‘We want preseason respect’: TCU’s football program seeks credibility in College Football Playoffs


Jonathan Mouer

TCU head coach Sonny Dykes at a practice in Arizona before the CFP semifinals at the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 27, 2022. (Photo courtesy of: Jonathan Mouer)

By Micah Pearce, Staff Writer

TCU was picked seventh in the 2022 Big 12 preseason poll. Now, the Frogs are ranked No. 3 in the nation and playing No. 2 Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinals.

“We want to be a team that isn’t picked seventh in our conference,” said head coach Sonny Dykes. “We want preseason respect.”

Dykes knows that respect won’t be given, and he doesn’t want it to be.

“We want to go out and play well [so] people respect us,” he said. “If we do it consistently, the program continues to become more and more relevant.”

Dykes stressed the importance of credibility in college football.

“That’s the thing you have to establish,” he said. “When you’re playing against the winningest program in college football history, that gives you credibility if you beat ’em.”

The Frogs have fought for credibility since their initial attempt to enter the Big 12 Conference.

“Before I was [at TCU] and before any of these players were [at TCU], it’s always been a fight for credibility,” said Dykes. “For a number of years [TCU] had a hard time breaking through and ended up in a couple of different conferences.”

The Big 12 Conference formed in 1996. They played in the Western Athletic Conference, Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference before finally joining the Big 12 in 2012.

“They had to battle, pull themselves up by the bootstraps and go to work,” said Dykes.

The Frogs were co-champions of the Big 12 just two years after joining. In 2014, they won the Peach Bowl and finished No. 3 in the AP postseason poll.

“It took a lot of hard work and dedication from a lot of people,” said Dykes. “From a fan base, donor support and a lot of vision from an athletic director’s standpoint.”

The Frogs dropped out of the top 4 after beating Iowa State 55-3. Dykes said earlier in the season that the Big 12 did not get much respect at the time, but college football is different now and the perception of the Big 12 is different, too. The Frogs went on to win their bowl game against Ole Miss 42-3.

TCU players pose for a photo with the Peach Bowl trophy after TCU beat Ole Miss 42-3. Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Eight years later, TCU is ranked No. 3 nationally, again, and vying for a chance at a national title.

Dykes applauded TCU’s administration for its support of TCU football.

“I’m really blessed and fortunate,” he said. “I believe that between Chancellor Boschini and Jeremiah [Donati] that we have the best support team in college football.”

The Horned Frogs are the first team from Texas to make it into the College Football Playoffs. Dykes does not want this streak to be a one-and-done deal; he wants long-term success.

“We hope someday to look up and somebody says ‘Hey, look, in the last decade TCU is the winningest program in college football,’ or at least in the top five,”” said Dykes.