Predictions for the 2023 college football season are starting to pour in as we creep closer to kickoff. In just over a week Big 12 football media days will get underway in Arlington, and we will be officially just six weeks from the first game week of the year.
Last season, TCU was picked to finished seventh in the Big 12 under first-year head coach Sonny Dykes but ended the regular season at 12-0 before making a run to the national title game. Meanwhile, Oklahoma as slated to finish near the top of the conference standings, but instead landed on its face with a 6-7 record, the Sooners’ first losing season since 1998.
In 2023, the Horned Frogs will hope to recapture the magic of last year, while the Sooners will hope to distance themselves from that season as quickly as possible.
247Sports’ Chris Hummer recently published a story titled, “College football’s 10 teams set to rise, tumble in 2023,” and both OU and TCU made the cut, but going in either direction.
According to Hummer, Oklahoma is a team on the rise in 2023, saying the Sooners are a “layup” to improve in Brent Venables’ second season.
“Yeah, I know,” Hummer writes. “I’m really going out on a limb picking a team that’s had one season with eight or fewer wins since 2000. But hey, I’ll take the layups where I can get them. Oklahoma will be better this year, and a few reasons stick out for why I project a jump.
“First, Brent Venables can coach defense. The Sooners were below average in 2022 (82nd nationally in yards allowed per play), which is the first time since 2012 that Venables led a defense that ranked outside the top 25. That 2012 campaign happened to be his first with the Tigers; Clemson went from 69th to 23rd the following season.”
On the other hand, Hummer says that TCU is set to tumble in 2023 after an anomaly of a season in Sonny Dykes’ first year. However, “tumble” might not be the right word for Hummer’s expectations for the Horned Frogs in 2023.
“TCU’s 2023 season wasn’t just historic. It was an anomaly,” Hummer says. “Teams that recruit like TCU don’t make the national title game. The Horned Frogs shattered a glass ceiling. And while it feels silly to doubt a team that just accomplished that feat, it’s still likely the Horned Frogs come back to earth.
“While I really like TCU’s transfer additions and think there won’t be much drop off from Max Duggan to Chandler Morris, it’s just hard to envision TCU maintaining a pace that saw it finish 9-1 in games decided by 10 points or fewer. There will usually be some sort of regression to the mean in those scenarios. The Horned Frogs also return the least amount of production (118th nationally) in the Big 12, losses that include a Heisman-finalist quarterback, a first-round receiver, and six other draft picks.
“I don’t think TCU will regress much. They’re talented and the schedule sets up well, especially before late October. But a 10-2 regular season campaign would still technically meet the criteria for a program to tumble, and I don’t think there would be many TCU fans upset with a 10-2 follow up.”
With Hummer expecting OU to rise and TCU to 10-2, the late-season clash between these two could be must-watch television at 11:00 a.m. CT on Black Friday.