TCU has had a sugar rush of sorts with all the sweet talk it's been getting all summer.
With so much preseason hype, high rankings and Heisman talk, it almost feels as if TCU isn't allowed to be anywhere near short of perfection. That's why Gary Patterson has changed the slogan from #ProveThemWrong to #ProveThemRight, to motivate the team to meet everyone's expectations.
But still, there's that one smidgen of dirt on the windshield--that tiny possibility that something will go wrong. There's plenty to worry about it: the young defense may not be ready to perform the way Paul Dawson and Kevin White did last year, Texas Tech or Oklahoma can sneak away with wins on their home front, Boykin might lose steam and everything can just plain crumble before our eyes.
It's all mental, really. The worst thing that could happen is simply letting all the hype travel from the ear to the head. Yes, the Frogs are being fed all these wonderful things, but they can't afford to lose their appetite for more. So, here's what TCU needs to do to stay hungry.
1) Remember what the playoff committee did to you last year.
There's a golden line in TCU's 2015 hype video: "But it was not enough." Last season, the Frogs took every shot for a playoff spot. They won the conference championship (albeit a shared championship). They smothered opponents with ridiculously high score margins (42-9 against Oklahoma State, 82-27 against Texas Tech, 42-3 against Ole Miss, etc.). But no, it was not enough. That means there's a chance that this year's accomplishments might not be good enough either--all the more reason to fight even harder than hard.
2) Remember, if you're a senior, this your last chance to polish your resume.
What is the thing people think about after college? Jobs. For the seniors on the team, the dream job is the NFL. Unless anyone plans on staying for grad school, this will be the last time these seniors will be able to show off for NFL scouts. There are 15 senior starters on the post-spring depth chart, so this season is about more than just getting wins. It's about building draft stock.
Gah! That heinous number we keep hearing from that one team! But face it, people. That was TCU's one flaw in last year's schedule. It can't be erased, but it can at least get better in 2015. If the predictions ended up being right after all, and it all came down to Baylor and TCU, the Frogs are tasked with proving that they are the, ahem, One True Champion.
There's a secret to surviving the sugar rush: stay grounded and keep grinding. The summer before football season can be a very neurotic time of the year. We float through the flood of previews and predictions, stats and speculations... to be honest, we're all really just guessing. No matter how much you hype up or break down a team, anything can happen. Oklahoma can beat Alabama at the Sugar Bowl and tank the season after. TCU could go 4-8 one year and win the Conference Championship the next.
You really just never know. So stay away from the sugar, and eat your vegetables.