It's been an interesting season so far for the Rooting Guide, starting from an explanation of why my girlfriend giggles every time I use the word "Root" and turning into the general open thread for every non-TCU game- it's been a lot of fun, and I'm happy to have been able to watch the games with you. This is, of course, probably the last rooting guide of the season, as when there aren't teams affecting the fate of TCU (however vaguely) it's more fun to just let everyone choose their own teams to root for in the bowl games for whatever reason. So for one more week, let's get rooting!
1.) If a team is ranked above TCU, root against them
The constant at number one remains for the last week as well, for obvious reasons. The Frogs are currently ranked at #3, but only Oregon is in a position where they can feel secure in their playoff position- we want to make sure we get in and, if we do, we want the best possible seed. As a result, any team ranked above the Frogs is in the way (we'll count Florida State in this, because they'll likely move up with a win over Tech).
2.) Baylor and Ohio State are the potential thieves of your joy, root against them
Two of the teams that cause TCU fans to bristle the most are in direct competition with the Frogs for a playoff spot, and are the only threats who could conceivably catch the Frogs from behind with a big performance. Root against them with every fiber of your soul (with Baylor and Ohio State you'd probably do that anyway).
And... that's it! It's kind of weird without a solidarity gif for Minnesota, so I'll throw one up in the comments.
Rule 1 games
#1 Alabama @ #16 Missouri (At the Georgia Dome)
This would be an outcome where we see exactly how much the committee loves the SEC. Remember at one point there were three SEC teams in the playoff bracket, but with one more upset the SEC may find itself on the outside looking in. The Tigers have a solid defense and have looked like a better team after receiving a pummeling at the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs, but really I think the only way Bama loses this one is if they're in let down mode after a cathartic win over Auburn. Still, it would be incomparably sweet to see the SEC shut out, so root hard in this one.
#4 Florida State @ #11 Georgia Tech (At Bank of America Stadium, North Carolina)
This is the matchup I've been wanting in the championship game from the first time FSU started struggling this year. This is a trendy upset pick and it's easy to see why, the Yellow Jackets option offense can only be stopped by a very disciplined defense, and for all of the talent that FSU's defense has, they have not played disciplined defense this year. This is the best chance for an upset this week, so root for the Seminoles to fall (or, failing that for us to play them in the first round).
Rule 2 games
#9 Kansas State @ #6 Baylor
It all comes down to who you want to share the Big 12 championship with, and in this one we obviously want to see a fully purple Big 12 Championship trophy. Baylor's politicking has been relentless (as you would expect) and has dominated much of the national conversation this week in both negative "Hey, they did beat TCU" and positive "They hired a PR firm? Really? Screw those guys" ways for the Bears, drawing a lot of attention away from the actual game in this one. I think the Bears may be so caught up in the sheer injustice of it all they may be caught overlooking a very good Kansas State team that has revenge on its mind. There would be nothing more satisfying than to see Baylor drop out of the Big 12 title conversation entirely, so make this your ultimate root of the week.
#13 Wisconsin @ #5 Ohio State (At Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis)
The odds of Ohio State jumping us dropped considerably when quarterback J.T. Barrett went down with a leg injury that will keep him sidelined the remainder of the season. With new starter Cardale Jones and a suspect rushing D, Ohio State is actually the underdog in this one, but if Jones performs well the extra game against a ranked team may be a good enough argument to move the Buckeyes up and simply avoid the TCU/Baylor argument all together. Ohio State must go down, so root for the badgers.
And with that small slate, we're done! Enjoy the games while I enjoy a nap- but I'll be rooting in my dreams, that you can guarantee.