WE MADE IT.
After months of offseason drama, more college football controversy, another scummy head coach getting away with harboring horrible human beings, we finally get to watch college football.
It’s game week.
For 99% of college football fans across the country, they go into week one feeling like they have a chance. A chance at a bowl game. A chance at a conference championship. A chance at the College Football Playoffs.
Hope sure does spring eternal in August.
For TCU fans, there is plenty of reason to be excited, and a handful of reasons to camp out in the land of cautious optimism. After two years of Kenny Hill, Shawn Robinson officially takes over QB1, looking to live up to the hype he created after winning a state championship for DeSoto as a high school senior. The Kyle Hicks era is over, leaving Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua to take over lead duties in toting the rock. The steady hands and veteran leadership of John Diarse is now in Denver with the Broncos, and it’s time for Jaelan Austin and Jarrison Stewart to take over leadership duties - and sophomore Jalen Reagor to ascend to superstar status.
It’s the swan song for KaVontae Turpin, one of the most electric and exciting players to ever don the purple. The same is true for defensive end Ben Banogu, safety Niko Small, and Ty Summers - who is likely to end the season as the most productive defender in the history of the Gary Patterson era.
Two seniors on the offensive line will likely be starters for the first time in their career, as rotational players Casey McDermott Vai and Chris Gaynor/Trey Elliot look to take bigger roles in their last go-round.
And while the 16 seniors on the two-deep look to close their TCU careers strong, the 14 first or second year players expect to build a solid foundation for their time in the program and announce themselves on the national stage. The Frogs will not start a single true freshman on Saturday, but with the new redshirt rules, expect to see several play. Guys like Ochaun Mathis, John Stephens Jr, DeMauryon Holmes, Trevon Moehrig-Woodard, and Ar’Darius Washington will likely all get their feet wet against Southern as they work to prove they are ready to match the speed of the collegiate game.
The Southern Jaguars of Louisiana won’t be a barometer of the future of the Horned Frogs, but more of an introduction to the 2018 season. But it won’t be long before we learn about this team. A tricky crosstown Friday night rivalry game at SMU precedes the anticipated showdown against Ohio State (though not Urban Meyer) at AT&T Stadium, which is followed by a Big 12 Conference tone-setter against the Longhorns - a team TCU has outscored by 163-33 margin over the last four seasons yet is currently being given a 73% chance to beat the Frogs in Austin. The first conference home game takes place on September 29th, a chance for revenge against Matt Campbell and his rising Cyclones. That brutal five game stretch will tell us an awful lot about this version of the Frogs.
TCU won 11 games a season ago, and has 40 wins across the last four years. Can this year’s team continue to win big, or will they take a step back as young players find their way? What we know about Gary Patterson on the eve of his 18th season in Funky Town is that they will be prepared, they will be well coached, they will work hard, and they will expect to compete week in and week out.
On Saturday, the 2018 journey begins. Where it will end...? That’s the fun of the journey.
It’s football time.