Sonny Dykes Says New Big 12 Members ‘Belong’ In Conference
TCU head coach Sonny Dykes has been part of the ‘Group of 5,’ and he’s here to tell you the new members of the Big 12 Conference will be competitive sooner rather than later.
Dykes coached at SMU before taking over at TCU. The Mustangs are being talked about as a potential program that could be invited to a Power 5 conference soon, including the Big 12. But, last year, the Mustangs were passed over the Big 12 when they invited BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF to join the league in 2023.
Speaking as a former coach of a Group of 5 program — and one who coached against Cincinnati, Houston and UCF as recently as last season — he says don’t sleep any of those four programs. They’ve already proven to him that they belong.
“When you look at those teams that are coming into the league, they’ve already done that, you know, I mean?” Dykes said. “Cincinnati rolled into South Bend last year and put a thumping on Notre Dame you know? Houston put a thumping on Auburn in their bowl game. Central Florida has put plenty of thumpings on people through the years. And I know this — if you surveyed anybody, all the coaches in college football and you said, ‘Who’s your least favorite team to play?’ BYU is going to appear on pretty much everybody’s ballot. Because those guys are big and strong and physical and well coached and tough and mature.”
Cincinnati won the AAC and reached the College Football Playoff last season. The Bearcats beat Houston in that title game, but the Cougars won 12 games. BYU won double-digit games as an independent last season, and UCF won nine games last season.
TCU is coming off a 2021 in which it went 5-7 overall and 3-6 in Big 12 action. The Horned Frogs were one of the worst defenses in the Big 12, finishing eighth or worse in points allowed, rushing yards allowed, passing yards allowed and total yards allowed. At midseason, the Horned Frogs and head coach Gary Patterson parted ways, with Patterson finishing with an overall record of 181-79 in more than 20 years at the helm. Jerry Kill was the interim head coach and then took the head-coaching job at New Mexico State.
The Horned Frogs hired Dykes away from SMU to take over the program. Dykes, the son of former Texas Tech head coach Spike Dykes, went to work to remake the program after infusing the Horned Frogs’ cross-town rival Mustangs with some much-needed energy.
Dykes inherits a program with 14 returning starters and a brewing battle at quarterback between two holdovers in Max Duggan and Chandler Morris. TCU returns two of the league’s top wide receivers in Taye Barber and Quentin Johnston, along with a quality experienced linebacker in Dee Winters.
TCU also lost players to graduation and the transfer portal, including their best pass rusher, Ochaun Mathis, who transferred to Nebraska, and running back Zach Evans, who transferred to Ole Miss.
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