TCU’s dream of an undefeated season may be over after a 40-28 loss to No. 4 Ohio State at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday, but far is the season from being lost.
The damage in the AP Top 25 poll was minimal for the Horned Frogs on Sunday, who only dropped two spots from No. 15 to No. 17 after hanging tight with the Buckeyes for roughly three quarters. While TCU didn’t earn any top 10 votes this time around, all but 12 of the voters had the Frogs within the top 20 on their ballots on Sunday.
Of course, there’s always going to be that one head-scratching ballot mixed in-between, but that’s far from the anyone’s biggest concern. Still, it’s important to keep those who determine the AP rankings accountable. So let’s take another look across the spectrum as it pertains to TCU.
Highest vote: No. 12 (Joey Kaufman, Orange County Register;
Brandon Marcello, 247Sports)
There’s no rule that says you can’t scoot a team up in the rankings after a loss, and Kaufman did just that after putting TCU at No. 12 on his ballot just a week after placing the Frogs at No. 13. Fair enough, considering TCU may have emerged victorious had it not been for three plays that ultimately led to 21 gifted points for Ohio State, as TCU head coach Gary Patterson described it.
For Marcello, it was a two spot drop for the Frogs after having them at No. 10 a week ago — mirroring the actual movement for TCU in the poll. Of course, there are plenty of voters who believe the Frogs are capable of much more than the national pundits suggest, and he appears to be one of them. Should the Frogs win a sixth straight meeting with Texas in dominant fashion next weekend, the Frogs should find themselves earning at least a couple of top 10 votes in the next poll.
Most popular vote: No. 17 (11 voters)
In the past weeks, the Frogs have a had a larger group of voters place them elsewhere on the ballot than at their actual AP ranking, but there appears to be more agreement this time around. For what it’s worth, eight voters apiece had TCU at No. 15 and No. 16 on Sunday, respectively, including some Ohio State media members. Needless to say, the best way to have an accurate ballot is indeed watching the games.
Lowest vote: Unranked (Keith Sargeant; NJ Advanced Media)
TCU absolutely had its ugly moments Saturday night, including a disastrous third quarter in which Ohio State scored 20 unanswered points in a span of approximately 4 minutes. But is that something that completely discredits a top 25 team that looked as if it may be on its way to an upset just beyond halftime?
Apparently so for Keith Sargeant, who dropped TCU from No. 15 to unranked on his latest ballot.
Sure, there’s a does of skepticism that is warranted considering the Frogs’ two victories prior to the Ohio State loss were against an FCS school and now an 0-3 AAC opponent. But it’s hard to argue that fight the Frogs put up for the first 45 minutes or so in Arlington on Saturday was a fluke. TCU’s speed was as much of a problem for Ohio State’s defense at it appeared. And an offense with as much talent as it does in the form of quarterback Dwayne Haskins and a pair of formidable running backs — Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins — doesn’t get held out of the endzone for an entire first half on accident.
Simply put, punish TCU to the ballpark of No. 20-25 on the ballot, and there are plenty of at least reasonable arguments you can defend your ballot with. Punish TCU to the point of being unranked, however, and good luck finding any valid argument. The fact that Duke, Cal and Kentucky — all three unranked teams — all found a way onto Sargeant’s ballot doesn’t help his case much either.
Other voting notes:
- Texas dismantled No. 22 USC in a 34-17 victory on Saturday, but the Longhorns are still unranked and earned just four votes on Sunday as they prepare for TCU.
- No voter had Ohio State lower than No. 6 after defeating TCU.
- Wisconsin fell all the way from No. 6 to No. 18 after a 24-21 home loss to BYU and was left off of one voter’s ballot — none other than Brett McMurphy.
- Auburn only fell two spots to No. 9 after losing to LSU on a last-second field goal, 22-21. LSU jumped from No. 12 to No. 6 as the Tigers improved to 3-0