The TCU sports report cards have arrived. Grades were determined using a proprietary Buck U taste-in-the-mouth algorithm. Found out who’s at the head of the class.
TCU football — Record: 7-6, Best win: Oklahoma State, Worst Loss: Kansas
Gary Patterson’s football Frogs followed a trajectory very similar to my freshman year at TCU: Start strong, stop showing up entirely, and beg for a passing grade at the end of term. It seems like a lifetime ago, but TCU had been ranked in the Top 20 to start last season. A litany of fumbles and interceptions lost them a winnable game against Ohio State, and morale slid from then on. At their basement, the Frogs lost to Kansas, which is akin to failing an open-book test. Patterson’s defense remained superb and squeaked out wins against Baylor and OK State before their gloriously unwatchable Cheez-It Bowl victory. Former quarterback Shawn Robinson –– who I was fooled into thinking was the second coming of Trevone Boykin –– was eventually benched and is transferring to Missouri. KaVontae Turpin, arguably the most electric returner in the country, was forced into early retirement related to domestic violence charges. Offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie should consider himself on notice this coming season. Schematically, the offense has lacked flexibility as well as creativity and relied too much on their playmakers to out-athlete defenders. An excellent defense combined with an abysmal offense yield a mediocre but passing grade.
Final Grade: C+
TCU basketball — Record: 23-14, Best win: Baylor, Worst Loss: Texas
Jamie Dixon’s ballers built new-program expectations based on their tourney appearance last season. Senior point guard Alex Robinson and friends dribbled through their non-conference schedule easily and bested Baylor to start the Big 12 season. Injuries derailed this squad starting with Jaylen Fisher. It wasn’t wins and losses that stuck from this campaign. It was the fog of chaos. Seven wins and 11 losses against a stacked conference isn’t bad. Beating Texas twice during the season is commendable. But nothing residually good happened for TCU basketball this season. Dixon allegedly tried to leave for UCLA, but TCU wouldn’t budge on his buyout. Kendric Davis, a dynamic freshman point guard, transferred to SMU of all places. Kouat Noi declared for the draft but committed to leaving the program if he was drafted or not. It seems that only Desmond Bane and Kevin Samuel are returning. There are highly rated players ready to suit up, but none have donned anything but purple practice jerseys. Homers were hoping basketball was the next up-and-coming program on campus. This season was undoubtedly a regression.
Final Grade: C-
TCU men’s tennis — Record: 22-7, Best win: Mississippi State, Worst loss: Tulsa
David Roditi continues to lead the most consistently elite group on campus other than women’s rifle. Baylor and Texas resurged this year and leapt over the Frogs during conference play, but Roditi’s squad still advanced to an Elite 8 appearance, and the cowboy-hat-wearing coach lassoed a Top 5 recruiting class. Their tournament loss to Texas doesn’t ding their grade because the Longhorns won the national championship. Senior Alex Rybakov finished the season ranked in the Top 4 individual players in the country, the second Frog racketeer in as many years to do so. TCU tennis is still looking for a squad balanced enough to break the eight-team barrier in the NCAA tournament and needs more parity between their third through fifth lines to do so.
Final Grade: A
TCU baseball — Record: 34-28, Best win: Vanderbilt, Worst loss: Baylor conference series
Jim Schlossnagle’s boys of summer also suffered uncharacteristically high volumes of injuries this season. Early indications were this high-powered offense could counteract a lean pitching staff –– a theory that proved inconsistently true. The Frog batting order shined in the Big 12 tourney with enough luster to collect the last regional invitation and survive to be vanquished by a superior Arkansas team in the finals. Major League Baseball drafted a program-record nine Frogs into the majors. Fielding errors accounted for several could-have-been wins throughout the season, but these Frogs weren’t in any shape to punch their ticket to Omaha when May arrived. Baseball receives consideration for an improved trajectory. This season wasn’t a bust but a letdown from what has been the most consistent major sport on campus.
Final Grade: B-
TCU athletic training/strength and conditioning
What is going on? Each major program dealt with widespread injuries. A small private college can muster excuses for less depth than the big dogs, but this year seemed almost ridiculous. There might be no blame to assess, but it should be the first question on the lips of Frog faithful. If the big three sports continue to suffer recurring widespread injuries, questions should be asked about the purple approach to athletic training, strength and conditioning, or even the vetting of recruits.
Final Grade: F