Tom Pennington/Getty Images
TCU and coach Gary Patterson should bounce back from a 6-7 season in 2016.

TCU game-by-game predictions: Horned Frogs ready to bounce back

TCU football posted a disappointing 6-7 season in 2016, the year after losing Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson to the NFL. However, this is the perfect opportunity for a season rebound.

This is how we predict every TCU football game will go this season. 

Game 1: Jackson State

When: Sept. 2

Where: Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas

Playing against a bad FCS team is always a fun time.

Prediction: TCU wins 56-7

Record: 1-0

Game 2: at Arkansas

When: Sept. 9

Where: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark.

Last season, this was one of the most memorable matchups of the year. Arkansas QB Austin Allen eventually led the Razorbacks to a tight win in double-OT. While the Razorbacks lost a couple of key pieces, playing in Fayetteville is not ideal.

Prediction: TCU loses 35-31

Record: 1-1

Game 3: vs. SMU

When: Sept. 16

Where: Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth

The Mustangs will be much improved this season in Chad Morris’ third year. In fact, expect SMU to make a bowl game fairly comfortably. That won’t affect this game, though.

Prediction: TCU wins 45-27

Record: 2-1

Game 4: at Oklahoma State

When: Sept. 23

Where: Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla.

Oklahoma State might be the best team in the Big 12 this season. The Cowboys are especially unbeatable at home. TCU will fight, but it won’t be enough to match Cowboys QB Mason Rudolph and WR James Washington.

Prediction: TCU loses 45-31

Record: 2-2 

Game 5: vs. West Virginia

When: Oct. 7

Where: Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth

This game would be scarier in Morgantown, but the Mountaineers lost the vast majority of their defense from a 10-win season in 2016. QB Will Grier and RB Justin Crawford are very good, but TCU has more proven pieces on both sides.

Prediction: TCU wins 42-31

Record: 3-2

Game 6: at Kansas State

When: Oct. 14

Where: Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan.

The last time these two teams met, Kansas State punked the Horned Frogs to the tune of 30-6 – in Fort Worth. The Wildcats should be even better this season, and the game is away.

Prediction: TCU loses 34-21

Record: 3-3 

Game 7: vs. Kansas

When: Oct. 21

Where: Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth

TCU and Kansas play such weird games. It feels like eventually, the Jayhawks will pull off a win. It won’t be this year.

Prediction: TCU wins 38-21

Record: 4-3

Game 8: at Iowa State

When: Oct. 28

Where: Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa

Coach Matt Campbell is building something interesting at Iowa State, but it’s still a work in progress.

Prediction: TCU wins 45-24

Record: 5-3 

Game 9: vs. Texas

When: Nov. 4

Where: Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth

Texas is back – maybe? Tom Herman has a young roster, but these two teams are playing late in the year. The young Longhorns will be developed and ready for this one.

Prediction: TCU loses 34-31

Record: 5-4

Game 10: at Oklahoma

When: Nov. 11

Where: Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla.

This game will eventually be the straw that pushes QB Kenny Hill out of the starting lineup. The Horned Frogs are not as good as Oklahoma on either side of the ball. Hill will throw multiple interceptions and waste opportunities. After this one, Shawn Robinson will be named the starter.

Prediction: TCU loses 44-28

Record: 5-5

Game 11: at Texas Tech

When: Nov. 18

Where: Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas

Texas Tech and TCU usually have strange games. This one won’t be quite as weird as scoring just 17 points in regulation, however. The Horned Frogs will be better on defense and more diverse on offense. Texas Tech is now without legendary QB Pat Mahomes.

Prediction: TCU wins 35-24

Record: 6-5 

Game 12: vs. Baylor

When: Nov. 24

Where: Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth

There’s only one thing we know about this game – we don’t know what’s going to happen. A few years ago, Robert Griffin III led Baylor to a crazy 50-48 win over a better TCU team. Later, TCU trounced the Bears in Waco in 2012. The series is split 3-3 over the past six years, and the best team doesn’t always win. The rivalry will live up to the hype once again, this time with Robinson at QB leading TCU to victory.

Prediction: TCU wins 38-28

Record: 7-5

Final prediction: 7-5

There are several toss-up games on this schedule, so consider 7-5 to be the lowest expectation. However, Hill’s passing will determine where games will be won and lost. That’s not terribly encouraging, even if his weapons will be better this season.

The defense did not take the step everyone hoped in 2016, and the schedule only gets harder this season. But by season’s end, Robinson will be the starting QB and optimism will abound once again for TCU fans.