2018 TCU projections on the Hour Glass
By John Luke McCord
If TCU returned an experienced quarterback they would be a no doubt pick to win the Big12, but instead it’s West Virginia who brings back the best QB in the league in Will Grier. However, with Shawn Robinson stepping in to replace Kenny Hill it is possible the Frogs could have a better QB than Oklahoma who is expected to start Kyler Murray. While Texas is another team that has the talent to win the conference, and has experience at QB, they haven’t settled on who will be QB1 this season just yet. Oklahoma State, of course, loses their star QB Mason Rudolph to the 2018 NFL Draft, as well.
Other than the quarterback position, there are a few other areas to examine when considering TCU’s conference championship hopes. First, Gary Patterson could well be the league’s best coach, though his Hour Glass coaching stamp of 11 puts him third in the Big12. Then there’s the schedule, which ranks as the ninth easiest among Big12 teams, but does include a non-conference date with Ohio State. Lastly, there’s the talent level (the reason I say the Frogs would be conference favorites with QB experience). According to the Hour Glass 3-year recruiting data, TCU ranks third in the Big12 and 22nd in the FBS. The top 15 teams in 3-year recruiting stamp are within the group of “realistic nation championship” contenders, while the top 30 teams are considered “realistic CFB playoff” contenders.
So let’s look at some of those talented returning players. Darius Anderson did not have the most carries for TCU last season, but he did lead the team with 768 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging six yards per rush. Expect him to take a much larger role this season as not only his carries increase but so does his responsibility to carry the offense. The passing game should still be explosive with a talented thrower in Robinson taking the reins. After all, the Frogs roster is still chock full of receivers that keep Big12 defensive coordinators up at night even this time of year. Omar Manning should take a step and incoming tight end Pro Wells will help as well, but veterans KaVontae Turpin, Jalen Reagor, Taye Barber, Jaelan Austin, Dylan Thomas and Jarrison Stewart will do the bulk of the work.
Where Patterson’s program has set itself apart in a league known for its offenses is on the defensive side of the ball. While the offseason should benefit the depth of this unit in 2018, the starting 11 will have experience and talent enough to go get the ball from opponents this fall. It starts up front with Ben Banogu - who registered 16.5 TFLs in 2017 - and Ross Blacklock. They will pressure opponents’ backfield, while DBs Niko Small, Innis Gaines, Jeff Gladney and others try to get their hands on the football. At linebacker, Ty Summers, Arico Evans and Montrel Wilson should provide solid help against the run and the pass.
HG analytics pick: 10-2, 3rd in Big12
My pick: 9-3, 3rd in Big12
2017 TCU Hour Glass Pick at 9-3; Actual finish @ 10-2 (92 Percent Accuracy)
Hour Glass National Recruiting Ranking: 22nd – INSIDE our College Football Playoff bust line on our talent index.
National Coaching Rank for Gary Patterson on HG Scale: 17th (Patterson Stamp at 11) – Average coaching value for 2018 set at 3.75.
Returning TCU quarterback play rated 498th in the country in our Power Five Rankings with a stamp of 3.1. Average quarterback stamp nationally for 2018 is 8.3.