the Frogs may not even have to win this rematch to make one of the national semifinals after everything that happened on the last day of this regular season. Previously undefeated Ohio State (No. 2 CFP) lost 45-23 at home to Michigan, and Clemson (No. 8) also lost before TCU even kicked off on Saturday. LSU, fifth in the CFP standings even with two losses already, lost again on Saturday night, as did Oregon (No. 9).
There was no Big 12 championship game in 2014, when TCU was third in the CFP standings heading into the final weekend of its conference regular season while other leagues contested title games.
So, a day after crushing Iowa State at home, the Frogs fell to sixth in the final CFP standings, one spot behind Baylor, the only team to beat them this season in a 61-58 thriller. Ohio State, after a 59-0 victory in the Big Ten championship game, moved up to fourth place and won the national title – a final game played at AT&T Stadium, just about 20 miles from the TCU campus.
The Cyclones were a two-game winning team that season, with that final being their fifth loss by at least 20 points.
Iowa State (4-8, 1-8) entered Saturday’s game with the best defense in the Big 12, giving up 16.5 points per game. Only two opponents had scored more than 24 points, the most being 31, and his seven losses had been 38 points combined – less than 5 1/2 points per game.
TCU had 17 points over its first three drives and led 24-0 at the end of the first quarter after the first of two interception returns for touchdowns. Max Duggan threw touchdowns to three different receivers and Kendre Miller ran for two scores, his 13th straight game with a rushing touchdown.
“We showed the real team that we really have,” said fourth-year cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson.
Duggan said, “It was probably our most complete game ever.”
At the perfect time of the season to make a strong statement.
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