NCAA Football

Looking to turn chips into chips, TCU could change the sport with a win in the College Football Playoff title game

Looking to turn chips into chips, TCU could change the sport with a win in the College Football Playoff title game

ANGELS — Johnny Hodges loves his chips.

“We are a team full of chips,” he said TCU – said the midfielder.

In Hodges shorthand, it means “chips on the shoulders.” Cliché, sure, but the entrance to the heart of the number 3 horned frogs. They were not meant to be here Student football National championship in the playoffs.

In fact, the last team in a similar position was BYU in 1984. Those Cougars are the last national champions from outside the current Power Five.

TCU, as a member of the Big 12, is clearly a power-five team these days, but it has been the league leader for the past quarter-century. When the Southwest Conference folded, TCU did not become a member of the Big 12. From there, a purgatory of stops in the WAC, Conference USA and the Mountain West followed.

A desperate little purple engine that was finally able to hit its stride when the Big 12 opened its doors to TCU in 2012.

There is reason #1 Georgia contributes nearly two touchdowns, the largest streak in CFP National Championship history. TCU is a long shot. If the Frogs win, they would beat arguably the best program in the sport. If the Bulldogs don’t already hold that mantle, Monday night could go a long way toward building that narrative.

TCU is just trying to hang on if the recruiting rankings are to be believed. The Frogs have 17 recruits on their roster, four of whom are transfers. Debts are four times more.

“You can’t overstate what they’ve done,” the former said Texas A&M coach RC Slocum, TCU College Football Hall of Famer. “They just stick with you. They’re not an ebb and flow team. They just stay consistent all the time, whether things are going well or not. It’s hard to beat a team that can’t be beat.”

This explains the Toads’ comeback late in the game. That explains why TCU is hanging 55 Oklahoma. That explains the 263 yards rushing against the scrimmage Michigan. This explains why the impact of TCU cannot be ignored.

Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark skipped Saturday’s media day at the CFP National Championship as if his conference had already won. Yormark has already announced his intention to expand the Big 12 into the Pacific Time Zone. with USC and UCLA leaving the Big Ten, TCU and the Big 12 entered the Los Angeles market this week.


About 17 miles north of SoFi Stadium, home of Monday’s game, is a niche community called Frogtown. It’s not a city per se, but – as its website proclaims – “a progressive, pocket-sized community … where socially conscious hipsters and multi-generational families live together and call it home.”

Frogtown is also the site of a Big 12 capture this weekend. Indeed, that’s what they call it: “capture”. Frogtown Brewery has a purple beer. 200 free Frogtown Tacos will be available on Sunday at the Santa Monica Pier.

Renowned sneaker artist Kickstradomis designs a pair of Horned Frog themed kicks.

What does this have to do with beating Georgia? You don’t understand. Yormark is trying to take over the world, and the Toads are his army of invaders.

“Think about where this conference was six months ago, 12 months ago, 18 months ago,” Yormark told CBS Sports. “It was a transformative moment. Obviously, this is a big confirmation.

“It also validates the makeup and makeup of our conference. I’m sure there are people who were worried. What will happen with Texas and Oklahoma is out? No one talks about it anymore.”

No, no. This game could define the hopes and dreams of the hopefuls when the CFP expands in 2024.

Slocum has coached against TCU several times in the SWC during his career. He was also close friends with his ex Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes, father of current TCU coach Sonny Dykes. They were so close that Sonny recalled coming home from high school baseball practice in West Texas and seeing his father and Slocum having an adult drink in the afternoon.

Slocum watched Sonny, who entered 2022 with just 5 wins in 12 seasons as a head coach, unleash greatness. Dykes took the squad assembled by former coach Gary Patterson to the brink of a championship.

What will it mean for TCU, the Big 12 and college football if TCU actually wins it all?

Las Vegas answered part of that question earlier this month when TCU was installed with the best odds (16-1) to win the championship when the network debuted, according to Caesars Sportsbook. Those who had the foresight to bet $100 on the Frogs will receive $1,600 if TCU wins Monday night.

“It just goes to show that nobody’s guaranteed to win,” Slocum said. “Just because you have good players doesn’t mean you’re going to win. The challenge is to get all these guys together so they all play for each other. This favors many schools that may not be on the upside. It gives them hope.”

This would mean that many chips would be cashed out. Hodges is one of TCU’s 14 assists. Disappointed in himself and navy, he was looking for a new home after last season. His father took it upon himself to email each of the remaining 131 FBS programs. There were no invaders.

“I couldn’t even watch a football game on the weekend without feeling sick to my stomach knowing that I didn’t accomplish so much,” Hodges said. “I didn’t believe in myself. In life you have to believe in yourself more than anyone else. … But coming out of high school, I didn’t think I was good enough to play college football. I didn’t think it was good enough to play in the Power Five [program]. My dad did. He got me here.’

TCU defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie pointed out that playing against Navy while in Tulsa before he was hired by Dykes. The addition of Hodges turned the defense into an opportunistic unit. TCU beat Michigan (528-488) last week, but two pick-sixes may have been the difference in the game.

“We have a lot of three-star, two-star guys on our team that didn’t get a lot of offers coming out of high school, so I feel like everybody already had a chip on their shoulder,” cornerback Tre’vius Hodges-Tomlinson said.

“It’s time to start taking us very seriously. We are no joke.”

Not when Hodges-Tomlinson, the nephew of TCU great LaDanian Tomlinson, is the reigning Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation’s top defensive back. Not when the quarterback Max Dagan a former state champion in the 200 meters in high school. (It surprised everyone from Oklahoma to Michigan when Duggan led all 12 Big 12 quarterbacks in rushing.) Not when Hodges went from not taking the ball to TCU’s leader in tackles.

“The media wants the blue bloods to win,” Hodges said after the Michigan game. “They want blue bloods playing each other. More schools – more fan bases. That’s what they want. For us, [it’s] put yourself on the map, make some money and respect your family name.”

That’s what motivates Emory Demercade. In his sixth season, he returned home. After high school, his only FBS offers were from Army and Navy. This led him to start studying at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California. Once at TCU, he was relegated to the depth chart for most of his career.

Under the guidance of Rascher Zach Evans transferred to Be MissDemerkada reinforced the work horse Kendre Miller. Suddenly, as the centerpiece of Monday’s game, Demercada can’t find enough tickets for his family and friends to watch him play for the national title.

Despite growing up in nearby Inglewood, 5 minutes from SoFi Stadium, he had never set foot in the venue.

Life was not rich, not glorious. In high school, Demercado lived with a friend’s family because classes at Downey High School started at 5 a.m. In Los Angeles, where the big city is connected by vast swaths of freeway — and traffic — it made sense.

“My mom bought me a little 1997 Lexus,” Demercado said. “It was optimal for me to stay with them.”

Michigan State had given up just one 100-yard rushing performance all season prior to the Fiesta Bowl semifinals (Chase Brown, Illinois). Demercada rumbled for a career-high 150 yards as a backup after Miller was injured.

Oh, and in this sixth year, Demerkada was able to earn a master’s degree in business analytics.

“I grew up here,” Demercado said. “I spent my entire childhood here. I’m going to Texas so I can finish my college career here. It’s almost scripted.”

Chips for everyone.

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