MOST SNUBBED- 2014 TCU Football
Written by Knight Jarecki
In this week's edition of the Most Snubbed series, we will be discussing the 2014 Texas Christian Football team. 2014 was the first season under the modern playoff look format the NCAA currently uses. TCU was one of the 6 teams up for contention for the 4 playoff spots at the end of the season but ended up finishing #6 in the last College Football Playoff rankings before the playoff, missing out on the chance at winning their first ever National Championship. However, should the Horned Frogs have been excluded from the 2014 Playoff?
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The 2014 TCU team was one of the most exciting football teams to play in this past decade. The TCU offense had playmakers all across the field. With the emergence of Junior Trevone Boykin under Sonny Cumbie’s air raid offense, the team took off averaging over 530 yards a game to go with a mean of 5.3 touchdowns. Boykin alone had 4,608 yards and 42 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions in his breakout campaign. In the backfield the 1 / 2 punch of Aaron Green and BJ Catalon combined for over 1650 yards and 22 touchdowns. The receiving core was solid with future 1st round pick Josh Doctson on one side and speedster Kolby Listenbee on the other side totaling over 1700 yards and 15 touchdowns between the pair. The offensive line for the Horned Frogs was also impressive with 2 future NFL Starters in Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Joey Hunt dominating the line of scrimmage. Defensively, the Horned Frogs were very experienced, returning most starters from the year before. 10 members of the 2014 TCU defense made NFL rosters after their college careers were over.
Initially, TCU was not projected to do very well in 2014. The 2013 team had finished just 4-8 and was only 2-7 in Big 12 play, tying them for second to last place in the conference. The team was projected to do slightly better but nothing like the expectations they exceeded.
To start the season the Horned Frogs dominated from the gate, beating Samford, Minnesota, and SMU by a combined score of 134-21 including a 56-0 victory against SMU in the Battle for the Iron Skillet. This led the Horned Frogs to their first ranking of the season at 25 before facing their biggest test of the season, the number 4 ranked Oklahoma Sooners. After TCU led 14-0 early in the first quarter, the Sooners fought back to put themselves ahead 31-24 in the 3rd quarter. TCU was able to knot the score at 31 late in the 3rd on a 29 yard touchdown pass from Trevone Boykin to Deante’ Gray. The game winning touchdown was a 41 yard pick six by senior and future 3rd round pick Paul Dawson in the 4th quarter solidifying the 37-33 victory (the point after was blocked and returned for 2 points for Oklahoma). This pick six let the country know that this TCU football team was the real deal. With the win the Horned Frogs jumped from #25 in the rankings to the top 10 at a ranking of #9.
(Via TCU Athletics)
This sweet feeling of TCU football being elite only lasted 1 week however. After just beating the #4 Sooners, the Horned Frogs traveled to hostile Waco for a top 10 matchup against the #5 Baylor Bears. TCU came out the gate firing and led Baylor 58-37 with 10:39 to go before the Bears scored 24 unanswered points, kicking a field goal as time expired to beat the Horned Frogs 61-58. This late game collapse was the only loss of the season for TCU.
3 of the next 4 games TCU played were against ranked teams but the Horned Frogs did not show any post loss hangover. A week after their first loss, they dominated #15 Oklahoma State 42-9. The following week the Horned Frogs reentered the top 10 before their yearly matchup in the West Texas Championship against Texas Tech. This was the game for me that made me realize that TCU could play for the championship. TCU absolutely dismantled Texas Tech winning 82-27. I know that Texas Tech has never really had a defense but to score 82 points and hold Kliff Kingsbury’s offense to only 27 points is a huge momentum setter.
TCU then beat #20 West Virginia 31-30 in Morgantown during college gameday weekend. This moved the Horned Frogs to a ranking of #6 before a huge matchup against #7 Kansas State.
TCU kept the momentum going as they beat K-State 41-20 in front of one of the biggest crowds Amon G. Carter Stadium has ever seen. The Frogs then beat Kansas the following week before a Thanksgiving night matchup against the Texas Longhorns.
Andy Jacobsohn / The Dallas Morning News
Texas has always dominated TCU. Prior to their meeting in 2014, TCU had only won 2 games since 1968 against the Longhorns. However this year was different. TCU had all the momentum. The Horned Frogs went into Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium and dismantled the Longhorns 48-10 sending Texas fans home sad on the holiday.
With the win against Texas, TCU moved into the #3 spot in the rankings before the final week of the season. While the last week of the season is normally the conference championship, the Big 12 at the time did not feature a conference championship. This was due to the fact that the number of teams in the Big 12 was just 10 after the departure of Missouri, Texas A&M, Nebraska, and Colorado and addition of only 2 teams in TCU and West Virginia in 2012. Since the Big 12 did not have a conference championship, the last week of the season #3 TCU had to face off against the 2-9 Iowa State Cyclones. Iowa State was 0-8 in the Big 12 and last place in the conference. The #3 ranked Horned Frogs won the last game of the regular season 55-3.
Following the victory TCU was named Co-Champions of the Big 12 with Baylor after both teams finished with the same record in the Big 12. After being named Co-Champions of their conference and absolutely dominating their game 55-3, as the #3 team in the country, TCU thought for sure they would be in the College Football playoff. This was not the case however. In the final rankings of the year TCU dropped 3 spots from #3 to #6 despite winning by 52 points.
I know what you are thinking. The team that replaced TCU in the playoff ended up being #4 Ohio State. Ohio State then went on and won the National Championship. You are thinking,’ well they got Ohio State in and they won it all so they got the order right’. However, I am not arguing Ohio State should not have been in the playoff, but rather that TCU should have been in the playoff.
Now with that being said, I have 0 clue what TCU needed to do to keep their number 3 ranking. They won their game by 52 points and won a share of the conference championship but still dropped 3 spots. Why move them up to #3 in the rankings if the next week you are going to drop them 3 spots no matter what the circumstance. TCU did their job as the #3 team in the country and yet were punished for their work.
Due to fan outrage the committee made a statement. They said they put in the Buckeyes over the Horned Frogs because Ohio State was a conference champion and TCU was just a co-champion. If you make a statement like this, you would think you would have to keep your promise except the committee didn’t. In 2016 Ohio State again made the playoff but this time did not even make the Big 10 Title Game. So why is it Ohio State who doesn’t have a conference title in 2016 make the playoff, but winning Co-Champion isn’t enough. Sounds like double standards to me.
(Via TCU Athletics)
Oh, and if you’re wondering how TCU finished the year, it was quite the finish. After being snubbed of the playoff the Horned Frogs held their heads high as they marched into Atlanta for a Peach Bowl matchup against #9 Ole Miss. Boy were the Frogs mad. In the first 3 quarters TCU scored a pair of touchdowns and dominated 42-0 in a game they were only favored by 4. The offense scored two touchdowns in the first 2 minutes of the second half before slowing the game down and eventually sitting the starters. Ole Miss was completely shut out offensively. The TCU defense had 3 interceptions and held Ole Miss to only 129 yards. It got so bad that TCU started to mock Ole Miss’ “Land Shark” celebration on defense. Ole Miss got a field goal in garbage time and TCU won 42-3.
This small private university will never forget the 2014 season. Although the ending was a celebration with Peaches, the Horned Frogs never got a chance to play for the national championship. The 2014 TCU football team is the best team to never play in the College Football Playoff.
(Via TCU Athletics)