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Midweek Musing: TCU, Iowa, and the Spiderman Meme

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Are the Hawkeyes the blueprint for TCU? At least one writer thinks so.

Links O' War
Links O’ War
Danny Mourning

Okay, okay, because I am legally required to warn you...


Also incoming?

I think he might be right.

I don’t know if the parallels between Kirk Ferentz and Gary Patterson are completely inline, but they aren’t that far off, either. As college football’s two longest tenured coaches, they are apt to be compared. The Hawkeyes have played in 17 bowls since Ferentz took over, winning nine. The Horned Frogs? 11-6 in 17 chances. TCU has finished as a ranked team 11 times, Iowa nine.

The Frogs’ best seasons came as they tore through the group of five and when they had a very special talent at QB, while Iowa has soared when the Big Ten has been weak and in years they could avoid a good Ohio State team.

Somehow, the Hawkeyes have reached the top five in polls, #3 in fact, based off of their 5-0 record and the fact that outside of Alabama and Georgia, few have impressed. But I don’t think many would expect Iowa to beat either powerhouse, not with the 2015 Rose Bowl still fresh enough in our minds.

Engel’s argument is that TCU isn’t Texas, and that making a move at head coach isn’t going to “fix” TCU Football. Knee jerk reactions didn’t work for the Longhorns (we will wait and see on Sark), and the Frogs aren’t the kind of program that expects to have to make them.

Much like Patterson, Ferentz has been loyal, and you could argue with both that the ending statement to that line should be “to a fault”. The stark difference is that Ferentz has kept people around who aren’t the best people while GP has vowed to take care of the guys that have been by his side for decades... maybe regardless of the results on the field.

As Engel writes, “TCU is an OK football program”. It’s true. Hovering just about .500 for the last five seasons, the Horned Frogs haven’t impressed since 2017. They’ve been fine by most standards, in the conversation with the Oklahoma States, Wisconsins, and Ole Misses of the world. Programs that can rise up and win ten games but are generally going to be clawing their way out of the middle of the pack in a Power Five conference.

The question for TCU fans now is simple: is this a good program that has moments of greatness or a great program? And what should we realistically expect from it year to year?

For a while, I thought the Horned Frogs should win 8+ games annually and 10+ every three years or so. But once TCU entered the Big 12, maybe that expectation is unfair. Maybe this is a bowl eligible program that can whip out a special season when they catch lightning in a bottle at quarterback and have a couple of dynamic players reach their peak consecutively.

The program has finally reached that malaise, or lull, that so many teams inevitably go through under the same coaching staff.

Ending that lull probably doesn’t start with GP.

Maybe it starts with the rest of the staff. Or with changes at key positions on the field. Maybe 2021 wasn’t the year and 2022 is. Maybe those 20-25 players that Patterson says the SEC is calling leave, or maybe they stay.

Maybe TCU can be a great program, or maybe it’s a good program with moments of greatness.

Maybe a good program with 10,000 undergrads winning 6-8 games a year is good enough in today’s college football, or maybe it isn’t.

I don’t know what the realistic expectations are for the Horned Frogs, or what they should be. I just know that this isn’t fun, and hasn’t been, for three years.

So do we need to change? Or does TCU Football?

I don’t know the answer to that either.