The Frogs are back in the poll position for the New Year’s Six.
The top nine teams remain unchanged from last week with Miami falling in at second behind Alabama, with Oklahoma, Clemson, Wisconsin, Auburn, Georgia, Ohio State, and Notre Dame next in line. No. 10 TCU is the newest member of the top 10 in the AP poll after moving up one spot this week, followed by USC and Penn State with similar moves up. All three were bumped up after former No. 10 Oklahoma State fell to No. 18 this week following a home loss to Kansas State. No. 13 UCF, No. 14 Washington State, No. 15 Washington, No. 16 Mississippi State, and No. 17 Memphis all moved up a spot at the expense of the drop by the Cowboys.
I don’t understand the people that were complaining about the offensive game plan Saturday. It was run-heavy, option-heavy, and gave Robinson one on one looks on the mid range and deep balls. His receivers just didn’t make plays (something that has become an epidemic again).
Robinson deserves credit. So does Patterson. The coach took the pressure off the freshman by telling co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie to let Robinson know that “whatever happened, good or bad,” wasn’t on him.
“He doesn’t have to be Superman, just stay within himself and play and no matter what it’s not going to be his fault,” Patterson said.
By Saturday night, there was no fault to be assigned. Just credit.
And there was enough to go around.
The Frogs have the second highest strength of schedule in the country, and yet, with two losses, most consider them fully eliminated from playoff contention. But, should they beat OU in a Big 12 title game rematch, there is a legitimate argument that they deserve to make the final four over, say Ohio State or USC.
The Big 12 had already staged its most important games of the season before Saturday: Oklahoma, TCU and Oklahoma State all faced one another prior to Week 12, most recently a 38–20 Sooners win over the Horned Frogs in Norman last week that left Oklahoma alone atop the standings with one loss. But the conference still managed to advance its odds for a College Football Playoff berth.
The Sooners, who entered the weekend fourth in the committee’s latest rankings, blasted cellar-dweller Kansas, 41–3, in Lawrence. In doing so, they clinched a spot in the league title game, which will be held on Dec. 2 at AT&T Stadium. Oklahoma should maintain its place in the top four heading into December if it handles West Virginia next week.
Can the Red Raiders get to a bowl game? They’ll have to beat Texas to do so.
• The takeaway: Texas Tech: There will be plenty of questions about whether former Red Raiders quarterback Kliff Kingsbury has coached his last home game for his alma mater. They won their first seven games after Kingsbury became their coach in 2013, but are 22-32 since. After starting this season 4-1, Tech has to win its finale Friday night at Texas or will miss out on a bowl game for the third time in four seasons.
TCU: The Horned Frogs took the first step toward a possible rematch with No. 3 Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. TCU’s defense dominated, an effort capped by Jeff Gladney’s 93-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Frogs dominated this game, despite allowing a long, 21 play drive to start - that ended with just three points for the Red Raiders.
It’s not just that Tech lost 27-3 in the regular-season home finale. It’s how the Red Raiders lost and how they’ve been losing that makes folks seethe. For the second home game in a row, the other team beat Tech with a freshman quarterback, playing only because he had to. And if the Red Raiders’ 42-35 overtime defeat against Kansas State can be scrutinized for a missed field goal that would have wrapped up a Tech victory and a decision later to play for overtime, Saturday supplied even more head-shaking moments.
This was just 3 hours and 30 minutes of anguish, everything from TCU fumbling seven times and retrieving six to Tech’s plodding offense getting inside the Horned Frogs’ 30-yard line on six series and managing three points. And that was just part of it. About that failure to cash in: On those six series, Tech produced a field goal, two missed field goals, two turnovers and a turnover on downs.