On June 11 EA Sports released team rankings for NCAA Football '14, immediately causing a stir from avid college football fans about how their team was going to be awesome in the new game, or how their team (or a specific unit) was severely underrated.
Here's how things broke out for TCU:
After a 7-6 season with a bowl loss to Michigan State, the overall 84 didn't come as too much of a surprise. The 86 ranking for the Horned Frogs offense wasn't a shocker either.
Without Casey Pachall at the helm for the majority of the season, TCU generally struggled to move the ball effectively. Trevone Boykin is a great runner, let's not get it twisted, but when he threw, we all cringed a little. (According to all reports out of spring ball, and during the summer, Boykin's arm has improved tremendously this year).
However, I'd like to think that an 86 is probably a little low for the Horned Frogs coming into the new season. With Casey Pachall back, throwing to guys like Brandon Carter, LaDarius Brown, Cam White, and David Porter, not to mention transfers Ja'Juan Story and Josh Doctson, things are definitely looking up for TCU's passing game. Pair that with a running back core that features Waymon James, B.J. Catalon and Aaron Green, and we're looking at a unit that could be very special this season.
As TCU fans though, we know that tt all boils down to that offensive line and how they mature. If they can get it together and open holes for the running game, and pass protect so Pachall (or Boykin) can make it through their progressions, this team will be well above an 86 on offense. If they continue to miss assignments and the running game stalls because of it, then an 86 is probably pretty accurate.
As for the 85 ranking on defense, I'm a little puzzled. I voiced my thoughts on our twitter page, but to reiterate it here, this is a list of teams that have a better defensive ranking than TCU in NCAA Football '14 (and in parenthesis, their actual defensive rank from 2012).
- TCU - 85 (#16)
- Iowa - 90 (#49)
- Texas - 93 (#67)
- Arkansas - 87 (#73)
- UCLA - 87 (#76)
- Auburn - 90 (#79)
- Oklahoma State - 92 (#80)
- West Virginia - 87 (#108)
- Arizona - 88 (#118)
- Baylor - 88 (#119)
Those are not all the examples, but I think I have made my point. 85 is way, way too low. With the AP Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year returning in sophomore Devonte Fields, arguably the best cornerback in the Big 12 returning in Jason Verrett, along with the rest of the secondary from last season, I think this TCU defense is primed to have a fantastic, Top 10 defense kind of year.
With Chuck Hunter plugging up the middle, and guys like Sam Carter leading the secondary this defense is going to be a nightmare to score on. If I was ranking the defense for this game, attempting to be unbiased, I'd put TCU's defense around a 92. In order for them to warrant an 85 rating, there would need to be a mass group of injuries or suspensions (please God no).
So, did NCAA Football '14 keep it real for TCU? I say partially, but they missed a little on defense.
What do you think? Keep it real in the comments and let us know where you think TCU should have been rated in the game. I'll be choosing one or two commenters to join me for a follow up post in a few weeks, so lay it all out on the line, ya'll!