A quick question: Out of all the ranked teams in the nation, how many will have played four road games against Power 5 opponents following this weekend’s games?
There’s only one team that can claim it, and that team is TCU.
The Frogs, with wins over Minnesota, Texas Tech and Kansas State, plays on the road against Iowa State today in what should be a massive crowd at Jack Trice Stadium. After all, TCU set a record at the Gophers’ TCF Bank Stadium, followed by the second-largest crowd in Lubbock and the third largest crowd in Bill Snyder Family Stadium history.
Gary Patterson’s squad has been hit with criticisms of a lack of defense and a dearth of focus while on the road this season, but the fact of the matter is that no one is playing as much on the road as TCU and more importantly, no one is winning as much as TCU.
To be quite frank, the Frogs aren’t getting as much love from voters and college football fans as they should be for that.
Forget a potential blowout win here for a quick bit, and go with a small ball picture momentarily. If TCU can survive and advance against Iowa State, the Frogs will be the only team to accomplish the daunting mid-season task of four road wins against Power 5 opponents. That’s an amazing task which won’t be matched by any team until next week, and won’t be matched by multiple teams until at least two weeks from Saturday.
As of right now, there are only four teams in the AP Top 25 that have played the amount of road games that TCU has so far: Oklahoma State, Stanford, Boise State and Cal.
However, three of those teams lost to at least one away opponent this season, and Oklahoma State played just two Power 5 opponents on the road (The Pokes opened at G5 foe Central Michigan). And until Cal travels to UCLA on Thursday, there’s still just one team that will have played four road games against P5 teams - little ole TCU.
Although the Horned Frogs may not have demolished opponents with major blowouts each week as some pundits expected early in the preseason, TCU is still getting wins on the road - something no other teams can truly claim. Compared to teams such as Ohio State, Utah, Michigan State and other top programs, TCU’s got teams hammered in the road warrior statistic.
In fact, there are three teams which have played just once on the road this season (not including today’s contests): No. 13 Ole Miss, No. 10 Alabama and No. 5 Clemson.
This list doesn’t even include No. 9 Texas A&M, which has just a single neutral site contest against Arkansas on its resume. The Aggies won’t even have their first true away game until next Saturday, when they travel to take on the Rebels in Oxford, Mississippi.
That’s a stark difference from the No. 3 team in the country.
A heavy favorite on the road - again - TCU’s got a chance to get a major leg up on the competition and earn what should be well-deserved votes in the next AP Poll for getting road wins.
And if the win comes in today against Iowa State, TCU’s certainly got a record that can stand by itself for the next few weeks.
AP Top 25 teams and away statistics:
*All stats include games played by end of Oct. 17, 2015
Teams with four games: TCU, Boise State (played just one P5 opponent, is 2-2 on the road)
Teams with three games: Michigan State, Florida, Stanford, Cal, Oklahoma State, Iowa, UCLA, Oklahoma, Houston, LSU* (had road game against South Carolina played in Tiger Stadium due to storm damage)
Teams with two games: Ohio State, Utah, Clemson, Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Toledo, Duke, Baylor* (played one neutral site contest)
Teams with one game: None
Teams with no road games played: Texas A&M (played one neutral site contest)