sportsTCU Horned Frogs

Big 12 championship vs. Kansas State offers simple outlook for TCU: Win and you’re in

Controlling their own destiny, the Horned Frogs are a lock for a College Football Playoff berth — given they handle the No. 10 Wildcats in the conference title game.

After 12 consecutive victories and some overdue recognition, No. 3 TCU faces two possible outcomes ahead of the final College Football Playoff rankings.

1. Win and in.

2. Lose and hope.

Yeah, it really is that simple and stark.

Ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game at AT&T Stadium, TCU (12-0) climbed to a season-best third in the penultimate CFP rankings Tuesday. The final rankings will be announced Sunday from Grapevine. The Peach and Fiesta bowls are hosting this season’s semifinals.

Georgia (12-0) and Michigan (12-0) held the top two spots, with TCU followed by No. 4 USC (11-1), No. 5 Ohio State (11-1) and No. 6 Alabama (10-2).

TCU even got unsolicited praise from selection committee chairman Boo Corrigan when asked about the importance of big wins on ESPN.

“I think at the end of the day we talk a lot about wins in the committee, and we talked that earlier this year with TCU,” Corrigan said. “They kept winning and they kept finding ways to win games. That’s a team that over the last four weeks, I think, on defense is giving up about 19 points a game.

“Obviously, winning these … is something we talk about more than anything else.”

As an undefeated power-conference champion, TCU is unquestionably in the CFP when the rankings are unveiled.

Except, what happens if No. 10 K-State springs the upset? After all, the Wildcats led TCU by 18 in Fort Worth before losing to one of the Horned Frogs’ comebacks. TCU would still have all those .500 or better wins and would have split with a top opponent.

The Horned Frogs aren’t exactly the brand that Georgia or Michigan is.

No, that’s not a CFP criteria, but it’s kind of the elephant in the room.

Speaking of elephants, TCU may not want to tempt fate by losing and then facing a head-to-head comparison with Alabama and Ohio State, strong resume or not.

“They haven’t gotten the respect that they deserve,” ESPN analyst Joey Galloway said.

Added ESPN analyst David Pollack: “But the good thing is they can go out there and earn that respect.”

Twitter: @ChuckCarltonDMN

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