By Jeff Wilson
Frogs Today senior writer
Something very strange has happened in the course of a week.
TCU was getting roasted into last week by many pundits as a faux No. 4 team after escaping Waco with a 29-28 win Nov. 19. The Horned Frogs did not belong in the College Football Playoff top four, stiffs such as Paul Finebaum said.
Baylor isn’t bad, especially at home and especially in a rivalry game.
A week later, though, many were saying that TCU will be in the CFP even if it loses Saturday in the Big 12 championship game, a 180 in attitude brought on by a 62-14 home victory over an Iowa State team.
The Cyclones are no Baylor and played every bit as badly as their 4-8, 1-8 record suggests.
First, here’s hoping those now on the TCU bandwagon are right.
As a sports writer, I have a deeply held belief that if the team I cover qualifies for a bowl game, I better get some airline miles and hotel points out of it. That’s why I don’t want TCU to go to the Cotton Bowl, which quickly comes into play should Kansas State pull the upset in the Big 12 title game.
(The Cotton Bowl, by the way, is a well-oiled machine. It’s a terrific game to cover when airline miles and hotel points aren’t on the line.)
But the new stance on the Frogs comes with (gasp!) logic. They are one of three teams to run the table in the regular season. Second-place Kansas State has three losses, two in conference play. TCU dominated the Big 12, which is one of the nation’s toughest conferences, and the Frogs’ strength of record is No. 1 in the country.
A loss now in an extra game that almost the those outside the CFP top five aren’t playing in shouldn’t change what TCU did in reaching No. 3.
That’s a really good argument in level-headed minds, which don’t necessarily exist in the fan bases of Ohio State, Tennessee and Alabama. And maybe not the CFP committee.
That group will decide TCU’s fate, win or lose.
A win makes the decision much easier.
The TCU men’s team captured the Emerald Coast Classic title Saturday, dispatching No. 25 Iowa on Saturday after beating Cal on Friday.
Mike Miles Jr. was the tournament MVP after missing a few games with a bone bruise in his left foot.
The Iowa game was the Frogs’ sixth of the season, and that’s the magic number for senior guard Damion Baugh.
His suspension for working with an unregistered agent over the summer is over. He is expected to play Wednesday as TCU plays host to Providence in the Big 12/Big East Battle.
The Frogs are 5-1, but Baugh has been missed. That was especially so when TCU was without Miles. Baugh is a solid defensive player, and the Frogs’ perimeter defense has been lacking at times. He’s also a solid distributor, and the offense stagnated at times without him handling the ball.
His return might not be seamless, coach Jamie Dixon has warned. TCU will have a new look yet again early this season, and it might take time for the Frogs to find their rhythm.
With forward Emanuel Miller nursing a sore back, TCU still won’t be at full strength. But Baugh will be back, and that’s a big deal.
Just when we think we can take a breath, something great happens with TCU sports and Frogs Today jumps back into action. It’s not just this fine website, but the growing lineup of Frogs Today TV shows and podcasts. If you’re not subscribing, you should be. Need more convincing, here’s our latest content in case you missed it.
Monday Morning Quarterback: The revenge tour
Hair of the dog: Beware of the committee
What to watch this week
The main attraction this week is, of course, the Big 12 title game. But it’s not the only attraction.
Men’s basketball: vs. Providence, 7 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN+)
Women’s basketball: vs. Incarnate Word, noon Tuesday (ESPN+); at Rice, 7 p.m. Friday (ESPN+)
Football: Big 12 championship game vs. Kansas State, 11 a.m. Saturday, AT&T Stadium, Arlington (ABC)
Women’s volleyball: NCAA Tournament vs. Washington, 4:30 p.m. Friday, Madison, Wis. (ESPN+)
The lighter side
“Pubic lice:” The Ohio State film breakdown got pretty ugly after the Michigan loss. Take a look for yourself.
Best save of the year: Not the biggest soccer fan here, though I do enjoy watching my 7-year-old daughter play. Those girls get after it.
And they actually score goals!
I’m pulling for Team USA on Tuesday in the World Cup against Iran, whose players are showing courage in their acts of protest against the Iranian regime. I hope the regime’s acts of retaliation aren’t too harsh.
But no goalie this entire tournament is going to make a save like this one.
Bad golf shots: The sound on makes this even better.
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com