Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Baylor entered the polls this week for the first time since 1993, and they did it with quite the offensive splash : 47 points, a school-record 683 yards of offense (five more than the 678 the Bears gained Week 5 against Kansas ), more than 400 yards passing for quarterback Robert Griffin and 250 yards rushing for tailback Jay Finley , all against a Kansas State defense that had allowed 350 yards or fewer in four of their first five games against FBS competition.
So now seems like a good time to remind college football fans -- and potentially the poll voters that have leapfrogged multiple teams over them in the past several weeks -- that back on Sept. 18, TCU made that same Bears offense look like it needed the phrase "Bad News" appended to it . 263 total yards. More kick return yards (166) than passing yards (164). 2-of-12 third down conversions. And just 10 points in a 35-point demolition. "It's just embarrassing," Griffin said.
Griffin can take heart, though; the Horned Frogs have embarrassed a lot of people since then, most recently an Air Force team that entered their date with TCU leading the nation in rushing (including a 351-yard outing at Oklahoma ) and held them to barely more than half their average.
Even with the Falcons putting up a first-quarter touchdown -- the first given up by TCU in 12 quarters -- the seven points allowed (along wih the zero against Colorado State , the zero against Wyoming , the three against BYU , etc.) was good enough to keep TCU easily atop the national rankings in scoring defense at an even 9.0 points allowed per-game. That mark would match the 9.0 allowed by USC 's 2008 defense as the best since Michigan allowed just 8.9 in 1997.
Even more tantalizing for Gary Patterson 's team is that they still has dates against two horrific offenses in UNLV and New Mexico, currently 114th and 116th in total offense, respectively. Shutouts in both those games combined with strong performances against San Diego State and Utah -- the latter coming on the road in TCU's biggest challenge on the season -- could even propel TCU into the 8.7-8.8 range, the lowest total since Auburn allowed just 7.2 points-per-game back in 1988.
Critics will argue that the Mountain West has served up a whole series of terrible offenses for TCU to feast on, and they won't be entirely wrong. But as that performance against Baylor (and Oregon State , and Air Force) illustrates, the Frogs have brought the goods against the legitimately good offenses on the schedule as well. Numbers this strong don't happen by accident. And if at the end of the season the Frogs find themselves locked in a debate with a one-loss BCS-conference champion for a single berth in the national title game, they'll be the sort of numbers that shouldn't be ignored.