With TCU being the first Texas team to make the College Football Playoff, it is only fitting that major programs in-state like Texas and Texas A&M are getting dragged during the Horned Frogs’ big day.
While TCU gets to celebrate making the College Football Playoff for the first time ever, other big programs in-state like Texas and Texas A&M have to deal with the consequences of being perpetual underachievers.
Despite losing the Big 12 Championship Game to Kansas State by a field goal in overtime, the Horned Frogs were more than good enough to merit inclusion into this year’s four-team field. Sonny Dykes’ team captured the No. 3 overall seed and will face the No. 2 Big Ten Champion Michigan Wolverines in the VRBO Fiesta Bowl in their national semifinal game on New Year’s Eve.
Simply put, TCU has done more with less in the 21st century than the Aggies or the Longhorns…
Texas, Texas A&M getting dragged over TCU making College Football Playoff first
There is a lot to unpack here. Where things currently stand, there are five Power Five programs hailing from The Lone Star State: Baylor, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. That number will grow to half a dozen once Houston joins the Big 12 this summer alongside BYU, Cincinnati and UCF. While TCU has a proud football history, the Aggies and Longhorns have much deeper pockets.
In theory, it should be the Aggies and the Longhorns vying for playoff pushes annually in their respective conferences. While Texas Tech has never been in serious conversations to make it in before, Baylor and TCU have on a handful of occasions. Infamously, Baylor and TCU finished No. 5 and No. 6 in the very first College Football Playoff rankings behind No. 4 Ohio State, who won it all.
Though TCU is not some lowly, small-market program, the Horned Frogs were largely elevated onto a national stage by their iconic former head coach Gary Patterson. He was instrumental in the Horned Frogs making the leap from the Mountain West and into the Big 12 over a decade ago. Frankly, this was the third time in nine years where the Frogs had a shot at making the big dance.
As for Texas and Texas A&M, the Longhorns have never really been in the mix for it, while the only time the Aggies have been in the running for it was during the 2020 COVID season. For Dykes to take over a depleted TCU team from Patterson and have the Frogs in the playoff in year one is nothing short of miraculous. It is a better program than we all expect, but this should not happen.
Ultimately, TCU getting into the playoff for the first time ever in the ninth year of this format’s existence is a testament to the type of football being played regularly enough in Fort Worth, as well as the rampant failures that have been largely ongoing in Austin and College Station. TCU is now the second Big 12 program to ever make the playoff, as Oklahoma has made it in four times.
If TCU has a great gameplan, it can beat Michigan to become the first Big 12 team with a CFP win.