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TCU News: Frogs fend off Belmont, Football crushes it in TV ratings

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Here are your morning links!

Football

Tiny TCU bringing in big TV audiences | Fort Worth Star Telegram

TCU has the smallest enrollment of any Big 12 school, and yet, they’re consistently a top-3 Big 12 school in terms of TV ratings.

The Horned Frogs ranked among the weekend’s 10 highest-rated games three times: in Week 11 against No. 5 Oklahoma (1.8 rating), Week 9 at No. 25 Iowa State (1.8) and Week 4 at No. 6 Oklahoma State (1.5).

The rating for that 14-7 loss to the Cyclones was particularly impressive when you consider that game was going head-to-head with a thrilling back-and-forth battle that saw then-No. 6 Ohio State top then-No. 2 Penn State by one point at the Horseshoe in Columbus.

Will TCU’s Gary Patterson be the most dangerous man on the field for the Big 12 title game? | Dallas Morning News

Chuck Carlton is picking the Frogs to win the Big 12 Championship.

Giving Gary Patterson a second chance to slow down an offense is dangerous. TCU's pride had to be hurt by that first half at Oklahoma this season. Can TCU somehow keep Oklahoma to the low 30s and can the TCU offense avoid mistakes and match the Sooners score for score? Kenny Hill looked pretty good in his return against Baylor and Patterson said TCU is as healthy as its been all season. Think we're looking at a game decided in the final two minutes. My head is saying OU. My gut has been saying that Big 12 title game turns out to be a double-edged sword and TCU wins.

Which Teams Are in Best Position to Play Spoiler to the Playoff Picture? | Sports Illustrated

We’ll just skip the part where the author, Joan, suggests that TCU & the Big 12 Championship both reside in Dallas.

Still, to me this game comes down to each team’s best players, and Baker Mayfield is better than every player in purple on the field. It’s been an emotional few weeks for the senior, but he finished last Saturday’s game against West Virginia on a high note, logging his second-highest passer rating of the season. (His best mark came in Week 1 against UTEP.) If Mayfield is himself, this one will go to Oklahoma, but if TCU can find a way to stop the Heisman front-runner, it’ll have a chance to play spoiler.

Oklahoma Sooners Football: Big 12 Championship Q&A with Frogs O’ War | Crimson and Cream Machine

Melissa went into enemy territory to answer questions about Saturday’s game.

Starting safety Nick Orr will out for the first half after last Friday's brawl in the Baylor game. Who will step into his place in the first half and what should we know about him?

Innis Gaines and Markell Simmons are the two main guys that will be charged with filling his role, and both guys have played significant snaps already this season, both as rotational guys and injury replacements. Gaines is a thumper; he doesn't have great speed but he brings the heat, while Simmons has really come on strong over the past two games as an intelligent, heady player with plus speed and good coverage skills. To play safety in GP's 4-2-5, you have to be smart and versatile, and both of those guys are more than capable of filling in well. The key is the health of Small - if he is 100%, I am far less worried about Orr's absence. That being said, he's a senior who has played in big games, and losing his experience and presence on the back end, especially against a guy like Mayfield, is a huge loss.

CFP conspiracy? An expert spells it out for TCU | Fort Worth Star Telegram

Mac Engel got back in touch with former Kansas coach Mark Mangino to chat about the disadvantage schools like TCU face.

“When all things are equal, it’s human nature to give the benefit of the doubt to the people who have done it better longer,” Mangino said a phone interview this week. “You want a dream house and you buy a lot and you have find two contractors. The contractors come back and they give you the exact same bid using the exact same materials. Everything is the same.

“When it’s all done you think, ‘Who should I pick?’ You ask the first contractor how long he’s been doing it and he says 30 years. You ask the second contractor the same thing and he says five years. Who do you go with? You go with the contractor who has been doing it longer.”

Oklahoma has just been doing it longer. The same for Alabama, Clemson, etc. and especially Ohio State.

Men’s Basketball

TCU has to fight to hold off scrappy Belmont | Fort Worth Star Telegram

The Frogs moved to 7-0 on the season, and survived an onslaught from Belmont in the second half that saw the Bruins shoot 7-14 from three-point range.

Though TCU led for more than 37 minutes, defensive troubles let the Bruins back in. TCU gave up too many layups.

“We’ve got to finish games better,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said. “We’ve got to sustain. We can’t give up the layups we did.

No. 23 TCU beats Belmont 87-76 | GoFrogs.com

TCU moved to 7-0 behind 22 points from Vlad Brodziansky and 16 from JD Miller.

The 6-foot-11 senior from Slovakia was 5 of 6 from 3-point range and 8 of 11 overall in TCU's first game since returning to The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in almost three years. The Frogs, who were in the poll for a week at No. 25 in 2014, have their highest ranking since they were 21st in January 1999.

JD Miller had 16 points and eight rebounds for TCU, which won its last five games last season on the way to the NIT championship and is off to a 7-0 start for the third time in four seasons.