You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

5 college football teams who could be the next TCU in 2023

Fansided 2/7/2023 John Buhler
© Provided by Fansided

The 2022 TCU Horned Frogs may have changed college football, but are not that unique to it.

The 2022 college football season will be remembered for The Power of The Hypnotoad plucky TCU harnessed before getting Frogstomped by Georgia in the national championship game.

It was a cute story, but Sonny Dykes' Horned Frogs will be back in some capacity going forward. They will need to recruit at a top-15 level to attempt to sustain this. Fortunately for them, they are the first Big 12 program to win a single playoff game. Lincoln Riley is in utter shambles right now. TCU will regress to some degree, but you cannot deny what Dykes did in year one at Fort Worth.

Whether it is 2022 TCU or 2013 Auburn, a sub-.500 Power Five team will come out of nowhere.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: You can't deny the serious boom-or-bust potential with this new head coach.
  • Page 2: No incoming head coach is better equipped of doing the lord's work than this guy.
  • Page 3: This traditional power has the right head coach, but their arch rivals are menacing.
  • Page 4: No Power 5 program we cared less about in 2022 will be cared more about in 2023.
  • Page 5: If the second-year "pop" theory works, this is the Power 5 team to bank on, alright.

College football: 5 teams who have what it takes to be the 2023 version of TCU

Kenny Dillingham has the potential to awaken this sleeping giant in The Valley

Look. I really want this work, but I do have major reservations about Kenny Dillingham taking over at his alma mater this soon. We are the same age, and I can barely trust myself to eat regularly. Then again, he is running a Power 5 program in a recruiting hotbed, and I am writing about… For upside reasons, I am utterly fascinated by what Dillingham could to taking over at Arizona State.

The Pac-12 is in the midst of a bit of a coaching renaissance. No easy wins will be had. Therefore, Dillingham will have no choice but to play up as he learns the ropes at his dream job. The good news for him is Arizona State is an ideal transfer portal destination. He did land Sun Devils legacy Jaden Rashada as his quarterback of the future. Can Arizona State be eight wins better in 2023?

Admittedly, I don't see that happening, but this team is winning more than three games this fall. There is a certain positive upward trajectory Arizona State football has not had in years. He may be chasing the Ghost of Frank Kush forever in Tempe, but we have seen what elite Sun Devil football looks like not all that long ago with Jake Plummer and Pat Tillman (RIP) becoming college legends.

We are probably about two years away, but Arizona State is not going to stay irrelevant for long.

Return to Top of Page 1

Matt Rhule can do no wrong in college football, only in the NFL over in Charlotte

If anybody can turn Nebraska football around, it is Matt Rhule. The former Penn State linebacker is back in the Big Ten after the unmitigated disaster that was his run in Charlotte leading the Carolina Panthers. David Tepper made a huge gamble bringing in an elite college program builder into the NFL, and it blew up in everyone's face. Fortunately, Rhule's track record says he is perfect for UNL.

For Nebraska to be anything close to what it was during its heyday, Rhule must attack the transfer portal ferociously and coach with an elite mental toughness in crunch time. His predecessor Scott Frost was notoriously bad at losing one-score games in Lincoln. While the Big Ten is going divisionless in two years, Nebraska will be served by the conference becoming less regionalized.

The big issues Rhule will have to overcome at Nebraska is Michigan being a powerhouse and Ohio State only a tick off of that. Factor in his alma mater being a major player this year, and that could make it even more challenging. However, Rhule did make Temple relevant over in the AAC and had Baylor playing in a Sugar Bowl in the wake of the Art Briles scandal. In time, Rhule could do this.

Momentum is a very real thing and Rhule is a master at being able to harness it with lesser talent.

Return to Top of Page 1

Hugh Freeze makes Nick Saban nervous, but will he make Kirby Smart squirm?

For as good as 2019 Baylor was under Matt Rhule, or 2021 Baylor under Dave Aranda in that respect, the closest equivalent to 2022 TCU in recent memory is probably 2013 Auburn. The 2012 Tigers were a hot mess in the aftermath of Cam Newton's historic 2010 season. Auburn might always be a hot mess because that is in their nature, but Hugh Freeze could change their fortunes.

Admittedly, it was controversial to bring back the disgraced former head coach of Ole Miss into the conference, but he just kept winning games at Liberty. More importantly, the entire dynamic of college football recruiting has shifted in Freeze's favor since the last time he led an SEC team. Auburn is a top-15 program all time, so act like it. Nobody is better equipped for their challenges.

Freeze already makes Alabama head coach Nick Saban uncomfortable. Like his best friend in the profession in UCF head coach Gus Malzahn, Freeze will win a few Iron Bowls in his day. We know he can recruit and we know that he can coach. His biggest issue lies in the fact that Auburn's two biggest rivals are Alabama and Georgia. Auburn doesn't win in Athens and Kirby Smart is a Dawg!

With Freeze at the helm, he will give Auburn chances against Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss.

Return to Top of Page 1

Deion Sanders has the potential to be the Buffs' 21st version of Bill McCartney

This is the one everybody is banking on being a success. For transparency, Deion Sanders is my favorite NFL player of all time. Prime Time is a living legend, both as a former college star and the greatest cornerback to ever grace god's green earth. Even if you have no attachments to the University of Colorado, nothing would make college football better than CU becoming a behemoth.

While Colorado went 1-11 last season, I anticipate Coach Prime will make the Buffs at least five wins better. They need to go to a bowl game in year one. Although playing the likes of Georgia for a national championship right from the jump is a tad unrealistic, I don't think we can even attempt to encapsulate what Coach Prime in the Power Five is going to do at a program like Colorado.

Like all other coaches on this list, Sanders will hit the portal so hard to get this thing flipped around as soon as humanly possible. Recruiting may be his forte, but his eye for coaching talent and player development cannot be overlooked either. Folsom Field will be rocking unlike anything we have ever seen. Buffs football will matter more than it did when Joel Klatt was their quarterback.

If all goes according to plan, Sanders could be Colorado's 21st-century version of Bill McCartney.

Return to Top of Page 1

Brent Venables went through growing pains, but OU is not going to stay down

While Kenny Dillingham, Matt Rhule, Hugh Freeze and Deion Sanders are beginning their first years at new programs, Brent Venables is entering year two at Oklahoma. Did he have a rough first season in Norman? Most definitely, but Dabo Swinney's former star defensive coordinator left Clemson for a reason: Oklahoma is historically a top-three job in the country. These don't open up.

There was absolutely going to be a period of adjustment for the first-time, defensive-minded head coach taking over for offensive guru Lincoln Riley. The Big 12 is an insanely competitive league and features an unforgiving nine-game conference schedule. It may have been more than Venables bargained, but a traditional power like Oklahoma pops in year two under the right coach.

Even if Oklahoma takes a step back in overall significance once it joins the SEC, Venables has all the resources at his disposal to sustain at a traditional power. Of course, if he stinks again in 2023, then we will all criticize OU for hiring the next John Blake. The good news for him is he has Dillon Gabriel back for another season at quarterback, which should make things easier for the program.

If TCU can be the best team in the Big 12 a year after having a sub-.500 record, so can Oklahoma.

Return to Top of Page 1

For more College Football news, analysis, opinion and unique coverage by FanSided, including Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff rankings, be sure to bookmark these pages.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon