The TCU Horned Frogs enter the 2010 season boasting the program's highest preseason rankings -- No. 6 in the Associated Press poll and No. 7 in the coaches poll -- after reaching unprecedented heights last season in playing in the BCS Fiesta Bowl.
The Frogs couldn't finish the job against fellow BCS-buster Boise State, but it only whet their appetite for more. TCU wants a shot at a national title. To have a chance they know they'll have to sweep their 12-game regular season that starts Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium against No. 24 Oregon State.
The Frog file:
2009 record: 12-1 (lost to Boise State in Fiesta Bowl, 17-10)
Starters returning: 19
Offensive starters returning: 9
Defensive starters returning: 7
Special teams returning: 3
Key offensive returners: QB Andy Dalton(needs one win to pass Sammy Baugh for most wins by a TCU quarterback); T Marcus Cannon (preseason All-American, ranked by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., as third-best OT in 2011 NFL Draft); C Jake Kirkpatrick (preseason All-American); WR Jeremy Kerley(team-high 44 receptions for 532 yards last season); WR Jimmy Young(115 career receptions are eighth all-time at TCU).
Will be missed:T Marshall Newhouse; RB Joseph Turner.
Key defensive returners:NT Kelly Griffin (became first true freshman in 2007 to start under Gary Patterson); DT Cory Grant (All-MWC last season, first as starter); DE Wayne Daniels (on Lombardi Trophy watch list, all-MWC last season); LB Tank Carder (preseason All-American, top returning tackler); FS Tejay Johnson (preseason All-American, tied for team lead in '09 with three interceptions).
Key special teams returners:PK Ross Evans (first-team all-MWC, 15-of-18 FGs last season); KR/PR Jeremy Kerley (Four total kicks returned for touchdowns last season).
On the rise: WR Antoine Hicks(scored 10 touchdowns on 32 touches last season); RBs Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker(Both rushed for more than 600 yards and averaged better than 6.0 yards a carry last season); DE Stansly Maponga (could become only redsirt freshman to earn starting job for opener); CB Greg McCoy (4.32 speed, had two interceptions last season and an 81-yard kickoff return for touchdown).
Toughest schedule stretch:Oct. 16 vs. BYU; Oct. 23 vs. Air Force; Oct. 30 at UNLV; Nov. 6 at Utah.
By the numbers:
27: Seniors (tied for the lead nationally with Louisville)
12:Wins needed by 2010 seniors to become the winningest class in TCU history (a new mark has been set in each of the last two seasons)
110: Wins by Gary Patterson, to 38 losses, since Gary Patterson arrived as defensive coordinator in 1998 (10th year as head coach).