TCU football: Game-by-game predictions

After the program’s first season without a bowl game appearance since 2013, the TCU football program is hoping to return to its winning ways. A very disappointing 2019 season left the Horned Frogs with a 5-7 record and the ability to go a third straight year without posting at least eight wins, a feat that has not happened since before the Gary Patterson era began.

With the fate of the 2020 college football season, uncertain TCU is still primed to make a return to the top of the Big 12. An altered 10-game schedule may limit how high this Horned Frogs team could go, but an eight-win season is not out of the question. Here are the game-by-game predictions for the 2020 TCU Horned Frogs.

Postponed: SMU @ TCU

The battle for the Iron Skillet was scheduled to take place on Friday, Sept. 11 but has since been postponed after an undisclosed number of athletes and staff tested positive for COVID-19. The plan is to play the game at a later date. SMU took the Iron Skillet trophy home last year in a 41-38 slugfest. This year’s rivalry game is looking to be a close one as SMU is looking like one of the best teams in the Group of 5. The Mustangs offense will rally behind quarterback Shane Buechele who posted 34 touchdowns and threw for over 4,000 yards last year.

TCU’s hopes of taking the skillet home will fall on the shoulders of rookie quarterback Matthew Downing. Downing takes over at QB after starter Max Duggan took a leave of absence after an abnormality was discovered in his heart during COVID-19 testing. TCU may have to turn to its running game if they wish to pull off the win. Expect TCU to pull on the win in a close one.

Prediction: TCU 34 SMU 28

Sept. 26: No. 23 Iowa State @ TCU

The Cyclones won handily last year stomping TCU in a 49-24 blowout. Iowa State may be one of the best teams in the Big 12 this year and won’t be a pushover. The matchup of the game will be Iowa State’s Brock Purdy against the TCU defense. Purdy posted nearly 4,000 passing yards last season and threw for 27 TDs. This will be a tough season opener for the Horned Frogs. Expect Iowa State to add one to the win column in this sloppy Big 12 opener.

Prediction: TCU 21 Iowa State 35

Oct. 3: TCU @ #14 Texas

The Horned Frogs travel to Austin this year after last year’s 37-27 victory in Fort Worth. Texas is known for its late-season slip-ups as last year’s loss to TCU kick-started a spell in which the Longhorns lost three of their last five games. Texas will continue to be the team we’ve all come to know at love as TCU pulls off the upset and proves yet again that Texas is not back.

Prediction: TCU 24 Texas 17

Oct. 10: Kansas State @ TCU

Last year’s trip to Manhattan, Kansas left TCU limping home after a 24-17 loss. Max Duggan rushed for 115 yards but with his absence, the keys to a win will fall the Matt Downing. If the Horned Frogs are going to pull out the win Downing will have to make some plays. Expect the Wildcats to keep it close but miss a field goal to tie the game late. The Horned Frogs get their revenge.

Prediction: TCU 24 Kansas State 21

Oct. 24: #5 Oklahoma @ TCU

The Sooners will come into this game as a playoff contender. TCU has struggled to stop Oklahoma’s high flying offenses in recent years losing six straight to the Sooners. TCU’s defense will make it tough early. Expect early Heisman candidate Spencer Rattler to have a hay day as the Sooners make it seven in a row against the Horned Frogs.

Prediction: TCU 14 Oklahoma 38

Oct. 31: TCU @ Baylor

Last year’s 11-3 Baylor team shocked the college football world after winning only one game two years before. It was one of the Cinderella stories of the 2019 season. TCU took Baylor to triple overtime and eventually lost in a controversial ending in which a Duggan rushing touchdown was overturned. Baylor lost head coach Matt Rhule to the NFL this past offseason and the Bears will have some rebuilding to do this coming season. Expect TCU to win this game handily and come home with a win.

Prediction: TCU 28 Baylor 7

Nov. 7: Texas Tech @ TCU

The Horned Frogs will be flying high when the Red Raiders come to town. Tech finished last season at 4-8 (2-7 in conference play) as new head coach Matt Wells struggled in his debut season. TCU took care of business last year in a back and forth match that ended in a 33-31 victory. Matt Wells will have his Raiders trending in the right direction, but the air assault by the TCU receivers will end up being too much to handle. TCU starts off November right heading to West Virginia with a 5-2 record.

Prediction: TCU 28 Texas Tech 21

Nov. 14: TCU @ West Virginia

The Mountaineers will limp into this game after taking a beating from Texas the previous week. Last year’s matchup was a close one as the Mountaineers came out on top in the season finale. The TCU run game should settle in and make their presence known quickly. TCU gets the win and heads to Kansas ready to rock the socks off the Jayhawks.

Prediction: TCU 21 West Virginia 10

Nov. 28: TCU @ Kansas

TCU smothers the Jayhawks early.

Prediction: TCU 38 Kansas 13

Dec. 5: #15 Oklahoma State @ TCU

Oklahoma State may be on top of the Big 12 standings coming into this December matchup. TCU will be riding a four-game win streak into the season finale. If TCU hopes to have any chance they have to stop the run. Expect Chuba Hubbard to run down the Horned Frogs throats and get the win for the No. 1 team in the Big 12.

Prediction: TCU 21 Oklahoma State 35


Final Regular Season Record: 7-3