Editor's Note: This post was written by special contributor Steve Godich.
I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t care about rankings at this point in the season. I always try to play it off and tell myself that it doesn’t matter until the bracket is set on Dec. 6. I love playing out all the scenarios of what could happen based on who’s ranked where and figuring out the committee’s reasoning behind their decisions. Before this week’s rankings even came on, my roommate laughed and said, "What if TCU comes in at 18?" It’s amazing what happens when you struggle to beat the worst team in college football on your home field. Frogs fans, including myself, ignited Twitter with discussion. Some talk of outrage, others of confusion. Sitting at No.18 with two games left and a banged-up team makes it feel like the season is over. The highly anticipated rematch between TCU and Baylor on Black Friday evening might be overshadowed by a Bedlam matchup that could essentially be a play-in game for the College Football Playoff.
I was listening to ESPN Radio the other day when I heard one of the program hosts say if TCU and Baylor cared about the Big 12, they should just roll over and let the Oklahoma schools carry the torch into the playoff this year. Frogs fans, this is no time to give up; this is a time to rally. What most people aren’t seeing is that the committee evaluated the Frogs based on how the team plays without Trevone Boykin. Regardless of who starts against Oklahoma in Norman on Saturday night, a victory could propel TCU back into the Top 10. There are five two-loss teams ahead of the Frogs, but with a win over No. 7 Oklahoma, TCU will make a big leap. If Baylor takes care of Oklahoma State in Stillwater, that would set up a Black Friday matchup between two top 10 teams. In fact as difficult as it may be, every TCU fan should be rooting for Baylor this weekend. Because even if the Frogs win their last two, they aren’t getting in if they lose their last two
If that happens, TCU would have a strong case for the playoff if it wins its last two. If Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State, the Frogs are Big 12 champions. Now you’re probably thinking, how does TCU go from No. 18 to the top four in three weeks.
Hear me out:
TCU’s Winning the Big 12 Is Enough: The Frogs’ conference championship is valuable enough to the committee to jump Notre Dame, which is hurt by its independent status even with a victory over Stanford in The Irish’s final game.
The Committee Passes on A Two-Loss Pac 12 Champion: Say Stanford beats Notre Dame. This game had the potential to be a play-in game for the playoff, until Stanford lost to Oregon last weekend. Now the Pac-12 is probably the Power 5 conference on the outside looking in. It would be hard to leave a one-loss Big 12 champion out even if Stanford wins out.
The Big 10 Collapses: Undefeated Ohio State and Iowa control their own destiny. There is only one scenario where the winner of the Big 10 championship game does not make the playoff, but it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Say Ohio State beats Michigan State this weekend, then loses to Michigan. Michigan then takes down Iowa team in the conference championship game.
Clemson Pulls a Clemson: I think we can agree that the ACC is the weakest Power 5 conference. DeShaun Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, But the Tigers always seem to have one huge slipup that costs them their season. While Clemson should dominate Wake Forest and South Carolina (though you never know in a rivalry game on the road), the Tigers’ best chance of getting upset would be in the ACC championship against North Carolina, which is on pace to win the weak ACC Coastal Division. The Tar Heels can finish 12-1, but their one-loss is to a woeful South Carolina team. However, sitting at No. 17 with a weak nonconference schedule (victories over two FCS opponents), North Carolina just wouldn’t have a strong enough resume to impress the committee
The SEC Gets Shut Out: By this point, you’re probably thinking I’m just plain crazy. Of course this is the most unlikely scenario. Florida and Alabama have already clinched their divisions so they will meet in Atlanta for the championship. But what if Florida loses to Florida State and then beats Alabama; the SEC would have a two-loss champion. Think of the backlash the committee would receive if they sent a two-loss Florida team that won a weak SEC East.
Remember, there is no playoff spot for the Frogs if they don’t take care of their own business first. We as TCU fans owe it to this team to not count them out just yet. I was a freshman when we went 4-8 in 2013. Think about how much life this team has brought to campus these past two falls. Just think about all the memories you’ve made on Saturday afternoons with your friends at tailgates and getting ready for Game Day. Remember going absolutely crazy when Paul Dawson picked off Trevor Knight for the winning score against Oklahoma last season. Remember where you were when you saw Aaron Green haul in a miraculous deflected pass for the winning touchdown in Lubbock. This team has given us so much to be proud of.
If the Frogs lose this weekend, at least we can go into our Black Friday matchup looking to ruin Baylor’s season. If we win out and claim the Big 12 championship and we miss out on the playoff, you can write me about how I got your hopes up these last few weeks. Until then, enjoy watching our boys battle this weekend, make sure to pull for Baylor in Stillwater and hope we can catch a couple breaks along the way. This is what makes college football special. Anything can happen. Don’t believe what you’re hearing. The TCU Horned Frogs are still very much alive in the playoff hunt.