Over the past couple of weeks, we've had a few crackpot posters trying to fill our heads with the insane notion that this two-loss Horned Frog team still has a shot at making a BCS bowl. Well guess what? The crackpots are right! The odds of it actually happening may be slim, but at this point you've got to at least entertain the possibility, don't you?
In order to obtain the "automatic" BCS bid set aside for teams in non-AQ conferences, TCU will need to:
1) Win their conference title.
2) Be the highest-ranked non-AQ conference champion.
3) Be ranked in the final BCS Top 12...or the final BCS Top 16 AND ahead of the lowest-ranked AQ conference champion.
If that's difficult for you to decipher, allow me to at least attempt to sort this out for you. First of all, their victory over Boise State on Saturday puts them in the driver's seat to win their third consecutive MWC title. So the Frogs can take care of requirement #1 by themselves with a win over Colorado State this coming Saturday. That would also eliminate Boise from the conversation, as they would not be conference champs.
TCU also has a fairly good chance at accomplishing requirement #3. They are ranked 19th in the current BCS standings after having been unranked last week. While jumping seven spots sounds like a tall order for a two-loss team, keep in mind that they'll likely only have to jump three spots to 16th. That's because our old friends in the Big East do not currently have anyone ranked in the BCS Top 25. And since it's not hard to imagine three teams ahead of the Frogs losing in the coming weeks, requirement #3 could be met as long as TCU takes care of business against Colorado State and UNLV.
What makes this whole scenario a longshot, though, is requirement #2. There are a few teams that could beat out the Frogs in that regard, starting with the 10-0 Houston Cougars- who are ranked 11th and currently in the catbird seat to grab this BCS spot. If they win out, they're in. Staring at UH from the other side of the CUSA standings right now, though, are our old friends from Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles are 9-1 and ranked 20th, one spot behind TCU. But if Southern Miss were to take down Houston in the CUSA title game, it's likely that they would gain enough human voters and computer points to pass the Frogs.
So if you're like me and haven't given a fuck about the goings-on of Conference USA since the Frogs left following the 2004 season, get ready to watch a number of CUSA games with great interest and a new favorite team...
That's right, our neighbors from five hours to the north, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, hold the key to the Horned Frogs going to a third straight BCS Bowl. Tulsa, led by former Texas quarterback GJ Kinne (who was committed to Baylor before that), are the darkhorse candidate to win the CUSA title and play BCS spoiler to both Houston and Southern Miss along the way.
Barring an upset loss at UTEP this weekend, the Golden Hurricane would be 7-0 in conference play headed into their home game against Houston on Friday, November 25th. The winner of that would then host Southern Miss in the CUSA title game on Saturday, December 3rd. This means that a 3-0 finish by Tulsa would keep Houston or Southern Miss from winning their own conference championship- opening the door for TCU to sneak in to a possible Sugar Bowl berth.
While beating Houston and Southern Miss is a tall task for Tulsa, it's certainly not un-doable. Their three losses so far have come against #2 Oklahoma State, #5 Oklahoma and the same #10 Boise State squad that the Frogs just took down, so it's not as if they aren't prepared to play quality teams. They're also on a roll right now, having won six in a row after their 59-17 blow out of Marshall on Saturday. If you're wondering, that's the same Marshall team that beat Southern Miss. Houston also dominated the Thundering Herd, but the statistics and score differential favor Tulsa's blow out over Cougar High's.
All of this is moot if TCU falls victim to an upset bid by Colorado State and UNLV, and honestly hasn't the "BCS or Bust" mood of the past two seasons been dead since the Baylor game? It would be crazy if it all worked out, but I love that this year's hunt for a BCS Bowl will be a lot less stressful on our fans as the previous ones. Let's just all make sure to pack Amon G. Carter for these last two home games and give the Frogs as much of a home field advantage as we can in their bid for another conference title. And if you're just crazy enough of a Frog fan, you might not be the only one wearing some Tulsa gear along with your purple.