The Horned Frogs are undefeated, and control their own destiny to the Big 12 championship game and possible playoff berth. But what are the chances TCU can remain undefeated? If history is any indication, not much.
While the Big 12’s history spans much further back than 2012, that year marks the beginning of the new era for the conference. TCU and West Virginia were added to the schedule, and the Big 12 moved to a round-robin schedule where everyone plays everyone.
For this exercise, we will look back to see how many teams from the Big 12 have started a season 6-0 since 2012. In all, nine teams have previously opened 6-0. Baylor leads the way, having started a season 6-0 four different times. Texas Tech, West Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State have all done it once. Including 2017, TCU has now done it twice.
Here is your list of teams that have started 6-0 and the year they did it:
- 2012 Kansas State
- 2013 Texas Tech
- 2013 Baylor
- 2014 Baylor
- 2015 Baylor
- 2015 Oklahoma State
- 2015 TCU
- 2016 West Virginia
- 2016 Baylor
So how did these nine teams fare over the last six games of their respective seasons?
For the most part, they did very well. Six of the teams went on to win at least 10 games. That means that 67% of Big 12 teams to start 6-0 since 2012 go on to finish with at least ten wins. This is an incredibly encouraging number for Gary Patterson and company. If you would have told TCU fans before the season that they were going to win ten games, most would have taken it gladly. Few had high expectations for the Frogs coming into the season.
However, while a 10-win season is fantastic, that’s not the goal. Not at this point. The goal is to go undefeated and win the Big 12. Unfortunately, that prospect is less optimistic. Not one team has been able to go undefeated since the Big 12 moved to the round robin format in 2012.
Furthermore, only three of the teams went on to win the Big 12 Title. Of those three Big 12 Titles, two were shared with another team. Kansas State split the title with Oklahoma in 2012, and Baylor and TCU were famously named co-champions in 2014. So, only one team, 2013 Baylor, started the season 6-0 and finished as the conference’s out-right champion.
Starting out 6-0 doesn’t necessarily guarantee a great season, either. Last season Baylor started 6-0, but finished the second half of the season 0-6. Texas Tech also started 6-0 in 2013, but finished the season 7-5.
Thankfully, TCU now 7-0, doesn’t appear to be in any danger of crashing and burning. They are currently fourth in the country. Simply put, they have more depth and experience than 2013 Texas Tech and 2016 Baylor teams. They are legitimate contenders, and appear destined for at least a 10-win season.
Can TCU be the first to finish undefeated since the Big 12’s change to the new scheduling format? It won’t be easy. The toughest stretch of the Horned Frog’s schedule still looms. TCU’s next four games are Iowa State in Ames, Texas in Fort Worth, Oklahoma in Norman, and Texas Tech in Lubbock.
Oklahoma proved it is possible to get through the Big 12 slate undefeated last season, but two non-conference losses prevented a fully undefeated season. So while history tells us that TCU has a very strong chance to get to at least 10 wins, it would truly be historic for TCU to reach 12-0. TCU has the talent and the coaching to win every game from here on out, but history is not on their side.