TCU Horned Frogs are “forgotten ones” of BCS title chase

It’s sort of like that invisible cloak Harry Potter threw over himself now and again. You couldn’t see him, but that didn’t mean his powers were any weaker.

Texas Christian again has one of the nation’s best college football teams, and yet for all the good that defines the Horned Frogs — 8-0 record, No. 4 position in the Bowl Championship Series standings, one of four teams nationally with a top-10 ranking in scoring and scoring defense — you hear less and less about them each week when it comes to potentially playing for the national championship.

“TCU this season is the most ignored top-five team in the history of college football,” BCS expert Jerry Palm said. “It’s astonishing to me to see how much they are ignored given how good their team and program is.

“I don’t think it’s a case that the school doesn’t publicize them enough. I just think most people don’t know where to find them on television. When people don’t see you play, it’s hard to pay attention.”

TCU tonight will be on CBS College Sports at 8, in town as a five-touchdown favorite to whack UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium.

The Rebels had an off week to prepare.

A fairer line would have been 34½ points.

Another convincing win by the Horned Frogs — they have outscored four Mountain West Conference opponents 141-10 — certainly won’t impress those computers that gauge strength of schedule as part of the BCS formula. Beating up the Rebels (1-6) will be viewed as one might a high school senior thumping his second-grade brother.

It’s not worth restating the numerous flaws that define the BCS rankings — although I still contend those responsible for providing the computer rankings do so while sitting in their underwear around a poker table in some dimly lit basement laughing that their absurd weekly findings carry so much weight while giving each other noogies and throwing darts at a picture of Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson.

The truth I: TCU fell behind Boise State in the race for non-BCS supremacy this season back in January, when two undefeated teams met and the Broncos prevailed 17-10 in the Fiesta Bowl.

It gave Boise State a clear advantage entering the 2010 season, one the Broncos haven’t relinquished in winning their first seven games.

The truth II: Had the Horned Frogs won the Fiesta Bowl, it’s not crazy to believe all the attention Boise State has received this season instead would be pointed in the direction of Fort Worth, Texas; that TCU would have been ranked No. 3 in preseason polls and Boise State No. 6; that the non-BCS darlings most are rooting for to make the championship game would wear purple and white instead of blue and orange.

Think about it: As each week passes and another BCS rankings show is unveiled, how much do you hear about TCU?

“I think that’s possibly true,” Brigham Young coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “I think it also depends on what circle you’re talking about. If you’re talking to head football coaches across the country, TCU is certainly not forgotten or not respected. I think if you’re talking to the average fan, yeah, they could be forgotten.

“But, certainly, nobody in the football world takes them for granted. Everyone there knows they are very, very good.”

Good enough to play for a BCS title?

On the field, yes.

If only that part mattered.

If you are on my side of the argument that despises the B(C)S cartel as the greatest failing in college football history, you know that if it’s going to take a miracle for Boise State to reach the championship game this year, TCU better hope it can walk on water while healing two blind men and casting out demons at the same time.

The Horned Frogs host No. 8 Utah next week, and, other than that, they don’t have an opponent left that will cause those computer geeks in the dimly lit basement to pay notice when churning out their ridiculous data, which this week has Boise State ranked as the nation’s sixth-best team, Oregon its eighth and Alabama its 12th.

Have a few more beers, fellas, and deal the cards.

“If Boise State needs help getting to (the national championship), TCU needs the same help and also needs Boise to lose,” Palm said. “I just don’t think TCU passes Boise State any other way. They are behind now, and nothing is going to happen between now and the end of the season in any measure to give voters a reason to jump TCU over Boise State if both win out.

“I know TCU fans are convinced that if their team beats Utah, they will jump Boise State. I think that’s a pretty invalid assumption. I don’t think beating Utah makes up for having to still play teams like UNLV and New Mexico.”

TCU football, 2010: A sequel to “The Forgotten Ones.”

Only this time without the boat crash and being eaten by cannibals.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday and 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday on “Monsters of the Midday” on Fox Sports Radio (920 AM).

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