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2017 TCU Football Preview: The Kenny Hill Farewell Tour

Here’s how to feel about Kenny Hill’s last season of college football.

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Friday, November 24 at approximately 11 AM CT, could potentially be the last football game that Kenneth Hill Jr. plays in. I certainly hope that isn’t the case because I’m the founder, CEO, treasurer, scribe, and security chair of the Kenny Hill fan club.

After all, I’ve pretty much followed him all the way back since his years at Southlake Carroll High School. I saw him during his senior year where he recorded 54 combined touchdowns and was awarded with the Gatorade Texas Player of the Year award. Then I watched him play at Texas A&M, where he backed up Johnny Manziel for a season, while getting some playing time as a true freshman every once in a while. Then the following year where he played like he was shot out of a cannon for 6 games right before he lost the starting job to Kyle Allen, before announcing his transfer to TCU at the end of the season. Then spending a year on the practice squad before taking his position as the starter for the 2016 season. So it’s been a strange journey for Kenny to say the least, but that’s why part of me enjoys watching him so much. Everything he does (for better or for worse) just makes the Legend of Kenny Hill that much more fascinating.

Unlike at A&M, he wasn’t billed as the heir apparent to the program. He came from backing up one great player who wore #2 to more or less backing up another great player who wore #2 (I miss you Tre Tre). I’m sure the irony wasn’t lost on him.

For anyone that has either followed any of my writing or social media posts over the past year and a half will know that I am a Kenny optimist. I believe that he can be great, as good as some of the TCU greats that came before him and etc. Alas, last year he didn’t always play like that and I’m sure people on the Twitter will be quick to point out some of his flaws (and I’m sure he knows he needs to do better more so than anyone else).

For all you Game of Thrones fans allow me to inject a metaphor here. I’m like the Ser Davos to Kenny’s Jon Snow...or on his worst days his Stannis Baratheon. I’m always going to be his hype man, I’m always going to believe that he is the chosen one, I’m always going to be the first one to believe in Hill as we fall to a double digit deficit heading into the 4th quarter. Why? Well like I said earlier, maybe it’s because I’ve followed him for so long, more or less since the beginning of his football “stardom”, and I’m more emotionally attached than others. Maybe it’s because I pick TCU to go 12-0 every year and I buy into the prophecy that GP will lead us to the promised land one day? Who knows? Maybe he will stink this year and get benched in week 4 because CFB has a sick and cruel sense of humor.

So in my mind there’s really only three ways that this season goes for Kenny.

  1. We go 15-0, he wins the Heisman and the ‘Ship, goes down as the greatest TCU quarterback of all time, and rides off into the sunset like Tom Brady should’ve done last year
  2. We go somewhere in the ball park of 10-2 to 9-3, Hill gives a good performance all season, and then quietly slips out the door in a humble manner just like Tim Duncan did back in 2015.
  3. We go 6-6 or something just as disappointing and Kenny is never able to reach his full potential. His last game of college football is one where there are no stakes at all (See Bryant, Kobe), which would be the most heartbreaking outcome because he deserves to be on a big stage. *Kenny don’t let this happen*

Let’s now quickly preview each game and try to predict what the Kenny Hill farewell tour will potentially look like.

Week 1: Vs. Jackson State

This season opener isn’t as close as last year’s, thanks to a better defense and HOPEFULLY LESS DOUG ON FOUR LOKO PLAY CALLS (I still love you Doug). Kenny gets in a rhythm early, throws for 4 TD’s and rushes for another. Puts up a bunch of yards in a more or less pointless game just like Lamar Jackson last year (unnecessary shade, but true). Frogs cruise to a 1-0 record.

Week 2: @ Arkansas

*Deep inhale* Revenge is a dish best served cold. A lot of Frog fans may be worried in this game, and could be asking themselves “Is Kenny going to get rattled on the road in a hostile environment?” and I will for sure be one of those people. However he puts those worries to rest as the offense comes out calm and methodical. A KaVontae slant for a TD here, a forced fumble there, all of this leads to a solid performance by Kenny. It’s nothing flashy but he does rush for 3 TD’s, two of which are Tim Tebow five yard line QB keepers. Frogs leave Fayettevillle with a win. The train builds momentum as the Frogs are now 2-0.

Week 3: Vs. SMU

This game could be closer than we think depending on how much improvement SMU has made between now and last season. That being said, I still think we are able to handle them thanks to a much improved defense, and nobody has to see the double reverse flea flicker ever again. Kenny throws for 450ish yards and 6 touchdowns, 3 of which go to all team swiss army knife Kyle Hicks. The Frogs pound the ponies to get to 3-0.

