In the next two weeks, we’ll continue to close the door on the 2013 season. Every Big 12 team suffered at least one loss during the regular season and losses can be as beneficial as wins. In this team-by-team series, we’ll take a look at the best loss of 2013 for each Big 12 team, including what happened and why it matters.
On Wednesday, we focus on TCU.
Best loss: 41-38 to Baylor on Nov. 30, in a game the Horned Frogs had nothing to play for except their pride.
What happened: The Horned Frogs went toe-to-toe with the Big 12 champions in their final game of the season. TCU was the Big 12’s most disappointing team in 2013, but its performance in the season finale is encouraging for the future. The Horned Frogs showed their competitiveness and pride in a game they could have mailed in after a disappointing season.
The Horned Frogs slowed the Big 12’s best offense, allowing just 370 yards and 4.11 yards per play to Baylor. While TCU’s 38 points was a season-high in Big 12 play, the offense cost them the game with two interceptions returned for touchdowns by Baylor’s defense.
Why it was helpful: It shows the Horned Frogs aren’t that far away. TCU lost by a combined six points to Baylor and Oklahoma, the Big 12’s BCS representatives. In comparison to the other four Big 12 teams that were home for the holidays, TCU has the best chance of putting itself in the battle for the Big 12 title in 2014. It also showed the Horned Frogs that their defense can still slow any offense in the nation.
The Horned Frogs were so close to a bowl season in 2013, but turnovers and lack of efficient offense shackled their chances to rise up in the standings. And the loss to Baylor was a example of just how close TCU was to being a factor in the Big 12 title race last season. Kansas and Iowa State were the Horned Frogs' lone conference wins, yet Texas was the only game that got out of hand for Gary Patterson’s team.
Heading into 2014, Patterson won’t have to instill confidence and convince his team it can win a Big 12 title, as one play here and one play there could have put the Horned Frogs in the mix in 2013.
Revealing stat: 14.4 percent. Only 14.4 percent of Baylor’s offensive plays gained 10 yards or more against TCU, easily the lowest percentage for the Bears offense in 2013. Baylor’s season average was 25.7 percent.
Quote of note: “Like I told them downstairs, 53 guys playing right now, and we took a top-10 program and should have beat them. Everything went wrong, and we should have beat them. Give credit to Baylor, but bottom line is we should have beat them.” -- Patterson