The second College Football Playoff Rankings were released Tuesday night, with a big switch-up amid the top 4. TCU became the first Big 12 team to be ranked in the top 4 since Oklahoma in 2017.
Georgia claimed the top spot after knocking off Tennessee in Athens on Saturday. From the Big 10, Ohio State remained at No. 2 meanwhile Michigan moved into the CFP field at No. 3. Clemson dropped all the way to No. 10 after their lopsided loss to Notre Dame, which opened up the No. 4 spot.
How TCU Got Here
TCU has been strong all season long, earning a 9-0 record heading into the final stretch of the season.
The first three opponents this year were a breeze for the Horned Frogs, much more so than the ensuing four were. TCU faced four ranked teams in a row in the middle of the season and escaped with wins in all four. That’s where the bulk of TCU’s playoff case comes from. With those huge ranked, conference wins, TCU is ranked fourth in terms of strength of record according to ESPN.
Max Duggan is another clear reason TCU is where it is. Duggan has made a name for himself, earning the fourth-best passer rating in the nation. He has thrown for 2,407 yards, 24 touchdowns, and just two interceptions. He leads the Big 12 in both yards and passing touchdowns.
Running back Kendre Miller has also had a huge role in the Horned Frogs’ success. Miller cracked the 1,000-yard milestone last week and has found the endzone 12 times.
Duggan and Miller will continue to be a focal point of the offense if TCU hopes to continue its unbeaten streak.
The Horned Frogs have three games remaining on their regular season schedule. TCU travels to Austin, TX for a huge matchup against No. 18 Texas. From there, Duggan and company will wrap up their season with matchups against Baylor and Iowa State.
According to ESPN, TCU is ranked No. 1 in terms of remaining schedule, and as a result, only has a 3.8% chance of winning out.
While it is not yet guaranteed, TCU is almost locked in for a spot in the Big 12 Championship game. A win on Saturday in Austin will secure a spot for the Horned Frogs. TCU only has one appearance in the Big 12 Championship, which ended with a loss in 2017.
Given the fact that no team has less than three losses in the Big 12 aside from TCU, it will be a necessity for TCU to win the conference championship. The CFP committee will be critical if TCU falls to a three-loss team in the championship game, even if they finish the regular season undefeated.
TCU in the CFP Rankings
The Horned Frogs have been ranked in the CFP rankings 21 times. This season was the first time TCU has been back inside the CFP Top 25 since the 2017 season and was just the fourth season that the Horned Frogs have been featured in the rankings.
In 2014, TCU peaked at No. 3, which is the team’s highest CFP ranking to date. Tuesday’s No. 4 ranking was just the third week that the Horned Frogs were ranked inside the top 4. The prior two occurrences both happened during the CFP’s inaugural 2014 season. TCU finished as the No. 6 team in the nation on selection day, and notably missed the playoff despite being ranked No. 3 at the end of the regular season.
However, 2014 was one of the years where there was no Big 12 Championship, which is not the case this year. The Horned Frogs will hope to win out and find a spot in the Big 12 Championship game. The ultimate goal, however, is to be in the top 4 on December 4.