Week 4: @ Oklahoma State

Now we really get into the chosen one prophecy as conference play and the real competition begins. Nobody, not even Boykin, could win in Stillwater. Blame it on food poisoning and what not, but the Frogs still have never gotten a W on the Pokes’ home field. WELL THAT ALL CHANGES WHEN THE REBORN KENNETH OF HOUSE HILL, SECOND OF HIS NAME, HAS HIS FIRST HEISMAN MOMENT OF THE SEASON.

In a game where over 90 points are scored, and what is considered to be a top 5 game of the entire CFB season, we finally see the first true signs of Kenny Hill fulfilling the Player that was Promised prophecy. Now I know 90 points is considered nothing special in the Big 12, but hang with me. TCU jumps out to a 14 point lead but not before Mason “Nice name” Rudolph and James “lemme run a vertical route” Washington gets the Pokes back in the game. Heading into the half, down by a score, TCU rallies behind Kenny and the offense and it turns into a back and forth contest all the way until the final minutes.

Hill leads an 80 yard drive where he hits Jalen Raegor in the back of the end-zone for the go ahead touch down, wrapping up his 5 TD day. The Pokes have one last drive that ends in a back breaking pick to Ranthony Texada, who immediately does his rendition of Lebron James’ The Silence celebration. TCU takes a knee and leaves the victors. Full speed ahead on the Hill Train, Frogs are 4-0.

Week 5: Vs West Virginia

It would be easy for TCU to get caught with their proverbial pants around their ankles here. But Gary always keeps this team woke and in ship shape after a bye week. Nothing really special happens here, we get a big game from Kyle Hicks once again, but not before we get a nice 400 passing yard performance from Hill, and sends the Dana hot seat up in flames. A game that starts close gets blown wide open as TCU rolls to 5-0.

Week 6: @ Kansas State

Ouch. This is a tough one. The Kenny September hype train is in full motion, but Billy Snyder and Jesse Ertz send TCU off the rails in this one. It’s in Manhattan and I have a feeling a lot of us are really sleeping on this Wildcat team. I think they’ll show up big in a couple of games this season, this one included. All this being said, I think Kenny does his best to bounce back from an early turnover, but alas the K-State defensive front seven appears to be too much for our O line and it’s too late for the offense to get going. Frogs take their first L of the season, 5-1. You know what, hayul nah, I’m all in on this team and I’m going super homer pick here.

For the second time in three years, the Frogs pull themselves out of a hole on the road in the house that Snyder built. Kenny does his best Deuce boogie impression and takes a 75 yard run to the house and I accidentally set my apartment on fire in celebration. Frogs escape with another dramatic win, all aboard the hype train 6-0.

Week 7: Vs. Kansas

It’s the Doug Meacham homecoming everyone. In what has proven to be the closest game that TCU plays every year, every frog in Amon G. Carter stadium is on edge. As they should be, Doug’s got a chip on his shoulder and he helps coach up this Jayhawks squad to overachieve in this game. They hang 28 points on a good TCU team.

Unfortunately for them they’re playing against the 2017/2018 Heisman winner, Kenny of house Hill. As “All The Way Up” by Fat Joe blasts through the speakers before kick off, TCU runs the score wayyyy wayyy waaaaaaaayy up on the hawks, sending them home behind a dominant running performance by all 3 running backs and 2 passing TD’s from our QB. Frogs win 55-28 and finally beat KU in a game that isn’t close. Make way for the hype train tracks, 7-0.

Week 8: @ Iowa State

Stay on upset alert here folks, bad things can happen to good teams in Ames...but not today. Thanks to some Kenny escape out of the backfield magic, TCU is able to keep the momentum on several crucial drives alive. It’s closer than we would like, but the Frogs get up by 7 before hanging up two more scores in garbage time. No murder on the orient express today, as everyone is staying alive on this train. 8-0.

Week 9: Vs. Texas

Ahhhhh here we go. I am personally excited for this game because I want to see how Herman’s coaching ability and the talent recruited by the artist formerly known as Charlie Strong come together here. I think it’ll take one more year for Herman to really get the Horns going again, but that doesn’t mean that this game will be a walk in the park by any means.

