TCU’s championship bid depends on Auburn

TCU has the potential to become the first non-automatic qualifying team to play in the national championship in BCS history. Fans are keeping close tabs on No. 1 University of Oregon and No. 2 Auburn University in hopes that one will slip up to allow the Horned Frogs to return to Glendale, but this time for the championship game.

Recently, the legitimacy of Auburn’s football team has been under scrutiny due to allegations against quarterback Cam Newton, the current frontrunner in the Heisman Trophy race. On Monday, reported that Newton was caught cheating on multiple occasions during his time at University of Florida.

This adds to the already suspicious event regarding the stolen laptop found in Newton’s Florida dorm room in 2008. All felony charges were subsequently dropped after participating in a diversion program prior to the trial.

The accusations continue to pile up.

The most recent ESPN report claims that a Mississippi State University recruiter spoke with both Newton and his father concerning play-for-pay arrangements during recruitment out of junior college.

Although it’s unlikely a suspension will occur, Auburn without Newton would not be the same team that is presently slotted to play for the national title.

A suspended Newton would make it much easier for Alabama to overcome Auburn’s offensive attack should they meet in the SEC championship. With a secure hold at No. 3 in the BCS polls, the undefeated Horned Frogs are certain to take over Auburn’s No. 2 position if the Tigers lose one of their remaining games.

Vacating wins after the conclusion of this season is another option the NCAA may consider if Newton allegations are found to be true. There is a chance the Auburn-Oregon title game would still be played, but an Auburn win could be vacated. TCU would suffer from this possibility, as they would have had a shot at the title if the investigation concluded prior to the season’s end.

Horned Frog fans are sure to be cheering for a suspension, but a national title berth because of an Auburn loss at the hands of a Newton suspension would be detrimental to TCU.

The TCU program has slowly gained a reputation throughout the years yet is still criticized for wins against “weak” opponents from a non-AQ conference. A propulsion to the BCS National Championship as a result of an NCAA sanction related suspension will not quiet the doubters.

If the Tigers lose one of their remaining games, the Horned Frogs are certain to take over Auburn’s position.

But Newton is tied to TCU by more than just the BCS technicalities.

He played under head coach Brad Franchione at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas prior to his time at Auburn. This name should ring a bell, as

Brad’s father is Dennis Franchione, Gary Patterson’s predecessor and the man that revived TCU football in recent history.

It’s interesting to think that Brad Franchione, the man directly responsible for refining Newton during his years at junior college, could deny his father’s successor a direct shot at the coveted title game.

Brad Franchione continues to defend Newton’s character on the national stage, but it’s no secret that both he and his family were exceptionally fond of Newton during the time he spent in Brenham.

Through all of the college football controversies, it seems obvious that the non-AQ schools are finding success in modest ways. TCU has not needed top-ranked recruiting classes to maintain high-caliber seasons. TCU has also avoided allegations of NCAA sanction violations.

It’s just a shame that the one year where the winds are changing in the land of the BCS, the curse of the Franchiones has blown back into Fort Worth.

Kylie Osterloh is a junior political science major from Castle Rock, CO.