TCU’s disappointing football regular season wraps up as the Horned Frogs travel to Norman to face the 14th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners on Friday.
With a win, TCU becomes bowl-eligible for the second consecutive season. Yet, a loss would likely keep the Horned Frogs out of a bowl game, making them the third team to fail to qualify after reaching the national championship game during the previous season since the NCAA began determining a champion on the field instead of relying on the postseason polls.
“We’re not thinking about a bowl game,” TCU defensive back Josh Newton told the media on November 20. “When we talk about what we’re thinking about this week, we have to think that way because when you look up, and there’s a hurdle right in front of you, what are you going to do? You’re going to trip. So we’re not looking up. We’re looking down. We’re seeing right in front of us which is the next practice tomorrow, the next beats, the next workout, and then just the next breath of living. [We] Can’t look too far. Gotta stay with the moment.”
TCU beat Baylor in its final home game of the season on November 18 to keep its bowl hopes alive, and head coach Sonny Dykes, in just his second season leading the program, pointed at his upperclassmen’s leadership, resiliency, and ability to handle adversity as crucial factors.
“You think about what these guys have been through; a coaching change is hard on players, just because you wake up one day and sometimes a coach you chose a school for isn’t there anymore,” he explained on November 21. “These relationships you have with these people, and there’s trust, and all these things go out the window. All of a sudden, it’s a brand new group of people and challenges in front of you, and it can be difficult. [It’s] just incredibly rewarding for those guys to weather that storm to have the success that we had last year, which in itself was quite a burden for a lot of those guys to carry.”
“It’s been a challenging couple of years, and [I’m] just really proud of those guys for having a great mindset, for playing as hard as they have, and practicing as hard as they have, and being good teammates, and dealing with all the success and all the failure and all the stuff in between,” Dykes added. “Just really proud of who they are and the way that they represent this university. …I’m just really proud of them for playing their tails off.”
November 24’s game is also the final time TCU and Oklahoma will play against each other for a while, as Oklahoma will officially become a member of the SEC next season. At the same time, TCU remains in the Big 12, and the schools have not scheduled any future meetings.
With that in mind, Dykes believes he will get the best from his team in the final meeting.
“I think the guys want to get to a bowl game,” he remarked. “I think the guys on this team like this team, [and] I think the guys on this team are frustrated that we’re in this position now. I think they feel the same way I do — that we want more games because we want a chance to prove ourselves [and] because we have not played to the level that we think we’re capable of playing. We want to make sure we do that on Friday and get to keep playing this year.”
TCU (5-6, 3-5 in the Big 12) will try to earn its sixth win of the season, while Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2) will attempt to clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship game when their final meeting kicks off at 11 a.m. CT on Friday, November 24.