The Horns come out swinging and strike first. It’s a deep ball love fest early in this one as both teams chuck it deep for their first two touchdowns. However, I still have to give TCU the coaching edge here and GP tells Herman to take a seat and watch how the veterans do it. Sewo runs through a gassed Texas defense and Hill runs some nice option plays. Add on some nice throws to Turpin, Cole Hunt, and another to freshman darling Jalen Reagor and next thing you know Hill has himself a 3 TD day. Texas may be on its way back to prominence, but it’s not today.

Week 10: @ Oklahoma

OOOOOOOH BABY LET’S GET READY FOR A CHIP FEST. Two players that will see each other again in New York for a certain award ceremony go head to head in this one. Hill against Mayfield. Who you got? You all already know who I got. It’s time for Kenny’s next big Heisman moment. After all, it’s time for the Sooners to put some respeck on his name.

It’s cold in Norman so we rely more on the run game than we have in the past. Kyle Hicks has the biggest game of his career, filling up the stat sheet like Le’Veon Bell. But this is a back and forth affair. Nothing is easy when you are a TCU fan, especially when it’s against OU. Luckily for us we don’t have any play calls where Kenny is throwing a lead block on an end around play (WTF DOUG). On the other end of the field the Frog defense is salty and coached up. The Sooners have talent, but during the half time break Gary tears his shirt in half and gets the Frogs way too hyped up to lose.

It’s time for the second half. The first play from TCU is a nice run by Kenny who gets shoved out of bounds on a late push, straight into Baker, and the flag is thrown. Kenny cocks his head back in the cheekiest way in front of Mayfield. Resulting in the chip on the latter’s shoulder to grow too big for him to throw straight passes anymore.

TCU locks down on the Sooners and Kenny front flips into the endzone for the win. It’s dramatic, chippy, and all too fun for the team in purple. There’s a purple haze over Norman today (RIP PRINCE!!!). The heisman hype train is too much for ESPN to keep talking about the SEC every college game day. It’s not too late to get on board everyone, 10-0.

Week 11: @ Texas Tech

We all know weird things happen in Lubbock. We also know that there are typically bad defenses in Lubbock. Hopefully this game gets scheduled in the morning or early afternoon because nobody wants to play in Raiderville at night. Nobody. I tried to hold myself back from making this pick, but in honor of Patrick Mahomes moving on to greener pastures, Kenny and the TCU offense try to do their best tribute to Mahomes.

800 yards of total offense later, TCU walks out of Lubbock with a landslide win. This pretty much guarantees the heisman coming home to Fort Worth. At this point everyone knows that Kenny’s going to win the most prestigious award in college football. It’s only a matter of time at this point. The hype train can barrel through anything now. 11-0.

Week 12: Vs. Baylor

Do I even need to write a paragraph about how we’re going to beat Baylor 70-6?

*Sighs* okay.

The day after Thanksgiving, all of the Frog fans have yet another thing to be thankful for. The magical journey that has been this season. The amazing spectacle that has been Kenny’s farewell tour. There are eyes full of tears of joy, even though we haven’t won the national championship (yet). TCU doesn’t let anything stand in the way of Kenny’s path to eternal glory and a potential championship berth. That includes the team in green and gold.

TCU is way too up to back down now. The offense and the defense come out swinging hard. Baylor never stood a chance in this iteration of the annual rivalry game. Matt Rhule is a great guy and a good coach, but there will still be growing pains for the team in Waco. Kenny gets pulled after the 3rd quarter after the Frogs are up by 50, but not before he has a 5 TD day of course. It’s his award just give it to him already.

Fast forward to the second weekend of December. There are 6 finalists, but we all know who the one winner will be. After three years as a starter, Kenny was finally able to temper himself and become the player that was promised all of those years ago. He hears his name called at the heisman ceremony, hugs his parents and then GP, daps up Johnny Manziel on his way to the podium and then thanks the Frog faithful for giving him a second (and third) chance. He holds the trophy up high over his head and confetti falls over Fort Worth thousands of miles away.

No you’re crying right now.

So, like I said earlier, there are really three possibilities for the Kenny farewell tour. I chose the one that I believe can happen...than also happens to be my favorite. I do believe in Kenny and more importantly in this team. Patterson has always shown that he bounces back after a down season. Could we go 6-6? God I hope not, but it sure is possible since our schedule is more brutal than riding the Texas Titan at 6 flags for the first time. Is it more realistic for us to go 9-3 or 10-2? Absolutely, and I will count that season as a huge success. But I believe (every year) that we can go 12-0 and win the Big 12. I may be taking a huge gamble, but what can I say...I’m a man of fortune and I must seek my fortune.

Regardless of how it all ends, Kenny it’s been one hell of a ride.