Over the coming days, we will have some fun ranking the top 10 non-conference games in the 2020 Big 12 football season. Of course, we have no clue what the 2020 college football season is going to look like and how the schedule is going to play out, but as we approach the dog days of summer, let’s long for some cooler weather, cold beer and pigskin and look forward to these 10 non-conference games as we count them down from No. 10 to No. 1!
No. 7: TCU vs. SMU
If you told me one year ago I’d have this game on the Top 10 list for 2020, I would not have believed you. But after how last season’s game went, with SMU pulling off the upset against the Horned Frogs, it’s worth putting on the list in a good spot.
Don’t forget, SMU head coach Sonny Dykes was hired away from TCU, where he had a brief stint as an assistant.
Last season’s game was a stunner that went down to the wire as SMU won the Iron Skillet for the first time since 2011 with a 41-38 win. Shane Buechele is back at quarterback for the Mustangs after the program reached double-digit wins for the first time since 1984. And he has plenty of weapons, led by another former Big 12 player, West Virginia transfer Reggie Roberson. This will be a great early-season challenge for Gary Patterson’s defense.
Meantime, the offense needs to show its clicking well beyond where it was last season. Jerry Kill takes over as the defacto head coach of the offense and if they can’t move the ball against an SMU defense that allowed over 33 points per game and is replacing some key pieces and has depth issues, then that could be a bad sign of what’s to come this fall in Fort Worth.
However, if TCU is going to get back to being a program pushing or hitting the double-digit win mark themselves, then this is the kind of game Gary Patterson has to put back into the win column. Based on how SMU played last year, the loss was maybe not as bad as it appeared to be at the time. But Gary Patterson, Max Duggan and company need to beat the SMU’s of the world to convince us they can possibly be a darkhorse contender in the Big 12 Conference in 2020.
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