The 2022 TCU football team authored one of the most surprising seasons in college football history. It is extremely rare that a team not ranked in the preseason top 25 of either the Associated Press poll or the coaches’ poll makes the national championship game and finishes No. 2 in the country. Yet, that’s what TCU did, coming from a spot completely off the radar to compete for a national championship. TCU upset No. 2 Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl to earn its way into the title game against Georgia, so it’s not as though TCU didn’t have to score a heavyweight victory to make the championship round. That win over Michigan was a big-time, proving-ground win. TCU was for real last year.
Now, of course, we need to see if TCU is for real this year. It won’t have the same personnel, which will make it very hard to climb back up the mountain for the Horned Frogs.
TCU Horned Frogs 2023 Futures
Odds To Win Big 12: +2100 at Bovada
Odds To Win National Championship: +20000 at Bovada
Best Bet To Win Heisman
Chandler Morris previously attended the University of Oklahoma. He transferred to TCU and now gets his chance to lead the Horned Frogs’ offense. Morris has not accumulated a heavy snap count, but he has witnessed a lot in his college football career and is one of those players for whom a raw number of snaps and overall football experience aren’t the same thing. They don’t translate very neatly. This is an experienced player. If he can lead TCU to the Big 12 championship, his Heisman odds would go up. The problem, of course, is that it will be very hard for TCU to top the Big 12 after leading the conference standings the whole way last year and making the Big 12 Championship Game. Morris is priced at +20000, a true long-shot candidate.
Pick: Chandler Morris
Best Player Prop To Bet
John Paul Richardson Receiving Yards
John Paul Richardson is a transfer from Oklahoma State who caught 49 passes for just over 500 yards last year. He felt that he wouldn’t have as much of an opportunity at Oklahoma State as he will at TCU. He can be the number one guy for a TCU receiver room which lost elite NFL prospect Quentin Johnston and other proven performers from last season’s national runner-up team. Because of this dynamic, it is realistic to think that if a receiving yards prop exists for Richardson, he might be able to exceed the number. He should get plenty of touches and many situational opportunities in which he can do damage as a high-profile starting receiver.
However, TCU had a special quarterback with Max Duggan last season. Duggan was the Heisman Trophy runner-up to USC’s Caleb Williams. Duggan was a great winner and team leader, not just a superb athlete with a lot of skills. Chandler Morris has talent, but it’s not yet known if he can be the leader TCU needs him to be in order for this offense to really take off and come somewhat close to matching the production of last season’s offense. Also notable: TCU lost offensive coordinator Garrett Riley to Clemson. That is going to matter as well. Go with the under for Richardson’s receiving yards if you see a prop this season.
Pick: John Paul Richardson under receiving yards
Regular Season Win Total
TCU is part of a Big 12 Conference which will have 14 teams for one season. Next season, Oklahoma and Texas will move to the SEC. The Big 12 previously had 10 teams. The conference had a nine-game schedule in which every team played every other team with no skips or avoidances. Now, with a 14-team Big 12 in 2023, the various teams in the league will miss playing a few of the other schools in the conference. Houston, Cincinnati, BYU, and UCF have joined the league.
Examining The Schedule
The strength of schedule for each team therefore becomes a real point of differentiation this year. When every team played every other team, they all had the same list of opponents. The only key difference was which games were home and which were away. In 2023, the caliber of opponent is once again a legitimate X-factor in the Big 12.
TCU’s toughest games of 2023 are as follows: at Houston, home against SMU in a nonconference game, at Iowa State, home against BYU, at Kansas State, at Texas Tech, home versus Texas, home versus Baylor, and at Oklahoma. You can see that TCU has to play Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma. A lot of Big 12 teams don’t have to play both the Longhorns and Sooners. The game at Kansas State is also extremely tough. The game at Texas Tech will be a very difficult assignment for the Frogs as well.
TCU will probably lose to Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Texas Tech. The home game against Baylor could be the game which determines whether the Frogs finish above the 7.5 win total, but when a team has four very likely losses, that really reduces the margin for error. TCU simply got the short end of the stick with the Big 12 schedule, and the massive turnover in personnel puts the Horned Frogs in a very tough spot. This was and is a year in which TCU needed to avoid either Texas or Oklahoma and also elude Kansas State. The Frogs have to play all three teams. That’s simply too many likely losses, and the presence of Chandler Morris might not be enough to replace Max Duggan, one of the most heralded and beloved players in TCU football history.
The loss of Garrett Riley, Lincoln Riley’s younger brother, might hurt more than a lot of people realize or appreciate. The fact that the Frogs also lose multiple quality receivers means that their passing game will have to, in many ways, start from scratch this year. Ultimately, the best betting strategy is to take the under with the TCU 7.5 win total.