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Why TCU Will or Won't Make the College Football Playoff in 2015

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TCU enters the 2015 season with possibly the best team in school history. Led by Heisman candidateTrevone Boykin the Horned Frogs return multiple offensive weapons from a team that was only three points away from going undefeated last season.

With the controversy surrounding TCU being snubbed from the inaugural College Football Playoff the Horned Frogs are set up to control their own destiny in the Big 12 this season. Or are they?

Related: TCU Horned Frogs 2015 Preview and Prediction

Here are three reasons why TCU will make the Playoff this coming season followed by three reasons why they will not.

Three Reasons Why TCU Will Make the College Football Playoff in 2015

1. Returning Offensive Talent

A legitimate dual-threat quarterback, Boykin has the ability to take over any game at any time. Leading receiver Josh Doctson returns along with running back Aaron Green, who rushed for close to 1,000 yards last season. The Frogs also return four starters on the offensive line. Put it all together and TCU returns 10 of 11 starters from an offense that was second in the country in scoring last season at 46.5 points per game.

Related: Ranking the Big 12's Offensive Triplets for 2015

2. Opportunity to Finish with a Flourish

TCU ended last season against a down Texas team and 2-9 Iowa State. Many felt the late-season schedule could have hurt TCU even though Gary Patterson’s team did what it was supposed to do — win and win big. This season ends with two huge marquee matchups against potential top-10 teams. Finishing off an undefeated season with a victory at Oklahoma and against Baylor would all but guarantee TCU a top-four finish.

3. Running Back Depth

Green should see a bulk of the carries this season. But Kyle Hicks also is a very capable back that is primed to get more work, and he’s not the only complementary option ready to emerge. Shaun Nixon, a 4-star prospect in last season’s recruiting class, is back from knee surgery, and Trevorris Johnson could be a breakout player this fall for the Frogs.

Related: Ranking the Big 12's Running Backs for 2015

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TCU’s 2015 Schedule

Date

Opponent

 

Athlon Projected Rank for 2015

Projected Record

Sept. 3

at Minnesota

45

8-4

Sept. 12

Stephen F. Austin

Sept. 18

SMU

102

4-8

Sept. 26

at Texas Tech

48

6-6

Oct. 3

Texas

33

7-5

Oct. 10

at Kansas State

44

7-5

Oct. 17

at Iowa State

74

3-9

Oct. 29

West Virginia

36

8-4

Nov. 7

at Oklahoma State

28

8-4

Nov. 14

Kansas

103

1-11

Nov. 21

at Oklahoma

17

9-3

Nov. 27

Baylor

3

11-1

Three Reasons Why TCU Will Not Make the College Football Playoff in 2015

1. Potential Trap Games

While TCU can use its tough schedule to its advantage, the slate also could be the Horned Frogs’ downfall. TCU needs those late-season marquee games to impress the committee. Unfortunately the toughest games on the schedule will come after running the gauntlet that is the Big 12’s nine-game conference slate. A late October date against a West Virginia team that always plays TCU tough and physical is followed by a trip to Stillwater against a much-improved Oklahoma State team. Getting to those last two games of the season undefeated will be a test in itself.

2. Offensive Line Depth

While TCU will return four starting offensive linemen this season any injury could result in trouble for the Frogs. The depth chart is full of young sophomores with little game experience behind the senior-laden starting five.

3. No Conference Championship Game

With the Big 12 still waiting on deregulation and whether the conference will implement a championship game and/or expand, TCU will have to state its case to the Playoff selection committee with the 12 games on the schedule. It is no secret the lack of that 13th data point hurt both TCU and Baylor last season. If TCU was to falter at any point this season that could be the end of the Horned Frogs’ Playoff hopes. Unfortunately, just like last season, 11-1 may not cut it.

Final Verdict

TCU has the ability to control its own destiny in 2015. With late-season games against marquee opponents there will be no questions of “what have you done for me lately?” when it comes time for the selection committee to vote. Boasting a potent offense and a defense that only needs to hold teams to less than 40 points, TCU should be the first Big 12 representative in the College Football Playoff.  

Athlon’s Projected Final Ranking: 5

Athlon’s Projected Final Record: 10-2

Bovada Projected Over/Under Odds: 10

CG Technology Over/Under Odds: 10

5 Dimes Projected Over/Under Odds: 10

— Written by Jeremy Simon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and editor-in-chief of BlueGoldSports.com, a must visit for any and all West Virginia Mountaineer fans. Follow BlueGoldSports.com on Twitter @Blue_GoldSports.