TCU football is losing a plethora of seniors from the 2017 campaign. Those departures include starting quarterback Kenny Hill and running back Kyle Hicks, among others.
190 miles south of Fort Worth, Texas along Interstate-35, Texas football is looking to rebound from a 6-6 2017 regular season. The Longhorns, to be sure, are losing plenty of their own talent due to early departures for the 2018 NFL Draft.
And yet, that hasn’t stopped some from putting lofty expectations on Texas headed into the fall, including a projected second place finish in the Big 12 in ESPN’s FPI for the 2018 season. The Horned Frogs, on the other hand, are only projected to win 6 or 7 games.
It’s no surprise that many fans in Fort Worth don’t exactly agree with that outlook regarding Texas and TCU, at least not when the Horned Frogs have won the last four meetings all by double-digits.
One Texas football expert also agrees that it’s a bit early to declare Texas to be finally “back” in 2018.
Dave Campbell’s Texas Football managing editor Greg Tepper, in an guest-article with the Dallas Morning News, wrote that TCU should be firmly ahead of Texas in the Big 12 title outlook for the upcoming season — as should several other schools in the conference.
“Right now you have to put TCU ahead of (the Longhorns), Oklahoma ahead of them, Oklahoma State is also probably a bit better as well. It’s been a while since Texas has played games that people have to tune in for come November, and that is a realistic expectation for this team. And the talent is on campus to do that. “
As cliche as it may sound after the last four seasons, Texas should take a step forward from the disappointment it endured from 2014-2017. The Longhorns do have several key matchups, including a non-conference game vs. USC and Big 12 showdowns vs. TCU and West Virginia, at home this season. Herman also hauled in the top-rated 2018 recruiting class in the Big 12 this offseason.
So could it be a test for the Horned Frogs when they head south to the Forty Acres for their Big 12 opener this fall?
The answer could very well be yes, especially considering the TCU will be a week removed from a monumental non-conference showdown with Ohio State at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Win or lose that contest, the Horned Frogs will likely be feeling some fatigue.
The Sept. 22 date is also the earliest TCU has ever traveled to Texas in any season since joining the Big 12, as all three previous matchups were played on or the day after Thanksgiving. That includes 2014 and 2016 matchups in which the Longhorns were well out of the Big 12 title picture. If Texas begins the year 3-0 entering conference play, Gary Patterson and Co. should expect to see a much more confident and motivated Longhorns team compared to previous visits to Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
But for now, the benefit of the doubt goes to the Horned Frogs as they look to continue their success vs. their in-state foes.