It may sound crazy, but TCU still has a realistic shot at a Bowl Championship Series game this season.
Visit the BCS website and look at the selection procedure if you do not believe it.
The rules state that the highest ranked non-automatic qualifying conference champion that is in the top 16 ahead of an automatic qualifying conference champion gets an automatic berth in a BCS game.
In other words, if things play out in the Horned Frogs’ favor over the next three weekends, then TCU could be the BCS buster for the third straight year.
The easy part of the formula will be finishing ahead of an automatic qualifying conference champion because no Big East member is currently in the BCS top 25. The other problem is finishing as the highest ranked non-automatic qualifying conference champion.
The Frogs need No. 11 Houston and No. 20 Southern Mississippi (both in the Conference-USA) to lose at least one game and for three teams ranked ahead of TCU to lose a game and drop below them in the rankings.
The best scenario to knock off Houston and Southern Mississippi is for unranked Tulsa (7-3) to win out. They are currently undefeated in Conference-USA and face off with the Cougars the Friday after Thanksgiving.
The doubters might say that is not possible, but Tulsa’s three losses on the year came to BCS top-10 teams (No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 10 Boise State). If anyone has a chance to ruin Houston’s season, it is Tulsa.
And if the Golden Hurricanes can shut down the high-powered offense and beat Houston they would then host the conference championship against Southern Mississippi. If Tulsa runs the table then two biggest threats to TCU’s BCS chances are out of contention.
But what about Boise State? Well, that problem was taken care of last Saturday in Idaho. It would not matter that the Broncos are ranked ahead of TCU because they will not be conference champions (that is, if the Frogs take care of business). The BCS selection rules clearly state that only conference champions would get an automatic bid.
They could potentially get an at-large bid to a BCS game, but that probably will not happen because of the strength of the SEC, Big XII and the PAC-12 this season.
The toughest piece of the puzzle for TCU may be finishing in the top 16.
Four Big Ten teams are currently ranked ahead of TCU (No. 18 Michigan, No. 17 Wisconsin, No. 16 Nebraska and No. 15 Michigan State), but three of those teams still have tough games remaining on their schedule and could all drop one before the end of the season.
No. 12 South Carolina still faces No. 7 Clemson, No. 13 Kansas State has to deal with No. 23 Texas and No. 14 Georgia will travel to Georgia Tech (who is responsible for Clemson’s only loss) for their rivalry game. All of those matchups could lean in favor of the Frogs.
TCU fans may have to support a few teams they dreamed they never would (including SMU at Houston and Texas against Kansas State this weekend), but it would all be worth it to see the Casey Pachall and company break out onto a national stage.
A lot of things have to go the Frogs’ way, but it definitely is not out of the question. The chances are probably higher than most people realize, and it is only a matter of time before the BCS landscape clears up.
Some people might say TCU does not deserve that chance this year, but if an unranked Big East champion plays in a BCS game, then the Frogs deserve it too.
In a season written off by many as a rebuilding year after the losses to Baylor and SMU, the whole season could be turned around.
With the growth of Casey Pachall and the young defense as the season has progressed, the Frogs can hang with most teams in the nation. The team you saw play Boise State was light years ahead of the team that fell to the Bears and the Mustangs.
So do not even begin to think the private school team from Fort Worth will bow down to the “big boys”. Three straight BCS games should solidify TCU’s status as one of the top tier teams in the nation.
Heads up to the BCS, because if the season plays out in the Frogs’ favor, they will take full advantage of their opportunity.
Brett Musslewhite is a senior Sports Broadcasting major from Houston, Texas.